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Coral Thief

Discussion in 'Florida' started by 427Dave, Apr 1, 2007.

  1. 427Dave

    427Dave Photographer

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: The Villages, FL, and Northern Wisconsin (4 months
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    Did anyone see this? This is terrible that someone would even think of it. Maybe they should have tied him in the reef he damaged for target practice!

    St Petersburg Times, March 24

    Coral thief may not see sea for a while

    A Miami man may be headed to federal prison for stealing hundreds of
    coral specimens from a marine sanctuary. The case started in the fall
    when two Germans were caught at the Miami airport attempting to
    smuggle coral home. They told investigators they helped Alexandre
    Alvarenga-Freire, 40, harvest it. Investigators put a tracking device
    on the Morgan sailboat he used, and its signals showed he was
    collecting the coral from the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary. He was
    arrested at a marina with 400 specimens, and pleaded guilty Friday.
    The feds confiscated his 34-foot boat, and he could be sentenced to
    up to five years in prison.


    SOURCE: NMSP Daily News Clips
     
  2. scubafool

    scubafool Solo Diver

    3,198
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    You gotta love it when these guys get what's due them. That doesn't happen nearly often enough.
     
  3. Sperbonzo

    Sperbonzo Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: North Miami, Florida, USA
    214
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    I really really hope that he gets put away.... but somehow, I doubt it. :(
     
  4. 427Dave

    427Dave Photographer

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: The Villages, FL, and Northern Wisconsin (4 months
    818
    0
    0
  5. 427Dave

    427Dave Photographer

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: The Villages, FL, and Northern Wisconsin (4 months
    818
    0
    0
    MIAMI

    Miami-Dade Briefs

    From staff and wire reports

    A Miami man has pleaded guilty to plucking nearly 1,000 soft corals from protected Florida Keys reefs in a scheme to export them to Germany for sale to the aquarium trade.
    Alexandre Alvarenga-Freire, 40, admitted to the illegal harvest, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami.
    The case broke when agents intercepted two Germans at Miami International Airport with 500 of the small, mushroom-shaped corals. They told investigators they planned to sell them through their Dusseldorf business, a news release said, and they admitted to gathering them on a trip with Alvarenga-Freire aboard a 34-foot sailboat called Pippin.
    Investigators then put a satellite-tracking device on the boat and monitored its next trip from the Cudjoe Key Marina, the release said. They arrested Alvarenga-Freire when he docked on Jan. 25 with 400 more corals. The satellite trail showed the corals had been taken within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Alvarenga-Freire pleaded guilty Thursday in Miami. He faces up to five years in prison, $250,000 in fines, three years of supervised release and restitution. He also forfeited the 39-year-old sailboat.
     
  6. RonFrank

    RonFrank Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Conifer, CO
    9,106
    344
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    I always wonder, for every guy they catch, and then convict, how many are getting away with it?

    The ONLY reason the caught this guy was because they were smuggling them to Germany. If they were just transporting them in the US my bet is this guy would still be out there....

    Nice to see that the marine sanctuary laws have some teeth! :D
     
  7. Crazy Fingers

    Crazy Fingers Barracuda

    320
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    And what's going to happen to the Germans who came over here and broke our laws? If they are in the business of selling coral, I guarantee they knew it was illegal to collect them from the marine sanctuary.

    I say make them testify against the U.S. citizen in exchange for no jail time, just a crapload of fines. ($50k sounds about right... gotta make it cost more than they can profit from just paying it.)
     
  8. paulithepin

    paulithepin Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Panama City Beach, Florida
    111
    18
    18
    I'd sentence him to life without paeole If I were on the jury...even if is not a capitol offense.
     
  9. RonFrank

    RonFrank Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Conifer, CO
    9,106
    344
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    That would be a bit harsh. The penalty should fit the crime, and illegal harvest of coral, while something I'm COMPLETELY opposed to, would not justify life in prison.

    Keep in mind that dives may do more damage to coral then poachers. I've certainly seen divers kicking coral and damaging marine life with NO penalty whatsoever. With the number of divers visiting the Marine Sanctuary my bet is they do more damage vs. poachers.
     
  10. frankc420

    frankc420 Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Central MS
    1,576
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    IMO, fines are pointless, for many reasons. When someone is fined for something, do you think the money goes toward what they were fined for? No, it's divided among the state or feds for whatever they want to use it for. I say, put the punks in prison rather than giving them a fine.
     

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