Alleged trafficker had 7 sharks in backyard pool in Dutchess County

LEGRANGEVILLE, Dutchess County (WABC) -- A New York man was arraigned this week after authorities say he trafficked sandbar sharks and kept them in a pool in his backyard in 2017.

Joshua Seguine, 38, of LaGrangeville in Dutchess County, is charged with illegal commercialization of fish, shellfish, crustaceans and wildlife for the alleged illegal possession with intent to sell the protected species.

"The trafficking of protected species is both unlawful and harmful to these vulnerable creatures," Attorney General Letitia James said. "This individual is charged with knowingly putting these endangered species in harm's way in an effort to line his own pockets."

Authorities say that Seguine came to their attention in July of 2017, after he was allegedly found in possession of five undersized sharks in the back of his truck.

Seguine reportedly admitted that he was transporting the sharks to New York state, where he intended to sell them, and that he possessed additional live sharks at his home.

PHOTOS: Sharks illegally kept in New York basement pool

Investigators then discovered that Seguine was allegedly conducting business under the name Aquatic Apex Life, LLC, which had offered sharks for sale as recently as June 29, 2017, on the internet.

Using this information, DEC police obtained a warrant to search Seguine's house in LaGrangeville.

DEC officers, accompanied by biologists from the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead and the Wildlife Conservation Society's New York Aquarium in Coney Island, discovered an above-ground pool at Seguine's 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 assessed the sharks and then transferred them to the Riverhead facility before they were subsequently moved to the New York Aquarium in Coney Island.

Though the sharks were discovered almost two years ago, Seguine wasn't arraigned until Tuesday. His next court date is April 16.

The cost to legally acquire a sandbar shark is approximately $11,500.

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