- Yon Pon Wong admitted to illegally smuggling $3million worth of abalone
- He shipped the mollusk from Mexico 43 times over three years to California
- Abalone is very expensive and costs around $125 a pound
A California man has pleaded guilty to illegally importing $3million worth of abalone from Mexico, according to federal prosecutors.
Yon Pon Wong admitted in court Wednesday that he imported the hard-to-find mollusks using falsified commercial invoices, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego said.
Prosecutors have said Wong illegally shipped abalone from Mexico 43 times over three years and the amount that arrived in California weighed 148,500 pounds overall.
Abalone is a type of marine snail. It is expensive and is considered a delicacy in many parts of the world.
Abalone are difficult-to-find mollusks whose steaks are worth about $125 a pound
A California man has admitted to illegally importing $3million worth of abalone from Mexico
Abalone steaks are sold for about $125 a pound.
Abalone diving is a popular sport in northern California and requires very little equipment and experience. As a result, the sport is perilous. At least four people died diving for abalone in 2016.
The shells of abalone are often used as decorative items.
California’s coastal waters are home to an abalone population and are targeted by recreational fisheries.
Yon Pon Wong shipped abalone to California 43 times over the course of three years