Authorities in New York have accused a man of trafficking more than $200,000 worth of dead specimens of protected butterflies.
Charles Limmer, 75, is facing charges of conspiracy to smuggle wildlife into the United States, smuggling wildlife into and out of the United States, and violations of the Lacey Act’s prohibitions on falsely labelling and trafficking in wildlife.
Mr Limmer allegedly smuggled protected butterflies known as “birdwings” — because of their large size and wings and flight resembling a bird — through his shop, the “Limmer Business,” according to an indictment.
The shop had obtained a license to import and export wildlife from the Fish and Wildlife Service that was revoked in October 2022.
Between then and September 2023, Mr Limmer reportedly imported and exported over $200,000 worth of shipments of dead wildlife specimens.
He then allegedly sold the wildlife on the internet to customers around the world.
Mr allegedly Limmer told the people sending him wildlife to label the shipments as “decorative wall coverings,” “origami papercraft” and “wall decorations.”
“He also noted to one co-conspirator, ‘Screw USFWS[….] They are a gang of Orangutans,’” the indictment alleges. “The indictment also seeks forfeiture of over 1,000 butterflies, moths and other insects alleged to have been illegally trafficked.”
Mr Limmer will be arranged at a later date.