How hard up do you have to be to put 51 turtles down your pants?
Kai Xu, a Canadian of Chinese origin, had repeatedly visited Michigan to buy and ship thousands of turtles to China, a court heard.
He told the judge he had sold the reptiles to help pay university fees.
Xu also thanked federal agents for ending “the darkness of his greed and ignorance”, AP news agency reported.
Prosecutors said Xu had shipped the turtles to China, where they are coveted as pets, from Canada and the US or paid people to fly them there in their luggage.
In 2014, US fisheries and wildlife officers tracked Xu across the border between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, following a tip-off from a postal worker.
He was then stopped by Canadian border guards who found 41 turtles taped to his legs and 10 hidden between his legs, prosecutors said.
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