New Jersey man pleads guilty to smuggling box turtles from Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma -- Federal prosecutors say a New Jersey man has pleaded guilty to smuggling more than 1,000 box turtles that were illegally collected in Oklahoma.

Court records show 26-year-old William T. Gangemi of Freehold, New Jersey, was accused of violating a federal law against the sale or purchase of illegally collected wildlife with a market value over $350.

Gangemi was allegedly part of a syndicate of wildlife smugglers involved in the purchase and transportation of three-toed and western box turtles from Oklahoma to New Jersey. The collection of both types of turtles for commercial purposes is illegal in Oklahoma.

Prosecutors say Gangemi pleaded guilty Wednesday and will be sentenced on Jan. 27. Records show Gangemi was sentenced to two years' probation in June after pleading guilty to similar charges in South Carolina.

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