A guilty plea hearing scheduled today was delayed until June 6 for a man who arrived at Los Angeles International Airport with more than 1,000 dried insects in his luggage including 150 endangered
butterflies. Alexander Bic, 25, has agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge of violating the U.S. Endangered Species Act in connection with the attempt to import Ornithoptera or birdwing butterflies into the United States, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The charge carries a possible federal prison sentence of up to 20 years, but Bic is expected to receive a probationary sentence. U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez asked attorneys for more information before he accepts Bic’s guilty plea and sentences the Irvine
native. The vividly colored specimens were found by customs officers April 7, 2015, at LAX, as Bic and his wife were returning from a trip to Japan, according to documents filed in Los Angeles federal court. Bic’s wife was not charged. The dried and folded 5-inch butterflies from New Guinea were found among eight boxes of dead insects discovered in Bic’s carry-on and checked baggage, the document states. Bic operates an Internet mail-order business in which he sells pinned and framed insect specimens to customers throughout the world. The endangered birdwing species sells for upward of $100, prosecutors said.