KEY WEST (CBSMiami/AP) – Two Keys marine dealers pleaded guilty Wednesday for conspiring to harvest and transport marine life.
Eric Pedersen, 51, and Serder Ercan, 42, are each facing up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Their sentencing is set for December.
The Grassy Key-based pair, according to authorities, illegally harvested corals, sea fans, nurse, bonnethead and lemon sharks, and other marine life between October 2010 and February 2011.
The species were sold throughout the U.S. as well as buyers in foreign countries.
Many species were taken from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and other national wildlife refuges, where special protection rules apply.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)