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Walter and Lila Bloecker, Pompano Beach, Florida Aquarium Managers, Arrested for Animal Trafficking

Walter and Lila Bloecker, Pompano Beach, Florida aquarium managers, were arrested recently after they were accused of attempting to sell illegally caught nurse sharks to an out-of-state buyer, news sources say. The couple was booked into the Broward County Main Jail on unspecified charges. It is unclear whether they qualified for bail bond or hired an attorney.

According to reports, Walter Bloecker is a manager at Aquatic Trading in Pompano Beach; his wife, Lila Bloecker, is listed as an employee. The aquatic trading company offers customers a variety of freshly caught and imported sea creatures, including crustaceans, shellfish, sea anemones, and sharks. The company’s website advertises “daily arrivals coming in from our own back yard [in] Pompano Beach, Florida.” So far, Aquatic Trading has not commented on the situation.

Reports say the couple attempted to sell 10 nurse sharks that had been illegally captured by divers in the Florida Keys. The couple was allegedly going to sell the sharks for $2,500 to a person in Michigan. As part of the scheme, reports say Bloecker intended to falsify documentation to make it appear as if the sharks had been legally imported from Nicaragua.

The company website claims the duo has attained a “Shark Dealer Fisheries Permits from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.” During an investigation, however, detectives say they discovered that neither of the defendants possesses a license to sell sharks.

A further investigation reportedly revealed that the couple had tried to sell illegally caught angelfish as well. It is unclear where those angelfish originated from or for what amount the defendants tried to sell them. Police may still be conducting an investigation and may locate additional instances of illegal animal trafficking at the business, sources indicate.

In other news, Jarrod Indik and Elizabeth Indik of Davie, Florida were arrested Tuesday after they allegedly locked their four dogs in a vehicle for several hours under the hot Florida sun. The duo was booked into the Broward County Jail on charges of animal cruelty. It is unclear whether they qualified bail or hired legal representation.

According to reports, at around 7:00 Tuesday morning, the Indiks went to the Nova Southeastern University campus in Davie with their four dogs in their vehicle. At some point, their 2009 Volkswagen broke down, sources say. The couple parked the car in the campus parking lot, all of the windows, including the sunroof window, slightly, locked up the vehicle with the dogs inside, and left to find a phone.

At 1:35 p.m., a campus attendant found the Volkswagen with the dogs trapped inside and called police. Officers arrived on the scene and inspected the animals through the window. A police report says the animals were panting and had no access to food or water. Elizabeth returned to the scene after officers arrived, but did not have a key to open the car. She told officers that her husband was attempting to call a tow truck. Jarrod arrived sometime later and let the animals out of the car. The dogs do not appear to have been injured in the incident.

Sources: 4.15.13 Bloecker Animal Trafficking.pdf, 4.16.13 Indik Animal Cruelty.pdf.

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