Oregon man pleads guilty to importing live scorpions

Posted at 9:45 PM, Mar 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-14 22:45:25-04

An Oregon man has pleaded guilty in federal court to illegally importing and exporting hundreds of live scorpions.

Darren Drake, 39, of Eugene, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring with others to commit Lacey Act violations, a federal misdemeanor, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Lacey Act makes it illegal to trade wildlife and plants that have been illegally stolen or sold.

According to court documents, from September 2017 into March 2018, Drake imported and exported dozens of live scorpions from and to contacts in Germany without obtaining an import-export license from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

On one parcel intercepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Drake falsely labeled the package contents as chocolates, prosecutors said.

Drake also mailed or received several hundred live scorpions from other U.S. states, including Michigan and Texas, in violation of federal mailing laws, according to prosecutors.

Drake faces up to one year in prison, three years’ supervised release and a $100,000 fine when he’s sentenced later this year.