A Farmingdale man admitted in federal court Tuesday that he falsely labeled a package containing 10 live rhino iguanas bound for Hong Kong as “toys,” authorities said.

Jason Ksepka, 44, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Zahid Quraishi in Trenton to one count of violating the Lacey Act by falsely labeling an international shipment of wildlife.

Ksepka was paid $ 500 for trying to evade customs when he sent the package via US Priority Mail Express from Lambertville in November 2017, authorities said.

It wasn’t his first time.

He was awarded $ 500 a year earlier for doing the same thing, according to the US attorney’s office. There is no information as to whether this first package has reached its destination. This incident was not part of the guilty plea.

The person who paid him on both occasions has not been identified.

Rhinoceros iguanas are listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Under the Lacey Act, it is a crime to knowingly submit a false record, account or tag, or to falsely identify any wild animal intended for international transport, according to the US Department of Justice. .

When Ksepka sent the package from Lambertville on November 7, 2017, he identified the package as “toys” and the sender as “Luke Jacobs” on a US Postal Service international shipping label and US Customs form, according to the information loading Ksepka.

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The next day, inspectors from the US Fish and Wildlife Service of the Postal Service at John F. Kennedy International Airport opened the package and discovered the rhino iguanas.

Ksepka agreed to pay a fine of $ 1,000 to the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Lacey Act Reward Fund.

The charge to which Ksepka has pleaded guilty can carry a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $ 250,000.

Ksepka is expected to be sentenced on January 25.

Ken Serrano has been covering crime, breaking news, investigations and local issues in New Jersey for over 20 years. Contact him at 732-643-4029 or [email protected]

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