A Pipeline of Smuggled Florida Wildlife—Operation Brooklyn

In October 1996, investigators of the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission confirmed the existence of a major black market operation dealing in protected wildlife in South Florida. The suspects conducting this operation were dependent on local poachers to supply illegally taken game. The animals purchased by the suspects were resold at highly inflated prices to outlets in Florida and New York. Covert investigators, in an operation dubbed Operation Brooklyn, infiltrated the enterprise and identified the suppliers and retail buyers of wildlife. The suspects came to trust the investigators so much that investigators accompanied the suspects in a business trip to New York to sell Florida wildlife. After 14 months of investigation, Operation Brooklyn was brought to closure with the arrests of 9 suspects on 40 charges: 14 felonies and 26 misdemeanors. Intelligence gathered after serving a search warrant and interviewing suspects showed this market had been in operation for at least 3 years and had purchased and resold more than 500 deer.

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