California News

Nov 4, 2013 12:54 AM by Associated Press

US seek $3M restitution from fish bladder smuggler

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Prosecutors want a Sacramento man who admitted to smuggling endangered fish bladders to pay the Mexican government $3 million in restitution.

The amount would put the value of each of the 270 fish bladders Jason Xie smuggled from Mexico to the U.S. at $11,375 apiece.

The U.S. Attorney's office in San Diego is seeking the amount to deter others from trafficking the swim bladders of Totoaba (toe-TWAH-bah) fish, which is only found in Mexico's Sea of Cortez.

U-T San Diego reports ( ) the fish bladders are prized in China for their purported medicinal properties, which has contributed to the fish's critically endangered status. A dried Totoaba bladder can fetch up to $10,000 in the black market.

Court records show Xie earned about $3 million from smuggling the bladders to China.


Information from: U-T San Diego,

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