Florida Couple Novita Indah & Larry Malugin Plead Guilty To Trafficking 3,100 Parts Of Endangered Indonesian Wildlife Using eBay

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Florida couple Novita Indah and Larry Malugin pleaded guilty in federal court on January 14th to trafficking protected wildlife.

As per a statement released by The United States Department of Justice, 49-year-old Indah and 52-year-old Malugin admitted in a plea agreement with the U.S. government to illegally importing wildlife from Indonesia to their Port Richey home and reselling the wildlife across the country and internationally.

A grand jury indicted the defendants in June of 2019 on charges of conspiracy, smuggling, and Lacey Act violations. The defendants admitted that from October 4, 2011, through January 12, 2017, they imported and resold Southeast Asian wildlife in the forms of taxidermy mounts, bones, skins, belts, and wallets.

Indah and Malugin sold approximately 3,100 wildlife items using eBay to buyers across the United States and the world valued at a total of $211,212.

The perpetrators began trafficking while living in Indonesia and continued to do so as they moved to Puerto Rico and ultimately Florida in 2013. They smuggled the items to purchasers in the United States in packages falsely labeled to conceal their contents.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) seized approximately 369 wildlife articles from the defendants’ home during a January 12, 2017, search warrant. The agents recovered four spitting cobra mounts, one python mount, one krait snake mount, 156 assorted snakeskins, 99 monitor lizard skins, 87 snakeskin and lizard skin wallets, 20 belts with snake heads and a babirusa skull.

Every species that was smuggled and sold is protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). 

USFWS and U.S. Customs inspectors repeatedly seized packages shipped by Indah and Malugin, but they continued to sell wildlife using multiple eBay and PayPal accounts. This investigation was part of Operation Global Reach, a USFWS long-term task force into the flow of illegal wildlife from Indonesia to the United States.

Sentencing has not yet been scheduled. The defendants agreed to forfeit the wildlife seized from their house.

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