ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A Sitka man was sentenced to six months in prison for illegally selling two tanned sea otter pelts to an undercover officer.
Michael Smith, 36, was sentenced in Ketchikan by U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie Longenbaugh. After the prison time is complete, Smith will serve one year of supervised release, under which he will not be able to hunt or participate in the take, sale or manufacture of marine mammals or marine mammal products. Smith will also have to turn over the gun used in connection with the offense.
Smith sold the pelts to the undercover agent for $800, which violates the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
The pelts were shipped by Smith to the undercover agent, violating the Lacey Act.
The sentencing is the result of a year and half long undercover investigation conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Alaska State Wildlife Troopers to weed out illegal sea otters hunters and traffickers in Southeast Alaska, Anchorage and Fairbanks. To date, two individuals have pleaded guilty to illegal sea otter commercialization and are serving their sentences in federal prison.