CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - A Plantation, Fla., man who runs a store on Hilton Head Island has pleaded guilty to illegally selling baby turtles.
Federal prosecutors said 42-year-old Steve Maleh sold the turtles for years from a store called Island Breeze on the resort island.
Authorities say they warned Maleh several times that it is illegal to sell baby turtles because they carry a risk of salmonella, but he ignored the warnings.
Investigators say Maleh also sent a letter to a competitor that said it was from federal officials demanding he stop selling turtles or face fines and criminal charges. The letter said it was from the Food and Drug Administration, but had Maleh's phone number as a contact.
Maleh will be sentenced at a later date.