If you've ever considered pursuing a career in the age-old and time-honored pelt-trading industry, you may want to make sure that you aren't selling skins of endangered species. Or, if you insist upon doing that, at least make sure you don't sell them to undercover federal agents.
That's what Texans Elias Garcia Garcia and Maria Angela Plancarte did with jaguar [pronounced jag-YOO-arr] pelts, according to an indictment unsealed last week in a Florida federal court. The couple violated the Endangered Species Act and the "federal conspiracy statute," according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.
The duo, who hail from La Feria, sold two jaguar pelts to undercover U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services officers in Texas last November, according to that U.S. Attorney's Office press release. The skins -- which the couple allegedly brought in from Mexico -- went for a cool $3,000, and the defendants "offered additional future sales of up to ten jaguar skins," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The couple also allegedly sold skins to undercover FWS agents in Florida, for $3,000, plus "an additional $1,000 as a deposit against the future sale of up to ten jaguar skins."
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They were arrested last week while crossing the border from Mexico into Brownsville. They're scheduled to be transferred to Miami to face formal charges
The enterprising couple allegedly "offered to sell jaguar skins to potential customers in person in Texas and by electronic means elsewhere."
As reprehensible as it is, we can at least understand the financial incentive to sell jaguar pelts, but what kind of unrepentant dick buys them? And what do you do with them, anyway? Make a coat, and proudly tell your friends that you're wearing "real" jaguar? Sew them together and fashion them into pimptastic bed sheets?
If Garcia and Plancarte are found guilty, we hope they get the maximum penalty for each charge -- $50,000 and a year in prison. Or better yet, throw 'em in a room with a jaguar and let the parties settle out of court.