German National Arrested for Smuggling Coral from the Philippines
Discovery of shipping containers full of illegal coral in
A grand jury in
According to the indictment, Wenzek owns a company named CoraPet, based in
The corals seized have been identified as corals from the scientific order Scleractinia, genera Porites, Acropora, and Pocillopora, common to Philippine reefs. Due to the threat of extinction, stony corals, such as those seized in this case are protected by international law. Philippine law specifically forbids exports of all coral. Moreover, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) bars importation of the coral Wenzek tried to import to customers in
“Protection of coral reefs continues to play an important role in the Department of Justice’s environmental enforcement efforts both domestically and internationally, said
“We appreciate the support from fellow law enforcement on this very important investigation,” said
The Lacey Act prohibits import, export, transportation, sale, receipt, acquisition or purchase of fish, wildlife, or plants that are taken, possessed, transported or sold in violation of any federal, state, tribal or foreign law.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the National Marine Fisheries Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney,
SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice