Man busted in metro for illegally selling turtles

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- A man in the metro is arrested and ticketed for the illegal sale of turtles.

The suspect, from El Paso Texas, was allegedly caught red-handed.

Authorities with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife said they caught the suspect selling at least 23 turtles on a busy street corner.

Head out to your favorite fishing hole or nearby pond and on a sunny day you're likely to see turtles sunning themselves on a log.

The most common breed is the red-eared slider.

"If you had a turtle as a kid, odds are it was a red-eared slider. They're everywhere," Oklahoma Department of Wildlife spokesman Lance Meek said.

Meek said despite how easy it is to see red-eared sliders, it's very strange that someone would actually be busted selling them illegally.

"To actually have someone arrested for selling turtles on the street corner as pets, that's a pretty rare thing," Meek said.

Yet in this case, a wildlife official recently caught a man by the name of Christen Jaquez setting up shop at S.W. 59th St. and Penn. Ave., selling 23 red-eared sliders.

The man even had signs up advertising the sale.

Meek said the suspect selling the turtles may not have even realized he was breaking the law.

That's why state wildlife experts have a message for everyone.

"What happens is, someone who doesn't deal with wildlife, they think they can do something and they don't even consider that it's illegal. Anytime you do anything with wildlife, you need to check the hunting and fishing guides to see if it's OK to do that," Meek said.

The state does have several commercial retailers and even some breeders and harvesters that sell turtles but in each case, the businesses are licensed with the state.

The suspect in this case had no license.

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