Man convicted after police find pool full of sharks in his basement

Nick Whigham
·Assistant News Editor
·2-min read

It's not every day someone is offering to sell you a shark on the internet.

Authorities in the US state of New York naturally had their interest piqued when Joshua Seguine, 40, was doing just that.

Mr Seguine was pulled over by police in the state of Georgia in 2017 and was found with five undersized sharks in a large circular tank in the back of his truck. He later admitted to police he intended to sell them.

When authorities in New York were told about his arrest, they launched their own investigation, The New York Times reported. They later discovered Seguine was offering the protected species for sale on MonsterFishKeepers.com, an online forum for aquarium enthusiasts.

Multiple live sharks move about a basement swimming pool.
Live sharks move about a basement swimming pool discovered by police. Source: AP
The New York man has narrowly avoided jail over the scheme. Source: AP
The New York man has narrowly avoided jail over the scheme. Source: AP

When authorities subsequently raided his home, they found seven sandbar sharks swimming in an above ground pool in his basement.

Authorities said they also discovered the carcasses of two leopard sharks and a hammerhead shark, and the snout of an endangered smalltooth sawfish.

Mr Seguine was convicted on Wednesday (local time) of illegal trafficking and ordered to pay a US$5,000 fine (A$6,450) and narrowly avoided jail, being released on conditional discharge, New York attorney general Letitia James said in a statement.

Officials said seven live sharks and three dead ones were seized, the live ones were later released. Source: AP
Officials said seven live sharks and three dead ones were seized, the live ones were later released. Source: AP

“The tide has turned for Joshua Seguine, who was convicted and held accountable for his unlawful acts,” James said.

“Let this serve as a loud and clear message: We will not tolerate anyone who preys on protected species to line their pockets."

America's exotic wildlife trade

US states have widely differing laws around the ownership, sale and trade of exotic animals.

In June last year, an online advertisement offering baby kangaroos for sale in Texas sparked heated backlash among some Australians online.

Wildlife keeper Carol Baskin, whose Tiger park was at the centre of hit Netflix docuseries Tiger King, told Yahoo News Australia in a recent interview that she believes the pervasive trade of exotic animals in the US is contributing to the extinction of wild animals.

The trafficking of exotic animals is one of the most lucrative criminal trades in the world, alongside arms and illicit drugs, with the US providing the main destination.

According to a 2020 study published in Nature, the US imported 3.2 billion live animals between 2000 and 2014.

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