Bienemann, 47, of Clearwater, was arrested for unlawful harvesting,
possession and sale of endangered, protected and threatened species
of orchids. eBay assisted state officers in the investigation and
removed the illegal items upon notification.
Mr. Bienemannís illegal actions show a blatant disregard for the law
and Floridaís endangered wildlife, said DEP Division of Law
Enforcement Director Thomas S. Tramel, III. Because of the keen work
of a dedicated citizen, DEP law enforcement officers were able to
quickly and efficiently stop this environmental crime.
Following a citizen tip, the suspect was found to illegally possess
with the intent to distribute 56 butterfly orchids, 26 green-fly
orchids, six dancing-lady orchids, four leafless orchids and one
pale-flower polystachya. The nursery had seven additional species of
endangered plants advertised for sale on eBay, including the ribbon
orchid. The dancing-lady orchid is found only in Southeast Floridaís
Jonathan Dickinson State Park while the ribbon orchid is located only
within Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park.
DEPís Division of Law Enforcement is responsible for statewide
environmental resource law enforcement, providing law enforcement
services to Floridaís state parks and greenways and trails. Agents
investigate environmental resource crimes and illegal dredge and fill
activities and respond to natural disasters, civil unrest, hazardous
material incidents and oil spills that can threaten the environment.
From 1999-2003, DEPís Division of Law Enforcement investigated 3,365
criminal environmental cases -- an increase of nearly 414 percent
over the previous five years. In 2000, DEP launched the Environmental
Crimes Strike Force to combat major crimes against the environment
and public health. Its first operation, Operation Green Lightning,
resulted in 156 arrests the largest environmental law enforcement
sweep in U.S. history.
To report environmental crime, Cingular wireless customers can dial
*DEP. Callers without wireless access can report environmental crimes
to the State Warning Point by calling (800) 320-0519. General
environmental inquiries should be directed to DEP district offices
during business hours.