Tortoise smuggling in Chico?

Law enforcement officials working in concert with federal authorities have arrested Garrett Smith, a Chico resident, for allegedly smuggling and selling protected tortoises.

According to the office of U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott, Smith worked with someone in Singapore called “Turtle Man” to import and sell protected Burmese Star and Indian Star tortoises. Altogether, Smith is alleged to have imported 35 of the protected reptiles.

Smith, 39, faces a variety of charges, including conspiracy, falsely labeling wildlife, unlawful sale of wildlife and money laundering. His arrest and indictment last week in Sacramento Federal Court were the result of an extensive investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. If convicted, he could receive up to 20 years per count of smuggling and money laundering.