Pastor gets prison for shark smuggling

National 9 News, California/January 1, 2007

A San Francisco pastor has been sentenced to a year and a day in prison for helping smuggle young leopard sharks from California to aquariums in Europe and the United States.

Kevin Thompson, 48, a Unification Church pastor in San Leandro, was one of six men charged with harvesting thousands of sharks smaller than 91.5 cm, which are protected by law.

The five others have also pleaded guilty.

Thompson was also ordered to pay a US $100,000 fine.

According to the indictment, about 465 leopard sharks were sold to pet distributors in the United States, the Netherlands and Britain.

Leopard sharks can grow up to two metres.

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