Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis commended members of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Port Investigations Team, who received the Conservation Law Enforcement Award from the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. The team is Florida’s first line of defense against illegally trafficked resources such as nonnative fish and wildlife, endangered and sensitive native species, live rock corals and internationally prohibited species.

“Due to Florida’s expansive coastline and many seaports and airports, our state is particularly vulnerable to illegal wildlife trafficking,” said Governor DeSantis. “I commend our FWC Port Investigations Team for receiving this award in recognition for their work to mitigate these challenges with an aggressive, proactive approach.”

“We are honored to be recognized by the Governor, who is leading the charge on eradicating pythons in the Everglades and supporting us in our efforts to work with our partners to combat illegal wildlife trafficking,” said Colonel Curtis Brown, head of FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement. “Our Port Investigations Team inspected almost 4,800 packages last year. They were able to stop the trade of various illegal snakes and reptiles and highly regulated nonnative species, as well as putting an end to several fraudulent businesses. We are proud to do our part to conserve our vibrant Florida ecosystems.”

About the FWC’s Port Investigations Team

FWC’s Port Investigations Team was established in 2011 as a specialized task force focusing on Florida’s major airports and seaports, shipping facilities, highway agricultural inspection stations and cold storage facilities targeting the illegal wildlife trade. It currently includes eleven full-time law enforcement officers – 6 investigators and 5 K-9 officers – strategically placed in high-traffic points of entry around the state. The team stays current with ever-changing shipping and transportation industry standards and maintains valuable relationships with external entities while handling full caseloads. Each K-9 officer is trained to detect items like conch, lobster, reptiles, ivory, rhino horns and saltwater, for seafood and tropical fish.

About the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies

The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies represents North America’s fish and wildlife agencies to advance sound, science-based management and conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats in the public interest.

For more information about the FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement, please visit www.MyFWC.com.



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