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Two Florida Keys Men Get Prison For Wildlife Trafficking

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Florida Keys (photo credit: Thinkstock)

Florida Keys (photo credit: Thinkstock)

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KEY WEST (CBSMiami/AP) — Two Florida Keys men have been sentenced to prison time after pleading guilty to illegal trafficking in wildlife including sharks, tropical fish and sea fans.

A federal judge in Key West sentenced 51-year-old Eric Pedersen to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. A sentence of one year and a day was imposed on 43-year-old Serdan Ercan, along with a $6,000 fine.

Court documents show they sold wildlife illegally around the country from their company on Grassy Key, known as Key Marine Inc. Federal agents covertly recorded the men’s harvesting activities and marked items so they could be traced after sale around the country.

Key Marine is now defunct.

The case is one of several stemming from a long-term Keys wildlife trafficking investigation called Operation Rock Bottom.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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