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$1,500 Penalty and Conviction for Illegal Import of Orchids
St. Catharines, Ont. -- April 28, 2011 -- Claudio Rossi, of Jordan Station, Ontario, pleaded guilty on April 26, 2011, in the Ontario Court of Justice in St. Catharines to illegally importing orchid plants into Canada. Mr. Rossi was ordered to pay a fine of $500, forfeit all seized plants, and make a $1,000 donation to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, for the purpose of conducting stewardship on lands in Canada where wild Orchids are known to grow.
Mr. Rossi was charged by Environment Canada under subsection 6(2) of the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act. This Act and associated regulations require that orchids being imported into Canada be accompanied by a valid permit issued under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES permits are required to verify that the international trade of orchids does not threaten wild populations.
The violations occurred between June 25th and October 1st, 2009, when Mr. Rossi imported 12 parcels containing orchid plants into Canada. During the course of the investigation, it was discovered that all of the orchids had been purchased through a popular Internet-based auction site. None of the shipments of plants were accompanied by the required CITES export permits.
In addition to the fines, the court ordered Mr. Rossi to keep a log book and record all purchases, sales, importations, exportations, acquisitions or deliveries of orchids in which he or his company is involved, for a period of three years. Included in the court order, Environment Canada Enforcement officers were given the authority to conduct unannounced inspections at Mr. Rossi’s residence and outbuildings to ensure compliance with the order.
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