ATLANTA - A prolific turtle trapper is accused of illegally trapping and exporting thousands of freshwater turtles in Georgia.
Nathan Horton, 36, was indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly violating the Lacey Act, which regulates the trafficking and labeling of wildlife, fish, and plants.
According to the indictment, beginning by at least July 2015 and continuing until at least July 2017, Horton shipped thousands of freshwater turtles from Georgia to California that had been trapped using turtle nets that were illegal under Georgia law. Although Horton held a Commercial Turtle Permit during this time and GA-DNR sends all commercial permit holders the applicable Georgia statutes and GA-DNR regulations on turtle traps, Horton repeatedly used illegal traps to capture freshwater turtles. In October 2016 and August 2017, while holding a commercial permit, GA-DNR cited Horton for using illegal traps to capture freshwater turtles, the indictment stated.
Among the species of turtles Horton allegedly trapped illegally were: Stripe-necked musk turtle (Sternotherus minor peltifer), Loggerhead musk turtle (Sternotherus minor), Common musk turtle or stinkpot or eastern musk turtle (Sternotherus odoratus), and Eastern mud turtles (Kinosternon subrubrum).
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