Man Pleads Guilty After Unusual Find in Swimming Pool

Man from Dutchess County, NY, convicted for having 7 live sandbar sharks in his basement
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2021 12:30 PM CDT
First, 5 Sharks in His Truck. Then Cops Peeked in the Basement
In this August 2017 photo, sharks swim in a pool in a LaGrangeville, NY, basement.   (New York Department of Environmental Conservation via AP)

When Georgia cops pulled Joshua Seguine over in 2017 for driving without a license, they likely didn't expect what they found in the back of his truck: five small live sharks in a tank, which Seguine admitted he was transporting to his home in Dutchess County, NY, where he had several other living sharks. He said he hoped to make money on them via an underground market that caters to athletes, entertainers, and designers, per the New York Times. This week, Seguine pleaded guilty to a charge of illegal possession with intent to sell the seven sandbar sharks he had at his LaGrangeville residence, per a release from New York Attorney General Letitia James. The release details that, after the traffic stop, Georgia authorities contacted the NY Department of Environmental Conservation police, who searched Seguine's home along with biologists from two local aquariums.

There, in an aboveground pool in his basement, they found the seven sandbar sharks—a protected species that New York state residents aren't allowed to possess unless they have a special license—as well as two dead leopard sharks, a hammerhead carcass, and the snout of an endangered smalltooth sawfish. Investigators found Seguine had been offering sharks for sale via the site. It's not illegal to own sharks, though protected species are off-limits. The sharks were relocated to the New York Aquarium on Coney Island. CNN notes that, in addition to a $5,000 fine, Seguine was sentenced to a conditional discharge, meaning he won't go to jail or be on probation but is subject to conditions determined by the court. "We will not tolerate anyone who preys on protected species to line their pockets," says James in the release. (More sharks stories.)

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