The Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security has welcomed today’s sentencing of two men charged with the import, possession, take and export of protected wildlife after they attempted to smuggle reptiles out of the Northern Territory to Queensland in July last year.
The 39-year-old male driver, Lucas Cheyne, and his 23-year-old male passenger, Nathan Chetcuti, were stopped by remote police at Avon Downs and served with a warrant for their vehicle to be searched, which resulted in the seizure of the reptiles that were being transported without authority, paperwork or proof of possession.
Both men pleaded guilty to all charges in the Darwin Local Court with convictions recorded against them, with Cheyne receiving more than $25,000 in fines and Chetcuti receiving around $14,000 in fines for his role.
Remote police officers and rangers from Parks and Wildlife seized 77 reptiles, including three venomous snakes, from a small truck travelling out of the Territory.
The seizure included 26 different species of protected reptiles.
Anyone who is aware of or suspects a person is illegally interfering with protected wildlife is urged to call NT police on 131 444, Parks and Wildlife on 0401 115 731 or Border Watch on 1800 06 1800.
Maximum penalties for anyone found guilty of illegally interfering with protected wildlife include 5 year imprisonment or $78,500 fine.
Quotes by Director of Wildlife Operations, Kristen Hay.
“This sentencing sends a clear message that wildlife poaching will not be tolerated in the Northern Territory.”
“We hope this sentencing acts as deterrent for anyone trying to poach our precious wildlife.
“We are the voice of protection for our wildlife as they can’t speak for themselves.”