A federal judge has sentenced a San Francisco man to a year in prison for illegally smuggling endangered fish into the United States, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Bai Lin Huang, 49, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in San Francisco in August to one count of smuggling and one count of making a false statement.
Prosecutors said Huang smuggled more than two dozen Asian arowana fish into the country in 2005, and later lied to wildlife inspectors and U.S. Fish and Wildlife agents about knowing that a shipment sent to him that was disguised as “assorted koi” actually contained the arowana fish.
Huang told investigators the shipment was a mistake, prosecutors said.
Huang reportedly sold the fish–which are native to Indonesia and Malaysia and are considered a good luck charm in some Asian communities — on the black market for up to $2,000 each.
The arowana is listed as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and is illegal to trade in without a permit, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Huang was sentenced Thursday to a year and one day in federal prison and ordered to pay a $3,000 fine.