FARMINGDALE – A Monmouth County man has admitted to falsely labeling a package “toys” when instead it contained 10 live iguanas, officials said.
On November 7, 2017, Jason Ksepka, 44, of Farmingdale, was shipping out a package via U.S. Priority Mail Express destined for Hong Kong that held 10 live rhinoceros iguanas inside.
Ksepka had falsely described the contents of the package as “toys” and listed the sender as “Luke Jacobs” on a U.S. Postal Service International Shipping Label and Customs Form that accompanied the package.
On November 8, 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Inspectors intercepted the package at the mail facility at John F. Kennedy International Airport and recovered the rhinoceros iguanas from inside the package.
Ksepka was paid $500 by someone to falsely label the package and ship it to Hong Kong, officials said. The same person also paid Ksepka $500 the year before to ship approximately 10 additional rhinoceros iguanas to Hong Kong.
On September 21, Ksepka pleaded guilty to the charge of one count of violating the Lacey Act by falsely labeling an international shipment of wildlife.
Ksepka has agreed, as part of his plea agreement, to pay a fine of $1,000 to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lacey Act Reward Fund. The charge to which Ksepka pleaded guilty carries with it a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for January 25.
Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael Honig credited special agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, under the direction of Resident Agent in Charge Sean Mann, with the investigation leading to the guilty plea.