A man from Worcester, Massachusetts was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday with allegedly smuggling salamanders and turtles into the United States.
Court documents say that Nathan Boss, 27, was sending and receiving packages containing live reptiles for about two years, "none of which were declared as live animals and some of which were species barred from being imported to the U.S."
Wildlife inspectors received a package in November 2017 when U.S. Customs noticed what appeared to be reptiles in X-ray scans of the box, according to court documents. The package was inbound from Hong Kong and addressed to Robert Boss. It was declared as "porcelain pallet" on customs documents.
Officials opened the package and found approximately 24 newts — only two of which were alive — packed in moss and plastic containers with breathing holes.
A few days later, USPS intercepted a package going from Worcester to Hong Kong that was identified as "hand carved figurines." The package actually contained three plastic tubs, one housing three live eastern box turtles, each of which had been stuffed in a sock.
Another tub contained 11 orange lizards determined to be eastern newts. The third tub contained 13 more lizards.
Boss was arrested in October, charged by indictment with two counts of smuggling wildlife into the United States, two counts of smuggling wildlife out of the United States, and making a false statement to a federal agent.