Florida turtle smuggler sentenced to federal prison

By Michael Doyle | 06/13/2024 04:15 PM EDT

Prosecutors said he was involved in a scheme to illegally sell wild turtles to people in other states and countries.

Florida mud turtle

A Florida mud turtle. Florida Fish and Wildlife/Flickr

A Florida resident will soon report to federal prison for his role in an international turtle smuggling scheme that prosecutors said involved thousands of animals over the course of several years.

While owner of a company called Omni Reptiles between July 2015 and July 2021, prosecutors said, John M. Kreatsoulas joined with others in obtaining and shipping several species, including three-striped mud turtles and Florida mud turtles, to customers in Germany and China.

“The greed of this defendant, his co-conspirators, and others like them undermines the entire system by which the United States and the rest of the world regulate the illegal wildlife trade,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas A. Watts-FitzGerald and other prosecutors declared in a sentencing memo.


Kreatsoulas pleaded guilty to conspiring to illegally export turtles and falsifying documents to conceal his conduct, in violation of the Lacey Act.