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21 Charged In Fla. For Poached Fish Wildlife Sales

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File photo of fishermen. (Photo by MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of fishermen. (Photo by MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images)

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — State and federal authorities have broken up a Florida ring accused of selling fish and wildlife illegally purchased from poachers and unlicensed hunters and fishermen.

Twenty-one suspects were charged Wednesday with more than 200 criminal violations in five Florida counties — Orange, Lake, Osceola, Polk and St. Lucie.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officers spent 22 months investigating and infiltrating the ring.

The suspects allegedly bought deer, turkey, alligator, ducks, turtles and fish including snook, snapper, trout and redfish that were illegally harvested. They then were shipped to out-of-state markets.

The fish and wildlife were over-harvested or taken out of season or by illegal methods.

Ten suspects were arrested and the others issued notices to appear in court.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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