SAN DIEGO — A New York state restaurant owner has pleaded guilty to conspiracy in San Diego after authorities say he tried to smuggle 250 pounds of protected sea species into the United States.
Alan Ren of Northport entered the federal plea on Friday.
Prosecutors say Ren, who owns two Chinese restaurants, drove into the U.S. from Mexico last year with frozen black abalone and sea cucumbers hidden in suitcases and a plastic bag.
Black abalone is an endangered species and the type of sea cucumber Ren was carrying has international protection. Permits are needed to import them to the U.S.
A co-defendant from Taiwan, Wei Wei Wang, is awaiting trial.