Sea turtle egg poachers get prison time

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MIAMI, FLORIDA – Bruce Wayne Bivins and Carl Lawrence Cobb, both of Riviera Beach, Florida, will serve federal prison terms after pleading guilty to poaching federally-protected sea turtle eggs.

U.S. District Court Judge Rodolfo A. Ruiz II sentenced Bivins to a seven-month term of imprisonment followed by one year of supervised release for his role in violating the Endangered Species Act, a federal law designed, in part, to protect imperiled species.

U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth A. Marra sentenced Cobb, Bivins’ co-conspirator, to a nine-month term of imprisonment followed by one year of supervised released for his role in violating the Endangered Species Act.

Florida Fish and Wildlife investigators caught Bivins and Cobb on the evening of May 24, 2020, while conducting a surveillance operation and observed Cobb (who was on Federal Supervised Probation for his January 26, 2018 conviction at the time), driving a green Ford Truck in the vicinity of 5060 North Ocean Drive, Riviera Beach, Florida. Cobb dropped Bivins off, and investigators observed Bivins digging in the sand, probing the sand with a stick, and placing his hand in and out of a dark-colored bag.  Investigators later observed Bivins enter a vehicle, also driven by Cobb, with the now- heavily laden dark-colored bag. According to court records, after investigators stopped the two men, it was determined that the dark-colored bag contained freshly harvested, Federally- and State-protected sea turtle eggs.


Ariana Fajardo Orshan, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Assistant Director Edward Grace of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, and Law Enforcement Director Colonel Curtis Brown of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, made the announcement.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission investigated this matter.  Assistant U.S. Attorney John McMillan is prosecuting it.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under case number 20-cr-80091.

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