L.A. Man Busted For Exotic Fish Trafficking

Perhaps he got a little too much into River Monsters. 

A former West Hills РSan Fernando Valley of Los Angeles Рman was arrested for wildlife trafficking charges. The fish in question were exotic South American Arapaima gigas.

Here’s NBC Los Angeles via City News Service:

Isaac Zimerman, a 66-year-old American citizen, was extradited from Mexico in September to face charges contained in a 13-count indictment. Prosecutors said he used his now-defunct company, Hawthorne-based River Wonders LLC, to import Araapaima gigas, which can sometimes grow to 15 feet in length and have been known to leap from the water to catch low-flying birds, along with nearly 900 piranhas and dozens of river stingrays into the United States.

In his plea agreement, Zimerman admitted possessing those fish in California, which were advertised for sale and shipped to customers in states outside of California. The indictment also contained allegations that Zimerman engaged in additional criminal conduct related to the falsification of documents, obstruction of proceedings, false statements and smuggling of protected Arapaima gigas from Peru while on pre-trial release.

River Wonders, which pleaded guilty today through a company officer to an attempt to smuggle 10 Arapaima gigas in March 2010 from Los Angeles to the Bahamas, was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered by U.S. District Judge Otis Wright II to pay a special assessment of $400. Defense attorney Mark Werksman said the company’s corporate status would be dissolved within weeks.

Photo by George Chernilevsky/Wikimedia