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Huntington Illegal Butterfly Smuggler Pleads Guilty

By Nolan Cleary

A Huntington man has pled guilty to smuggling more than 17,000 illegal exotic insects - including endangered butterflies and bees - into the country. 

Charles Limmer, age 75, has pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to smuggle goods, according to federal prosecutors. From October 2022 to September 2023, 59 shipments worth approximately $216K were made by Limmer. 

Limmer has forfeited $30,215 and is facing 12 to 18 months in prison. He is scheduled for sentencing on October 4th.

The smuggled exotic animals include butterflies; moths; cicadas; bees; and scorpions, according to Court documents.

"Mr. Limmer fully accepts responsibility for his actions regarding importing dried specimens without a commercial license after 2022," stated Renee Wong, the lawyer for Limmer. "He is a conservationist at his core, and he only imported insects from farms that assisted in the ongoing proliferation of species."

Limmer’s local insect business - called the Limmer Business - obtained a license to import and export wildlife from the United States Fish & Wildlife Service. Limmer used the license to import and export wildlife into the United States. 

After Limmer lost his license in 2022, he continued to smuggle insects into the country, according to prosecutors.


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