Middleburg Retailer Jailed For Import Violations

An Upperville man was sentenced March 8 to serve 30 days in prison and one year of supervised release for selling endangered species and other wildlife parts that were illegally imported into the United States.

According to court documents, Keith R. Foster, 60, is a golf course architect who also operated a store in Middleburg known as “The Outpost.” Between 2014 and 2018, Foster imported at least 35 shipments of merchandise for resale at the Outpost, some of which contained wildlife and wildlife parts, but he failed to declare any of the wildlife within those shipments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service upon import, as required by law.

To conceal the existence of wildlife pieces in the shipments and evade detection by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, he caused many pieces to be labeled in a manner that obscured their true nature. Foster then sold at his store the wildlife pieces that he illegally imported.

During the five-year period, Foster sold nearly $400,000 worth of items that constituted or contained parts of endangered species and other wildlife that he illegally imported into the United States. These included Endangered Species Act items such as sawfish blades, crocodile skin bags, wallets and flasks, and handicrafts made of sea turtle shell.

Among the evidence used to secure the conviction was a telephone call with a customer in January 2017, when Foster admitted that he should not be importing sawfish blades. Foster stated, “Rest assured, I’m gonna bring more in, ‘cause I’m the only fool in the States that probably wants to risk it.”

In December, Foster was ordered to perform community service and forfeit scores of individual pieces of wildlife and wildlife parts, and ordered to forfeit $275,000.

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