United States

Couple Pleads Guilty to Smuggling Endangered Lovebirds Into JFK, Faces up to 5 Years in Prison

A Florida couple has pleaded guilty on account of attempting to smuggle endangered Fischer Lovebirds into the United States through John F. Kennedy Airport.

Robert and Vanessa Burgos both pleaded guilty to federal charges after authorities said they mislabeled a dozen Fischer Lovebirds in an attempt to bring the animals into the country through their company, Aviary La Familia.

Federal officials said that the birds were labeled as Rosy-Faced Lovebirds. However, photos of the birds were sent by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s quarantine center to a forensic ornithologist, who identified them as Fischer Lovebirds.

An endangered species, Fischer Lovebirds are protected under conventions of international trade. As a result, the proper permits are necessary for their legal import.

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Richard P. Donoghue and Acting Chief of Law Enforcement for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Edward Grace announced the guilty pleas Thursday.

The couple faces up to five years in prison.
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