A South Korean man who traveled around the world stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of plants to smuggle to Asia was jailed in the United States on Thursday.
Kim Byung-su admitted digging up 150,000 dollars worth of Dudleya succulents from
remote parks in California.
The plant, which grows in bud-like circles and resembles an artichoke, is native to the rugged coastlines of Oregon and northern California.
It is popular in East Asia, where it is used for decoration.
In 2018, Kim, with the help of accomplices, swiped thousands of the succulents from several state parks and boxed them up for shipment, claiming they were purchased legally in San Diego.
But the shipment was intercepted and Kim was arrested and his passport seized.
However, he later convinced the South Korean consulate to issue a new document, claiming his original had been lost.
Kim fled abroad but was arrested and convicted in South Africa for illegally harvesting plants native to that country for export to Asia.
Prosecutors who extradited Kim in 2020 said his raid on California's flora was not an isolated incident, and that he had traveled to the U.S. more than 50 times.
Kim admitted to one count of attempting to export plants taken in violation of state law.
A court in Los Angeles handed him a two-year prison sentence.
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