3 Colorado men plead guilty to trafficking in paddlefish

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An immature paddlefish swimming (Courtesy MO Dept. of Conservation)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Three Colorado men have pleaded guilty to federal charges accusing them of illegally trafficking in paddlefish in Missouri.

Federal prosecutors in Kansas City said in a release Monday that the three men were arrested as part of an undercover operation in Warsaw, Missouri.

The prosecutor’s office says 54-year-old Arkadiy Lvovskiy, of Aurora, Colorado, and 49-year-old Dmitri Elitchev, of Centennial, Colorado, pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to illegally traffic in paddlefish and paddlefish eggs. Forty-eight-year-old Artour Magdessian, of Lone Tree, Colorado, pleaded guilty to trafficking in paddlefish and paddlefish eggs.

Federal authorities say federal law protects Missouri’s paddlefish, which have been over-fished. The retail value of the paddlefish caviar in the case was estimated between $30,000 and $50,000.

Sentencing hasn’t been scheduled.