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7 charged in trafficking operation that sold wild flying squirrels into pet trade

At least seven people have been charged with trafficking flying squirrels in an elaborate scheme worth an estimated $1 million, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) said in a Monday statement.

The individuals involved in the case have been charged with racketeering, money laundering, scheming to defraud and other organized criminal laws for their participation in the elaborate operation, which allegedly involved poachers from around Central Florida trapping the animals and selling them to a wildlife dealer in Bushnell. The dealer would then launder the squirrels under the false pretense that they were captive bred and sell them into the pet trade in South Korea.

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