SAN DIEGO — Federal prosecutors say a California man has pleaded guilty to illegally importing $3 million of abalone from Mexico.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego says Yon Pon Wong admitted in court Wednesday that he imported the hard-to-find mollusks using falsified commercial invoices.

Wong agreed to forfeit $500,000 in proceeds as part of his plea.

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 (67,500 kilograms) overall.

Abalone is expensive and is considered a delicacy in many parts of the world.

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