WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami/AP) — When it comes to sea turtles, the best piece of advice is to just not mess with them.
A South Florida man has learned that lesson the hard way and has pleaded guilty to poaching more than 300 sea turtle eggs.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office reports that 52-year-old Kenneth Cornelius Coleman pleaded guilty Friday to one count of unlawfully transporting endangered sea turtle eggs. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Authorities say Coleman took 316 sea turtle eggs from nests in Juno Beach over two days last July. The poaching was discovered by employees at a sea turtle rescue center, who were able to rebury 219 eggs found in canvas bags on the beach. Another 97 eggs discovered by police the next day were also reburied.
Witnesses identified the poacher as Coleman. He previously spent 30 months in jail for transporting endangered sea turtle eggs in 2010.
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)