illegal orchids or orchid smuggling.....

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illegal orchids or orchid smuggling.....

Post by jami.. » Thu, 17 Nov 2005 05:17:20



Hey All!

Workinng on a Case Study of Illegal Orchid Smugglings for a school
project. Anyone have any first hand experiences with this? I would be
interested to hear anyones experiences in dealing with underground
Orchids. Confidentiality is assured. Would be up for either email
correspondence and/or a quick telephone chat.

I'm in Canada - but you could be wherever!
Drop me a line at fergusonwoods AT hotmail DOT com if you're
interested!

Thanks!

 
 
 

illegal orchids or orchid smuggling.....

Post by K Barret » Thu, 17 Nov 2005 06:26:25


Quote:

> Hey All!

> Workinng on a Case Study of Illegal Orchid Smugglings for a school
> project. Anyone have any first hand experiences with this? I would be
> interested to hear anyones experiences in dealing with underground
> Orchids. Confidentiality is assured. Would be up for either email
> correspondence and/or a quick telephone chat.

> I'm in Canada - but you could be wherever!
> Drop me a line at fergusonwoods AT hotmail DOT com if you're
> interested!

> Thanks!

What sort of school project?  High School?  College?  Law School? This
topic could become a life's work and/or book.  I'm not a smuggler, nor
do I play one on TV, but depending on how 'in' to this you want to get
there's a bunch of stuff online.  If your project is a 5 page high
school paper that's one thing.  If its a law dgree that's another...

If you are researching a short paper search for US Department of Justice
information on the case for Michael Kovach, Selby Gardens and
Phragmipedium kovachii.  There may be some info still available online
from the Miami area newspapers and/or the Sarasota, Fl newspapers (you
have to search to get the newspaper's name, sorry). Sarasota is the town
Selby gardens is located in.

If you want something more in depth with innuendo try searching the
archives of the "Orchid Guide Digest" (google it).  You'll have to
figure out their search engine and spend a bunch of time tracing
threads, but it can be done. There will be comments from people who
attended the trial of Pepe Portillo, as well as George Norris (who
should be getting out of jail soon.)  You could google Pepe Portillo,
and George Norris in conjunction with the word 'smuggle' or 'orchid'
too. See what turns up.

 
 
 

illegal orchids or orchid smuggling.....

Post by jamiemt » Thu, 17 Nov 2005 07:45:52


thanks very much for your reply, your answer looks like it will be very
helpful. to answer your question it's a 10 page paper for a class
called "The Underground Economy". The class focuses on underground
economic activities. It's a mid level class in a 4 year economic
problem. I will start looking through the Orchid Guide Digest.

if anyone else has any more helpful hints I would great appreciate it,

 
 
 

illegal orchids or orchid smuggling.....

Post by Al » Thu, 17 Nov 2005 07:53:00


K Barrett aka Orchid Moll...she's run with the best of 'em, but *she* ain't
got caught.


Quote:

>> Hey All!

>> Workinng on a Case Study of Illegal Orchid Smugglings for a school
>> project. Anyone have any first hand experiences with this? I would be
>> interested to hear anyones experiences in dealing with underground
>> Orchids. Confidentiality is assured. Would be up for either email
>> correspondence and/or a quick telephone chat.

>> I'm in Canada - but you could be wherever!
>> Drop me a line at fergusonwoods AT hotmail DOT com if you're
>> interested!

>> Thanks!

> What sort of school project?  High School?  College?  Law School? This
> topic could become a life's work and/or book.  I'm not a smuggler, nor do
> I play one on TV, but depending on how 'in' to this you want to get
> there's a bunch of stuff online.  If your project is a 5 page high school
> paper that's one thing.  If its a law dgree that's another...

> If you are researching a short paper search for US Department of Justice
> information on the case for Michael Kovach, Selby Gardens and
> Phragmipedium kovachii.  There may be some info still available online
> from the Miami area newspapers and/or the Sarasota, Fl newspapers (you
> have to search to get the newspaper's name, sorry). Sarasota is the town
> Selby gardens is located in.

> If you want something more in depth with innuendo try searching the
> archives of the "Orchid Guide Digest" (google it).  You'll have to figure
> out their search engine and spend a bunch of time tracing threads, but it
> can be done. There will be comments from people who attended the trial of
> Pepe Portillo, as well as George Norris (who should be getting out of jail
> soon.)  You could google Pepe Portillo, and George Norris in conjunction
> with the word 'smuggle' or 'orchid' too. See what turns up.

 
 
 

illegal orchids or orchid smuggling.....

Post by jamiemt » Thu, 17 Nov 2005 08:38:31


ok - so im now fascinated with Silva's and Norris' case. Apparently
they would get fake permits for legal orchids, then ship illegal ones
with these legit permits? It said on the US department of agriculture's
website that they even devised a code to determine what these orchids
were? Does anyone have any further information?
 
 
 

illegal orchids or orchid smuggling.....

Post by jamiemt » Thu, 17 Nov 2005 08:52:15


ok, now another source is telling me they didnt' do anything wrong!
geeze louis
 
 
 

illegal orchids or orchid smuggling.....

Post by Ray » Thu, 17 Nov 2005 10:16:48


The accusation was that they intentionally mislabeled plants to get them
through customs.  I seriously doubt that they did, and I don't think the FWS
folks had the expertise to determine if they did or not.

Both pled out to not go bankrupt from legal costs.

--

Ray Barkalow - First Rays Orchids - www.firstrays.com
Plants, Supplies, Artwork, Books and Lots of Free Info!


Quote:
> ok, now another source is telling me they didnt' do anything wrong!
> geeze louis

 
 
 

illegal orchids or orchid smuggling.....

Post by K Barret » Thu, 17 Nov 2005 12:57:33


When you're a Jet, you stay a Jet!
K
Quote:

> K Barrett aka Orchid Moll...she's run with the best of 'em, but *she* ain't
> got caught.

 
 
 

illegal orchids or orchid smuggling.....

Post by K Barret » Thu, 17 Nov 2005 14:16:58


Quote:

> ok - so im now fascinated with Silva's and Norris' case. Apparently
> they would get fake permits for legal orchids, then ship illegal ones
> with these legit permits? It said on the US department of agriculture's
> website that they even devised a code to determine what these orchids
> were? Does anyone have any further information?

That's why I said this could become a life's work.  Its a great story.

To answer your question about how this is done.

If you were to go to any orchid show you'd see orchids for sale, and
mostly they are out of bloom.  Yous see just a mass of green plant stuffs.

One out of bloom orchid plant - for the most part - looks like any other
orchid plant of the same variety.  The way we tell them apart is by the
tag the vendor puts on the plant.  For ease in labelling, vendors will
label their plants by number and have a master list as to what all the
numbers mean.  Then when they get to where ever they are going they'll
put a better tag on the plant.  So you'll see plants tagged '1167 Soph
cernua' and some just '1167' and you as teh purchaser have to know/ask
what '1167' is.  Pretty much this is standard operating procedure, but
to a customs agent or a reporter looking for a story it could look like
a "code".

Nevertheless, the key to the crime is that one orchid looks pretty much
like another of the same variety when its out of bloom.

So, your cohort (in the country of origin) writes up a bunch of
paperwork saying you two are importing an easy to get plant like
Phragmipedium schlimii (an example only).  He gets CITES & USFWS
(endangered species) permits to import Phrag schlimii. The paperwork
says item #123 is Phrag schlimii.  But really item #123 is rare, ***
Phrag kovachii (an example only), a plant people would kill for.  The
customs agents look over his shipment, sees that a bunch of Phrags are
coming in, but they really have no idea WHAT they are because one out of
bloom phrag looks pretty much like another. You pick up the plants at
the customs house. Your cohort has emailed you the real list, stating
#123 is kovachii.  Bada bing!  You're in the money.   You contact your
friends who you know will want the plants no matter what the cost, and
you laugh all the way to the bank.  Unless you are George Norris, who -
according the the feds - never deleted his email or cleaned his hard
drive and they found the trail.  Then you wind up in prison.  Note:
George wasn't busted for Phrag. kovachii, Selby Gardens and Michael
Kovach were, I just used those species as an example.

I could go on, but its your homework, LOL!!

If you can figure out the OGD's search feature you should be able to
find Norris's own post about how the feds treated him when they served
their search warrant.  I thought it was chilling.

You may also be able to find an account of how Eurpoean vendors filled
the back of a pick up truck with illegally collected Phrag kovachiis to
sell in Europe.  I guess their customs agents are even worse than ours
at plant identification _ I'm kidding the story is more convoluted than
that, but there's only so much I can write at one time.

K Barrett

 
 
 

illegal orchids or orchid smuggling.....

Post by J Fortun » Thu, 17 Nov 2005 16:15:06


Since you are in Canada, this might be of interest:
http://www.bedfordorchids.com/cfia.htm

It is an article posted by the Canadian orchid vendor Bedford Orchids
describing the beaurocratic incompetence of Toronto officials dealing with
orchids legally imported into Canada after the World Orchid Conference that
took place in Dijon, France in March 2005. While not precisely on illegal
orchid smuggling, this article is related in that it shows some of the
beaurocracy that can be in place to try to legally control orchid imports.

The article ends on the intriguing statement "I have now found out that
every single orchid plant declared in Toronto was detained. Every plant
smuggled in was not found. Is Judy Smith and her petty officious nature CFIA
's new incentive to smuggle?" I assume that the author is just assuming that
someone did smuggle in some orchids (?). Of course, the article is written
from one point of view, and you might want to double-check the facts if you
can find other articles on this matter -- vendors who are interested in
imported orchids are not very objective observers of CITES enforcement
officials. :-)

In general you will probably find a lot of bias on this subject, and it may
be difficult to sort out who is guilty/innocent, right/wrong,
just-enforcing-laws/obstructing-imports. I do not know whether Mr. Norris
for example was really guilty or innocent, what I do know is that a lot of
the posts to orchid groups on this subject were written by people who
sympathized with him -- was it because he was innocent? was it because they
were his friends? was it because they in general think that CITES laws are
unreasonable (a lot of people who are into orchids believe that these laws
are quite stupid to begin with and then enforced incorrectly by officials
who do not know enough about orchids)? I do not know, but if I were
researching this subject, I would be very careful to double-check the
sources, and keep in mind that the authors of any info I read may be
biased -- this of course would apply to both sides, since those who ardently
claimed that Mr. Norris was guilty may well have been his competitors or
people with a grudge or people who are strong supporters of CITES
regulations and wanted a conviction as a deterrent to orchid smuggling (?).
As I said, I do not know the truth in the matter, but I know that many
people in the orchid communities feel very strongly about it.

Joanna


Quote:
> Hey All!

> Workinng on a Case Study of Illegal Orchid Smugglings for a school
> project. Anyone have any first hand experiences with this? I would be
> interested to hear anyones experiences in dealing with underground
> Orchids. Confidentiality is assured. Would be up for either email
> correspondence and/or a quick telephone chat.

> I'm in Canada - but you could be wherever!
> Drop me a line at fergusonwoods AT hotmail DOT com if you're
> interested!

> Thanks!

 
 
 

illegal orchids or orchid smuggling.....

Post by Reka » Thu, 17 Nov 2005 18:36:21




Quote:
> If you can figure out the OGD's search feature you should be able to
> find Norris's own post about how the feds treated him when they served
> their search warrant.  I thought it was chilling.

Some is on RGO too. Look for "Norris" at rec.gardens.orchids at Google
groups.

--
Reka

This is LIFE!  It's not a rehearsal.  Don't miss it!
http://www.rolbox.it/hukari/index.html

 
 
 

illegal orchids or orchid smuggling.....

Post by Ray » Thu, 17 Nov 2005 19:50:32


I spoke at a SOOS meeting this last Spring, and heard all kinds of stories
about the return from France.  Apparently it was a specific individual or
group in a single point-of-entry that was the issue.  Folks entering through
other airports breezed through.

--

Ray Barkalow - First Rays Orchids - www.firstrays.com
Plants, Supplies, Artwork, Books and Lots of Free Info!


Quote:
> Since you are in Canada, this might be of interest:
> http://www.bedfordorchids.com/cfia.htm

> It is an article posted by the Canadian orchid vendor Bedford Orchids
> describing the beaurocratic incompetence of Toronto officials dealing with
> orchids legally imported into Canada after the World Orchid Conference
> that
> took place in Dijon, France in March 2005. While not precisely on illegal
> orchid smuggling, this article is related in that it shows some of the
> beaurocracy that can be in place to try to legally control orchid imports.

> The article ends on the intriguing statement "I have now found out that
> every single orchid plant declared in Toronto was detained. Every plant
> smuggled in was not found. Is Judy Smith and her petty officious nature
> CFIA
> 's new incentive to smuggle?" I assume that the author is just assuming
> that
> someone did smuggle in some orchids (?). Of course, the article is written
> from one point of view, and you might want to double-check the facts if
> you
> can find other articles on this matter -- vendors who are interested in
> imported orchids are not very objective observers of CITES enforcement
> officials. :-)

> In general you will probably find a lot of bias on this subject, and it
> may
> be difficult to sort out who is guilty/innocent, right/wrong,
> just-enforcing-laws/obstructing-imports. I do not know whether Mr. Norris
> for example was really guilty or innocent, what I do know is that a lot of
> the posts to orchid groups on this subject were written by people who
> sympathized with him -- was it because he was innocent? was it because
> they
> were his friends? was it because they in general think that CITES laws are
> unreasonable (a lot of people who are into orchids believe that these laws
> are quite stupid to begin with and then enforced incorrectly by officials
> who do not know enough about orchids)? I do not know, but if I were
> researching this subject, I would be very careful to double-check the
> sources, and keep in mind that the authors of any info I read may be
> biased -- this of course would apply to both sides, since those who
> ardently
> claimed that Mr. Norris was guilty may well have been his competitors or
> people with a grudge or people who are strong supporters of CITES
> regulations and wanted a conviction as a deterrent to orchid smuggling
> (?).
> As I said, I do not know the truth in the matter, but I know that many
> people in the orchid communities feel very strongly about it.

> Joanna



>> Hey All!

>> Workinng on a Case Study of Illegal Orchid Smugglings for a school
>> project. Anyone have any first hand experiences with this? I would be
>> interested to hear anyones experiences in dealing with underground
>> Orchids. Confidentiality is assured. Would be up for either email
>> correspondence and/or a quick telephone chat.

>> I'm in Canada - but you could be wherever!
>> Drop me a line at fergusonwoods AT hotmail DOT com if you're
>> interested!

>> Thanks!

 
 
 

illegal orchids or orchid smuggling.....

Post by J Fortun » Thu, 17 Nov 2005 21:46:32


You might also find the following book a worthwhile read:

Orchid Fever : A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust, and Lunacy
by Eric Hansen

Not all of the book is about orchid smuggling, but some of it is. In
general, this is a book about how crazy people can get over orchids. One of
the stories on orchid smuggling mentioned in this book talks of a case where
some orchid grower in Europe (Britain I think) reported another orchid
grower (his competitor?) to law enforcement for owning illegally smuggled
orchids. The law enforcement officials raided the guy's greenhouse,
confiscated the orchids, and then gave them to the informant to take care of
(since he knew how to take care of orchids, and the officials did not have
another greenhouse etc. available)!

--------

Another part of the issue you may be interested in is that one way for
orchid species that are illegal in the U.S. to become legally available is
that plants that are confiscated from someone who smuggled them in (and thus
illegal ones) are then propagated and the divisions or seedlings of those
orchids are then legal in the U.S.. An example of that is legally available
paph vietnamense in the U.S., which are then provided with paperwork that
can trace them legally to plants that were confiscated.

Joanna


Quote:
> Since you are in Canada, this might be of interest:
> http://www.bedfordorchids.com/cfia.htm

> It is an article posted by the Canadian orchid vendor Bedford Orchids
> describing the beaurocratic incompetence of Toronto officials dealing with
> orchids legally imported into Canada after the World Orchid Conference
that
> took place in Dijon, France in March 2005. While not precisely on illegal
> orchid smuggling, this article is related in that it shows some of the
> beaurocracy that can be in place to try to legally control orchid imports.

> The article ends on the intriguing statement "I have now found out that
> every single orchid plant declared in Toronto was detained. Every plant
> smuggled in was not found. Is Judy Smith and her petty officious nature
CFIA
> 's new incentive to smuggle?" I assume that the author is just assuming
that
> someone did smuggle in some orchids (?). Of course, the article is written
> from one point of view, and you might want to double-check the facts if
you
> can find other articles on this matter -- vendors who are interested in
> imported orchids are not very objective observers of CITES enforcement
> officials. :-)

> In general you will probably find a lot of bias on this subject, and it
may
> be difficult to sort out who is guilty/innocent, right/wrong,
> just-enforcing-laws/obstructing-imports. I do not know whether Mr. Norris
> for example was really guilty or innocent, what I do know is that a lot of
> the posts to orchid groups on this subject were written by people who
> sympathized with him -- was it because he was innocent? was it because
they
> were his friends? was it because they in general think that CITES laws are
> unreasonable (a lot of people who are into orchids believe that these laws
> are quite stupid to begin with and then enforced incorrectly by officials
> who do not know enough about orchids)? I do not know, but if I were
> researching this subject, I would be very careful to double-check the
> sources, and keep in mind that the authors of any info I read may be
> biased -- this of course would apply to both sides, since those who
ardently
> claimed that Mr. Norris was guilty may well have been his competitors or
> people with a grudge or people who are strong supporters of CITES
> regulations and wanted a conviction as a deterrent to orchid smuggling
(?).
> As I said, I do not know the truth in the matter, but I know that many
> people in the orchid communities feel very strongly about it.

> Joanna



> > Hey All!

> > Workinng on a Case Study of Illegal Orchid Smugglings for a school
> > project. Anyone have any first hand experiences with this? I would be
> > interested to hear anyones experiences in dealing with underground
> > Orchids. Confidentiality is assured. Would be up for either email
> > correspondence and/or a quick telephone chat.

> > I'm in Canada - but you could be wherever!
> > Drop me a line at fergusonwoods AT hotmail DOT com if you're
> > interested!

> > Thanks!