San Jose Man Trafficked Endangered Tropical Fish: Feds - NBC Bay Area

San Jose Man Trafficked Endangered Tropical Fish: Feds

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    File image of an Asian arowana fish.

    A Bay Area man is accused of violating the Endangered Species Act by transporting endangered tropical fish, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

    Ryan Lopez Bernardez, 39, of San Jose, was indicted by a grand jury in October following an investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service but the indictment was not unsealed until his arrest on Friday and arraignment on Monday, federal prosecutors said.

    Bernardez is charged with transporting and selling two endangered Asian arowana fish, also known as Asian bonytongue.

    Bernardez made his first court appearance Monday and is currently out of custody on $100,000 bail. He is scheduled to return to court Thursday at 1:30 p.m. for a detention hearing.

    If convicted, Bernardez faces a maximum possible sentence of five years and a fine of $250,000, prosecutors said.

    Earlier this year, a San Diego man was sentenced to three years of probation after he posted an ad on Craigslist in which he tried to illegally sell endangered arowana fish to an undercover agent.

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