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South Korean plant poacher snatched $600,000 worth of plants from state parks — and tried to ship them to Asia

The chief of a world plant poaching ring has pleaded responsible to digging up hundreds of succulents from distant state parks in California to ship to Asia to promote for large earnings, federal prosecutors stated.

Byungsu Kim, 46, of South Korea, was accused with two co-conspirators of flying to Los Angeles in 2018, after which driving to small state parks in northern California the place they illegally dug up quite a few Dudleya crops.

The crops are prized in Asia, however take years to develop in nurseries, so these rising within the wild alongside the California coast have change into a significant goal for poachers, authorities say. Black market Dudleyas can promote for as much as $1,000 every, wildlife consultants say.

Native regulation enforcement then executed a search warrant on the cargo, and located greater than 3,000 Dudleyas inside, prosecutors stated.

Prosecutors say Kim and his accomplices, Youngin Again, 47, and Bong Jun Kim, 46, stole crops from DeMartin State Seashore and Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park that had been price greater than $600,000 in Asian markets.

Kim and his accomplices then drove the stolen crops to a nursery close to San Diego. They then rotated and headed again north to Russian Gulch State Park in Mendocino County, the place they allegedly pulled up extra Dudleya crops earlier than returning to the nursery.

Earlier than trying to ship the crops to Korea, Kim made preparations for an area agriculture inspector to return to the nursery to fill out the requisite paperwork. However prosecutors say he informed the inspector that the cargo contained solely about 1,400 Dudleya crops and that every one of them had come from San Diego County.

Kim and his accomplices had been arrested on state smuggling costs and Kim had his Korean passport confiscated by the court docket.

Kim then introduced the crops with the fraudulent allow to a business exporter in Los Angeles. Native regulation enforcement then executed a search warrant on the cargo, and located greater than 3,000 Dudleyas inside, prosecutors stated.

Kim and his accomplices had been arrested on state smuggling costs and Kim had his Korean passport confiscated by the court docket. However in January 2019, Kim allegedly obtained a brand new passport kind the South Korean consulate by claiming he had misplaced his unique.

When he later realized that federal costs had been pending in opposition to him, Kim and Again fled to Tijuana on foot and ultimately flew to China from Mexico and on to South Korea.

Months later, Kim was arrested in South Africa on comparable costs of poaching crops from protected areas. He pleaded responsible to costs there, and was extradited to america final yr. 

Kim faces as much as 5 years in federal jail when he’s sentenced subsequent January, prosecutors stated. Kim’s co-conspirator, Bong Jun Kim, served 4 months in jail after pleading responsible to state costs in 2019. Again stays a fugitive, officers stated.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/south-korean-plant-poacher-snatched-600-000-worth-of-plants-from-state-parks-and-tried-to-ship-them-to-asia-11631233541?rss=1&siteid=rss | South Korean plant poacher snatched $600,000 price of crops from state parks — and tried to ship them to Asia

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