Enthusiasts California: a South Korean sentenced to 2 years in prison for rare plant traffic
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A South Korean national who came in California to illegally harvest and export in his country a rare variety of Grasse, the Dudleya Farinosa, was sentenced on Thursday to two years in prison by a Los Angeles court.
With the help of two accomplices, Byungsu Kim, 46, had unearthed in October 2018 on northern California beaches and national parks several thousand seedlings of this Dudleya, popular in Asia for its resemblance to the lotus.
According to a federal prosecutor for Central California, these succulent plants, which grow on the rugged ribs of northern California and neighboring Oregon, could be resold for at least 150,000 dollars. Mr. Kim and his accomplices, also South Korean, had been apprehended by the police while they were trying to ship to their country more than 100 kg of Dudleya. In total, the investigators had discovered in their possession some 3,715 illegally deducted plants.
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The trafficker was not at his trial: he had carried out more than fifty trips to California since 2009, according to the report submitted to the court by the Prosecution.
Customs documents "show that it traveled for patterns related to fatty plants and often in possession of tens of thousands of dollars in cash", which he had not always declared, "and with false phytosanitary certificates."
His passport had been seized during his arrest, but the man had managed to obtain a new one with the Consulate of South Korea in Los Angeles, pretending to have lost it.
He had fled to Mexico to reach his country.
Mr. Kim was arrested some time later in South Africa, where he had again rendered to illegally take plants in protected areas and was extradited to the United States in 2020.
he pleaded. guilty of the facts that were reproached to him.
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