LAKELAND (CBSMiami/AP) – Three men, in central Florida, have been charged with several felonies and misdemeanors for the alleged illegal harvest, selling and buying of 2,100 pounds of freshwater turtles.

Investigators in Polk and Seminole counties caught the men poaching turtles on lakes and in the St. Johns River, according to Lt. George Wilson.

The turtles were reportedly transported and sold illegally to a turtle farm in Okeechobee.

The commercial harvest of all native wild turtles was banned by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in 2009, citing the overharvesting of turtles as food elsewhere in the world.

Wilson says he hopes the arrests help “ensure everyone has the opportunity to see freshwater turtles in the wild and harvest them recreationally.”

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