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Tourist jailed for collecting conch seashells in Florida

Posted at 2:59 PM, Jul 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-19 17:15:21-04

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) -- A Texas woman has been sentenced to 15 days in jail for taking 40 queen conchs in the Florida Keys.

The Miami Herald reports that 30-year-old Diana Fiscal-Gonzalez was sentenced last week after pleading no contest to taking the mollusks. She must also pay a $500 fine plus $268 for court costs. The judge withheld adjudication, meaning she won't have a criminal conviction on her record.

A Florida wildlife officer arrested the Dallas woman last July outside a Key West home, where she had the state-protected animals in three plastic containers. The officer photographed the conchs and returned them to the ocean. Most were still alive.

Fiscal-Gonzalez said she was taking the conchs for gifts and didn't realize it was illegal.

She must report the Monroe County jail Aug. 10.