California News

Jun 20, 2013 7:39 PM by ASSOCIATED PRESS

Calif man pleads guilty to smuggling fish bladders

SAN DIEGO (AP) - A California man has pleaded guilty to smuggling endangered fish bladders into the United States from Mexico to later sell to Asia.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in San Diego says Jason Xie entered his plea before a federal judge on Wednesday.

He is one of seven defendants charged with unlawful trade in wildlife.

The 49-year-old Sacramento man admitted that in February and March he received five coolers containing the swim bladders of 270 Totoaba fish from across the border. The bladders were valued at more than $400,000.

Xie agreed to forfeit 170 bladders and a $350,000 residence in Seattle.

Authorities say the bladders are used in a highly desired soup in China and Hong Kong.

The totoaba fish is only found in Mexico's Sea of Cortez.

Sentencing is set for Sept. 13.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)



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