Four Holly Hill area men plead guilty to wildlife smuggling
ORANGEBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WOLO) – Four Holly Hill area men plead guilty to crimes involving the smuggling of protected wildlife, three to conspiracy to smuggle wildlife and one to wildlife trafficking, according to United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon.
Joseph Logan Brooks, 29 formerly of Holly Hill, Matthew Tyler Fischer, 25 of Holly Hill, Matthew Harrison Kail, 30 of Pomona Park, and William Fischer, 48 of Harleyville will each face sentencing at a later date.
Brooks, M. Fischer and Kail pleaded guilty to conspiracy to smuggle wildlife and W. Fischer plead guilty to wildlife trafficking.
The pleas followed a hearing where evidence established that the four men participated in a syndicate that smuggled turtles between the United States and China.
The four men were connected to Steven Baker, 38 of Holly Hill, who gave a guilty plea in June 2018. Baker smuggled protected turtles between China and the U.S.
Brooks accepted delivery of international packages containing protected turtles. M. Fischer gave Baker access to bank accounts. Kail provided, bought and sold protected turtles. W. Fischer negotiated for the purchase of two protected turtles.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Winston David Holliday, Jr., of the Columbia office is prosecuting the case.