Sea Turtle Seized From Idaho Aquarium Following Felony Convictions



In the wake of two chief officers of the Idaho Aquarium being convicted and sent to prison, federal regulators have removed a green sea turtle from the Boise facility, because the "permit holders are convicted felons."

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 under a new director and board.

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. He 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.

And on Dec. 17, federal fish and wildlife officers came to the Idaho Aquarium to confiscate the sea turtle, a federally protected species.

The Aquarium still faces additional fines during federal court sentencing, now set for March 2014.