Man Gets 6 Months For Spider-Smuggling!

A German man was sentenced to six months in federal prison for bringing hundreds of tarantulas into the United States by mail. U.S. District Judge S. James Otero said he hoped the sentencing of Sven Koppler, 37, of Wachtburg, Germany, would deter others from trying to smuggle animals into the U.S. Court documents filed in the case estimated the illegal wildlife trade generates as much as $20 billion a year. Koppler earlier this year pleaded guilty to one count of smuggling goods into the U.S. and faced up to 20 years in prison. Prosecutors had recommended Koppler serve 10 months. Koppler portrayed himself as a spider breeder and said shipping the arachnids is legal in Europe and other countries. “I just can say I’m very sorry about what happened and it wasn’t my intention to defraud anyone or anything,” said the slender Koppler, who wore a dark suit and striped tie in court. “I definitely would not do this again.” Federal prosecutors said Koppler sold thousands of tarantulas to more than 50 people in 16 countries between 2008 and 2010. Some of the spiders, including a protected Mexican species, were mailed by Koppler from Germany to Los Angeles.