Jail sentence for reptile smuggler

14 December 2020

A two-year joint investigation into illegal wildlife trade by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, the NSW Police Force and the NSW Department of Planning has resulted in the sentencing of a 26-year-old Western Sydney man to 3 years imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 18 months.

Environmental crime investigators and police executed a search warrant at a Western Sydney address in May 2019, where they seized various native reptiles, some of which were bound for China.

The seizures included various species of python, Monitors, a Death Adder, Geckos and Blue-tongue lizards. Investigators also intercepted two parcels addressed to China containing three Shingleback lizards.

Head of Environmental Compliance Monica Collins said the collaboration between Commonwealth and State agencies underlined the Australian Government’s commitment to protecting Australian wildlife.

“Disrupting illegal wildlife trade is a priority for the department, with these offences carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment or a $210,000 fine,” she said.

“Our investigations uncovered organised networks of illegal wildlife crime activities, and this jail sentence sends a strong message to anyone involved in the poaching or trafficking of wildlife.”

Buddy Pogmore pleaded guilty at Penrith Local Court to two counts of attempting to export regulated native species in contravention of the EPBC Act, one count of dealing in proceeds of crime worth $50,000 or more, and two counts of dealing in protected animals in contravention of the NSW Biosecurity Act 2016.

Pogmore’s conviction is part of a broader joint operation, with over 300 reptiles recovered from previous warrant activity and two other men arrested. The men were charged with numerous offences relating to participating in a criminal group, fraud and EPBC Act import and export offences.

If you have any information about trade in illegal wildlife or wildlife products, you should contact investigations@environment.gov.au or compliance@environment.gov.au