AP NEWS

Arizona man gets prison in cacti smuggling, theft, drug case

May 1, 2019

PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona man has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for selling drugs, stealing government property and international smuggling of cacti.

Prosecutors say 54-year-old William Starr Schwartz of Meadview also was ordered by a judge to pay more than $22,000 in restitution to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Schwartz had previously pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, theft of government property and smuggling cacti from the United States.

Authorities say Schwartz stole and directed others to steal for him in excess of 500 federally-protected cactus plants from the Lake Mead National Recreation Area between October 2014 and last August.

They say Schwartz sold the stolen cacti online and illegally shipped the plants from Meadview to more than 20 countries worldwide.