Husband and Wife Plead Guilty to Selling Turtles in Violation of The Lacey Act

Published 5:01 pm Monday, August 2, 2021

NEW ORLEANSLOUISIANA – United States Attorney Duane A. Evans announced today that VINCENT FELIX RIVERE, age 48, and MEGAN LYNN SHOEMAKER, age 36, former residents of Springfield, Louisiana, pleaded guilty on July 27, 2021 to selling Louisiana Common box turtles in violation of the Lacey Act .

On July 13, 2017, a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agent arrived at the Office Depot parking lot in Covington, LA to arrange a previously negotiated undercover purchase of 29 Louisiana Common box turtles from RIVERERIVERE and SHOEMAKER were waiting at the location.  The undercover USFWS agent greeted them, and RIVERE and SHOEMAKER began removing sacks containing Louisiana common box turtles from the trunk of his car. The undercover agent then paid RIVERE $680.00 in cash for the 29 Louisiana Common box turtles.

After the transaction, a traffic stop was performed. RIVERE was operating the vehicle and was in possession of the $680 he had received from undercover USFWS agent. An agent checked the serial numbers on the money that RIVERE possessed and it matched the serial numbers on the money that had been provided from the undercover USFWS agent.

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If convicted, RIVERE faces a maximum term of imprisonment of up to five years, not more than three years on supervised release, a fine of $20,000.00, and a mandatory special assessment of $100.00.  SHOEMAKER faces a maximum term of imprisonment of up to one year, not more than one year on supervised release, a fine of $10,000 and a mandatory special assessment of $25.00. Sentencing is scheduled for October 26, 2021 before the Honorable Wendy B. Vitter.

U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Homeland Security Investigations and the United Postal Service in investigating this matter. Assistant United States Attorney Jon Maestri is in charge of the prosecution.