LAGRANGEVILLE, Dutchess County (WABC) -- The only water that runs through Dutchess County is the Hudson River, known for Northern Pike, Atlantic Sturgeon, even the odd whale -- but not sharks. So authorities became curious when they learned a Dutchess County man was selling sharks online.
It turned out Joshua Seguine had been keeping live sharks in a pool at his home and offering them for sale on the internet.
Seguine, 40, was convicted Wednesday in the Town of LaGrange Justice Court of illegal trafficking and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.
"The tide has turned for Joshua Seguine, who was convicted and held accountable for his unlawful acts," New York Attorney General Letitia James said. "We will not tolerate anyone who preys on protected species to line their pockets."
Seguine first came to the attention of environmental police in July 2017, when he was arrested in the state of Georgia by the Department of Natural Resources for driving without a license and for possessing five undersized sharks in a large circular tank in the back of his truck.
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According to the attorney general's office, Seguine admitted he was transporting the sharks to New York, where he intended to sell them, and that he possessed additional live sharks at his house, offered for sale on the website MonsterFishKeepers.com
State environmental conservation officers, accompanied by biologists from the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead and the Wildlife Conservation Society's New York Aquarium at Coney Island, conducted a search and discovered an above-ground pool in his house that contained seven live sharks.
The sharks were subsequently identified as sandbar sharks, the possession of which is prohibited by New York law without a special license. The search also uncovered two dead leopard sharks, one dead hammerhead shark, and the snout of a smalltooth sawfish, an endangered species.
Biologists from the two aquariums assessed the sharks and transferred them to the Riverhead facility. They were subsequently moved to the New York Aquarium at Coney Island.
"I applaud the work of our environmental conservation police officers, who spearheaded the investigation that resulted in Joshua Seguine being brought to justice," state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "It is critical that we work to protect endangered species that are taken from their natural habitats and sold for profit."
The cost to legally acquire a sandbar shark is approximately $11,500.
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