By Tom Palmer
A Winter Haven man was among several people arrested in an investigation that targeted people intentionally buying and selling fish and wildlife illegally online, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials said.
Operation Wild Web involved state and federal wildlife agents in Florida and other states.
The offenses involved either selling wildlife illegally or selling wildlife without a proper license.
Trevor Forges of Winter Haven was given a notice to appear in connection with the sale of an Australian reptile called a bearded dragon without having obtained a wildlife dealer's license.
FWC spokeswoman Kati Purcell said the offense is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine or 60 days in jail.
Arrests also occurred in Hernando, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Lee, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, Collier and Monroe counties.
"These illegal virtual businesses not only compete with the legitimate companies, they are also damaging to our valuable fish and wildlife populations," said Lt. George Wilson, leader of the FWC's Internet Crimes Unit. More....