SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - A Florida man who pleaded guilty to picking up and transporting 41 turtles has been sentenced.
Michael Clemons, 22, will be on probation for a year, have to complete 100 hours of community service, pay court costs and make a $250 donation to the Wildlife Alert Fund after pleading guilty to one count of taking or possessing more than one turtle per day and one count of transporting more than one turtle or turtle eggs.
Clemons was behind the wheel of a pickup truck stopped in May by deputies with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office after he ran a stop sign around 3:30am in Punta Gorda. Clemons told a deputy he and his 25-year-old passenger, Ariel Machan-Le Quire, were collecting frogs and snakes under an overpass. He gave the deputy permission to search bags in the truck.
When the deputy found 41 3-stripe turtles in a “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle” backpack, he asked if Machan-Le Quire had anything else. She pulled a 1-foot gator from her yoga pants.
Machan-Le Quire pleaded guilty to four charges in August and was sentenced to probation.