Jackson County man sentenced to prison for illegally selling Eastern Box Turtles

Christopher Cool was sentenced to one year and three months in federal prison

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A Jackson County man was sentenced to federal prison for illegally selling Eastern Box Turtles, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The report says 59-year old Christopher Cool was sentenced last week to one year and three months.

Citing federal court records, the newspaper reports Cool would buy the turtles for $10 each from people who caught them in the woods and then sell them for up to $200 apiece to people out of state, in violation of a federal law aimed at protecting wildlife.

The commercialization and sale of the turtles is illegal.

The report says Cool sold 669 turtles between July 2019 and July 2020.  When state and federal wildlife authorities went to his house in July 2020 to investigate a complaint, Cool had 246 of the turtles inside his house, according to the report.

Investigators found 60 dead turtles at the home of a friend of Cool’s, who said the turtles belonged to Cool, according to the report.

The report says Eastern Box Turtles aren’t endangered, but their numbers are in decline.

The report says the colorful turtles are valued as pets, especially in China and Taiwan.

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