MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A man, allegedly caught poaching hundreds of sea turtle eggs, was arrested and booked into jail.

James Odel McGriff, 55, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, was seen by a “concerned citizen” stealing sea turtle eggs at the Diamond Sands beach off A1A on Friday. The woman provided a description of the man and his vehicle.

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FWC officers and investigators responded and spoke with McGriff.

After using a K-9 to track where he had been, they located a disturbed sea turtle nest and a backpack full of sea turtle eggs.

“We take these matters very seriously,” said Capt. Jeff Ardelean, a supervisor in the FWC’s West Palm Beach office. “Stopping those who attempt to poach and commercialize our endangered species is one of our highest priorities.”

The 299 eggs were returned to the beach and reburied shortly after.

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FWC says this is not the first time McGriff has been caught poaching turtle eggs. In 2002, he was arrested after selling 12 eggs to an undercover officer and possessing 27 dozen pre-bagged eggs for sale.

“We are committed to stopping those who intentionally take advantage of our state’s fish and wildlife resources,” Ardelean said.

All five species of sea turtles in Florida, according to FWC, are either endangered or threatened.

The Marine Turtle Protection Act stipulates that it is illegal to injure, harm, harass, capture or attempt to capture any marine turtles, eggs or nests. If you know of or suspect any violations, call FWC’s Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-3922 or text


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