Flight attendant pleads guilty in LA to turtle smuggling
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a flight attendant for a Chinese airline has pleaded guilty to attempting to smuggle nearly two-dozen spotted and box turtles in a carry-on bag from Los Angeles to China.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Huaqian Qu, a Chinese national, entered his plea Thursday to a charge of conspiracy. He faces up to five years in prison when he’s sentenced July 23.
Officials say Qu and a fellow flight crew member with China Eastern Airlines tried to unlawfully export a total of 45 turtles that are protected under international trade law. The turtles could’ve been worth more than $40,000 in Asia.
City News Service says the co-defendant is expected to plead guilty on Friday.