didn't quite know what to do with the man standing before him Saturday night, his
backpack filled to the brim with 114 turtle eggs he'd allegedly collected from the beaches of Hilton Head Island Plantation.O'Quinn, a law enforcement officer for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, has dealt with a staggering variety of criminals in his career, from drug-dealers to shrimpers plying their trade out of season.
But a turtle egg poacher?That was a new one."This is the first case I've had like this," O'Quinn
charged him with 114 counts of illegally possessing an endangered animal -- the Atlantic Loggerhead sea turtle.Disturbing the eggs is punishable by state and federal fines and jail time.O'Quinn
believes Craig was collecting the eggs for sale in native islander bars as aphrodisiacs.
After consulting superiors, O'Quinn
decided to charge Craig with violating the federal law.
believes the federal punishments have to be at least as stiff.What's more, O'Quinn
said, the federal felony does not require selection of a jury; a state trial would.According to O'Quinn, Craig was detained by Hilton Head Plantation security officer Don Lagomarsino at about 11:30 p.m. after two residents called to report a stranger banging on their windows.
said Craig told the security officer the backpack "was holding nothing but turtle eggs."
Many eggs broke in the backpack, O'Quinn
said.The others were away from the nest for too many hours to be put back.O'Quinn
has sent the eggs to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife lab in Charleston for analysis, where experts will be able to tell for sure if the eggs indeed come from the endangered turtles.