MIAMI, Fla. (CW44 News At 10)– A Texas man was sentenced in federal district court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida yesterday for knowingly and willfully making a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement and representation to Special Agents of the United States Fish & Wildlife Service during a criminal investigation of international trafficking of primates into the United States.
Gary Tucker, 64, of Alice, Texas, was sentenced to serve a three-year term of probation, with a special condition of home confinement for a period of three months, and to pay a criminal fine in the amount of $5,000 by U.S. District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas. Tucker had previously pled guilty to the charge before William P. Dimitrouleas. In connection with his guilty plea, Tucker admitted that in the course of an interview by Special Agents of the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) about potential illegal trafficking of wildlife, he was asked about his involvement in the procurement and importation to the U.S. of long-tailed macaques -- small non-human primates regularly employed in scientific research -- from Southeast Asia.
In particular, agents asked Tucker whether he or others working for his employer, Orient BioResource Center (OBRC), prepared or submitted to OBRC any audits or reports concerning their visits to supplier sites in Cambodia. Tucker responded to those questions in the negative, that is, that no supplier site visits were memorialized in any written reports to OBRC. In fact, as Tucker well knew, during the relevant period from 2017 – 2019, preparation and submission of site visit reports was a standard procedure at OBRC.
Acting U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez of the Southern District of Florida and Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Burke of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), Special Investigations Unit made the announcement.
USFWS investigated the case with assistance from Special Agent in Charge Jason Molina of Homeland Security Investigations in Newark, New Jersey. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Watts-FitzGerald of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida prosecuted the case.
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