Man convicted for buying protected animals

March 3, 2012 at 5:18 PM

MIAMI, March 3 (UPI) -- A Miami artist who cobbled taxidermied animals together to create fantastic mutations was convicted for illegal trafficking in endangered species.

Gomez De Molina, 48, was sentenced in federal court Friday to 20 months in prison, a $6,000 fine and a year of probation following his release. Prosecutors said he imported countless carcasses of exotic animals from Bali and India between 2009 and 2011. De Molina's attorney said he was "extremely remorseful and apologetic," The Miami Herald reported.

Investigators found e-mails that showed De Molina explicitly requesting rare animals that appeared to be killed just for his use. In one such exchange, he backed out of a deal: "about the hornbill i hate to say yes because it looks so young and some ones pet. no I don't want you to kill it for me."

De Molina's says his work was inspired by his father, who was a taxidermist for the Miami Museum of Science. De Molina's creations, which created new species from the fur, feathers, skins and skulls of various animals, sold for as much as $80,000 a piece.

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