He allegedly owned and operated a business that specialized in selling rare and exotic freshwater tropical fish species.

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A man in Pittsburgh has been charged with trafficking endangered and invasive fish.

According to court paperwork, Anthony Nguyen, who is also known as JoJo Nguyen or Jackie Lee, was charged in a three-count indictment for violating the Lacey Act.

The U.S. Department of Justice says he owned and operated a Pittsburgh business that specialized in selling rare and exotic freshwater tropical fish species.

Nguyen is accused of trafficking in endangered Asian arowana — which, according to court paperwork, is considered the most expensive freshwater fish, often selling for tens of thousands of dollars — in 2016 and invasive snakehead fish in 2019.

(Photo Credit: Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission)

“Snakeheads present a serious risk to our native ecosystems,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jonathan D. Brightbill for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division in a press release.

“These fish are prohibited for a reason. They are voracious predators, can live out of water for days, can move across land, and can wipe out the native species that inhabit freshwaters of the United States.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement is leading the investigation.