Alberta man guilty of illegally importing rattlesnakes and scorpions

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EDMONTON, Alta. -- October 18, 2011 -- Terrell John Gruse, a resident of Edmonton, Alberta, was convicted on October 13, 2011, for illegally importing rattlesnakes and scorpions into Canada. His violations include two counts under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA) and one count under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Following the conviction, Gruse was sentenced to pay $10,000 in penalties of which $1,000 is a fine and $9,000 a contribution to the Environmental Damages Fund. He was also ordered to pay $1400 towards the care of the seized animals.

Following an investigation by Environment Canada, Gruse was charged in 2009 at the Kingsgate border crossing near Cranbrook, British Columbia. The investigation revealed that the snakes had been smuggled into Canada after being unlawfully harvested from the wild in the United States.  Gruse had purchased the scorpions from a United States pet store.

The Environmental Damages Fund, administered by Environment Canada, was created in 1995 to provide a means for directing funds received from fines, court orders and voluntary payments to be used for the repair of the actual harm done to the environment.

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