SAN DIEGO (AP)
A California man has pleaded guilty to smuggling endangered fish bladders into the United States from Mexico to later sell to Asia.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego says Jason Xie entered his plea before a federal judge on Wednesday.
He is one of seven defendants charged with unlawful trade in wildlife.
The 49-year-old Sacramento man admitted that in February and March he received five coolers containing the swim bladders of 170 Totoaba fish from across the border. The bladders were valued at more than $400,000.
Xie agreed to forfeit 170 bladders and a $350,000 residence in Seattle.
Authorities say the bladders are used in a highly desired soup in China and Hong Kong.
The totoaba fish is only found in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez.
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