TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Spring Hill man pleaded guilty on Friday to charges related to trafficking more than 100 turtles, according to the Department of Justice.
Kevin Olbrych, 48, pleaded guilty to two counts of Lacey Act Trafficking. He faces up to 10 years in federal prison, according to the DOJ. A sentencing date has not been scheduled.
Olbrych’s home was searched by the Tampa Police Department in 2018 where they found several 300-gallon pools filled with turtles, according to a news release. There were 120 turtles unlawfully in his possession.
The turtles included Florida box turtles, Loggerhead musk turtles, and ornate diamondback terrapins.
The turtles were not properly housed and Olbrych was not licensed to have them, according to the DOJ.
During the investigation, authorities determined that Olbrych was illegally selling turtles to someone in Oregon, who then in turn sold them to China, officials said. He continued selling turtles through 2021 even after the turtles were seized from his home in 2018.
The Lacey Act was enacted in 1900 to combat wildlife trafficking, and was later expanded in 2008 to also include certain plants and plant products without an import declaration, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.