Man Admits to Smuggling Sea Cucumbers - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Man Admits to Smuggling Sea Cucumbers

Posted: Updated:

Our NBC News partners at NBC San Diego are reporting a man has admitted to smuggling thousands of dollars' worth of dried sea cucumbers into the U.S. from Mexico, according to federal officials.

On Thursday, Cheng Zhuo Liu, 50, pleaded guilty to smuggling 100 pounds of the endangered species on Oct. 3, 2013 by hiding them in his Hyundai's spare tire area, according to U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy.

That amount of sea cucumbers has a market value of between $5,000 and $10,000.

The marine animals are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, so those who import them into the U.S. need a permit.

Duffy said Liu admitted he didn't have any permits.

A black market has grown around the illegal sea cucumber trade in Asia, where Duffy said a pound might sell for $300.

Liu agreed to forfeit the sea cucumber seized. He faces a maxiumum sentence of five years in prison and a $20,000 fine on June 9. 

Dried sea cucumber is used in Chinese cuisine as hoi sam, as well as for medicinal purposes.

Smuggling the animals has become a problem in Indonesia, Japan, Sri Lanka and Mexico. In the Caribbean Sea off the Yucatan Peninsula, illegal harvesting has decimated the sea cucumber populations. Rival gangs have clashed for control of the harvest, according to the U.S. Attorney.

Sea cucumbers have long, leathery bodies and are found on the ocean flood worldwide. The species Liu had is typically found in the Pacific Coast of Mexico, Central and South America, the Biodiversity Heritage Library says.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Ebola patient Dr. Kent Brantly to be released from Atlanta hospital

    Ebola patient Dr. Kent Brantly to be released from Atlanta hospital

    Thursday, August 21 2014 11:01 AM EDT2014-08-21 15:01:48 GMT
    Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse, said Thursday that he had "marveled at Dr. Brantly's courageous spirit as he has fought this horrible virus" and thanked staff at the hospital.More
    Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse, said Thursday that he had "marveled at Dr. Brantly's courageous spirit as he has fought this horrible virus" and thanked staff at the hospital. More
  • Coonrippy challenges Haslam again (Alexander, too)

    Coonrippy challenges Haslam again (Alexander, too)

    Thursday, August 21 2014 11:51 AM EDT2014-08-21 15:51:23 GMT
    Mark “Coonrippy” Brown who challenged Gov. Bill Haslam in the Aug. 7 Republican gubernatorial primary, has again challenged Haslam and Sen. Lamar, this time to the ALS Ice Bucket challenge.More
    Mark “Coonrippy” Brown who challenged Gov. Bill Haslam in the Aug. 7 Republican gubernatorial primary, has again challenged Haslam and Sen. Lamar, this time to the ALS Ice Bucket challenge.More
  • Heat/humidity through the weekend, slight cooling next week

    Heat/humidity through the weekend, slight cooling next week

    Thursday, August 21 2014 11:41 AM EDT2014-08-21 15:41:35 GMT
    Hold on. The heat and humidity are going to continue through the weekend. Today, look for a high of 95 and a heat index near 100. We won't see the same coverage of storms that we saw last night, but with this much heat and humidity in place you never want to completely rule out one or two storms breaking through.More
    Hold on. The heat and humidity are going to continue through the weekend. Today, look for a high of 95 and a heat index near 100. We won't see the same coverage of storms that we saw last night, but with this much heat and humidity in place you never want to completely rule out one or two storms breaking through.
    More
Powered by WorldNow
Can't find what you're looking for?

WRCB-TV
900 Whitehall Road
Chattanooga, TN 37405
(423) 267-5412

WRCB Jobs EEO | FCC Public Files

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WRCB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.