The two chief officers of a Boise aquarium, who admitted to committing a series of federal crimes, including conspiracy to illegally buy, transport and sell exotic fish, were sentenced in a Florida federal courtroom Dec. 2.
In February, federal prosecutors accused Ammon Covino, the aquarium's president, and Christopher Conk, the aquarium board's director, of illegally purchasing marine life for the Idaho facility, which remains open. A grand jury alleged that Covino and Conk purchased four spotted eagle rays and two lemon sharks for approximately $6,300, and that the fish were allegedly harvested illegally and without a permit.
On Dec. 2, U.S. District Judge Jose Martinez sentenced the 40-year-old Covino to a year and a day in prison and was also barred during two years of probation from working in or around a wildlife exhibit and cannot purchase or sell animals during that time.
The 40-year-old Conk was sentenced to four months in prison and was also barred from working in or around a wildlife business during two years' probation.
Martinez said the men’s conduct “strikes to the very heart of this area and the economy of this area.”
The aquarium agreed to pay a $10,000 fine and donate $50,000 to charity. The aquarium faces additional fines during its sentencing.