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La Crosse turtle thief facing federal prison time

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Man admits to taking animals from the wild and shipping them to Florida

A La Crosse man could go to federal prison, for admitting to shipping rare turtles illegally. 

Markos Diderrich has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to illegally taking wild animals and sending them across state lines. 

The 28-year-old has admitted that two years ago, he took four Blanding’s turtles from Weaver Dunes in Minnesota and brought them home to Wisconsin, where he shipped the turtles to a dealer in Florida, in violation of the Lacey Act. 

Blanding’s turtles are a threatened species, worth up to $700 a pair.

Diderrich was exchanging those animals for a different breed of turtle. 

A few days later, a bystander on a bicycle called the Minnesota DNR when he saw Diderrich go back to the dunes and try to steal more turtles. 

Diderrich also is accused of selling wild salamanders without a permit. 

He’ll be sentenced for the turtle theft in September.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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