A Hogansburg woman was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court, Syracuse, to 1½ years in prison for participating in a conspiracy to smuggle more than 18,000 endangered and threatened reptiles from the United States into Canada.
Olivia J. Terrance, 28, also was ordered to undergo three years of supervision upon her release for a plea in April in which she admitted helping to smuggle turtles, alligators and other reptiles across the border in 2009 and 2010.
According to prosecutors, Miss Terrance smuggled hundred of thousands of dollars worth of reptiles into Canada, where they were sold to retailers and collectors. She was caught when law enforcement officials followed her by car and helicopter after she received a shipment of wildlife and took it by boat across the St. Lawrence River.
An alleged co-conspirator, Dennis Day, Cobden, Ontario, also faces a federal indictment in the matter, although there has been no activity on his federal case since the indictment was handed up in August 2012, as he still has provincial charges pending against him in Canada.
Prosecutors claimed Mr. Day paid for reptiles to be shipped from Florida, Louisiana and California to Miss Terrance at various addresses in Hogansburg. At least 17 such shipments arrived from June 2009 to July 2010, loaded with exotic creatures including American alligators, Chinese striped turtles, green iguanas, helmeted chameleons and Timor tree monitor lizards.
The exportation of such species requires a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Prosecutors said Ms. Terrance arranged to transport the reptiles across the border to Mr. Day without permits.
The case was investigated by special agents with the Fish and Wildlife Service, with assistance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Canadian Wildlife Service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canada Border Services Agency and the Mohawk Tribal Police.