A man was sentenced to two years in federal prison for stealing $150,000 worth of succulents from state parks and trying to illegally export them.
According to KTLA, 46-year-old Byungsu Kim was also ordered to pay $3,985 in restitution to the State of California to help cover the costs of replanting the stolen succulents from parks in Northern California.
According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Kim along with Youngin Back, 47, and Bong Jun Kim, 46, drove from Los Angeles International Airport to Crescent City, California in October of 2018.
From October 14 to October 16, 2018, the three harvested numerous Dudleya plants from Demartin State Beach in Klamath and from Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park.
Kim reportedly had internet searched "poaching succulents" and "Dudleya." He had also read a press release regarding the arrest and convictions of three other Dudleya poachers.
According to federal authorities, Dudleya plants from coastal areas of Northern California are extremely valuable in Asian countries.
“[Kim’s] willful criminal conduct in October 2019 was not an isolated event: he had carried out the same scheme repeatedly in California,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “[Kim] had traveled to the United States more than 50 times since 2009. Customs records show that he was traveling for succulent-related purposes and often with tens of thousands of dollars in cash (sometimes declared, sometimes not) and fake phytosanitary certificates.”