Eugene man pleads guilty to illegally importing, mailing hundreds of live scorpions

A Eugene man pleaded guilty to illegally importing and mailing live scorpions by the hundreds between September 2017 and March 2018.

A Eugene man pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to illegally importing and exporting hundreds of live scorpions, sending and receiving them from Germany and within the U.S.

The defendant, Darren Dennis Drake, 39, imported and exported dozens scorpions between Sept. 4, 2017, and March 21, 2018, sending them to contacts in Germany without first obtaining an import-export license from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to the Department of Justice. One of Drake's scorpion parcels intercepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection was falsely labeled as "chocolates," the DOJ said.

Drake also mailed 200 live scorpions to Michigan and received some from Texas, court documents show, violating federal mailing laws. At one point, he mailed 508.05 euros to someone in Germany for an order of scorpions, court documents show. He was charged Feb. 23 with conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, a law implemented in 1900 that bans trafficking fish, wildlife or plants that are illegally taken, possessed, transported or sold.

The crime is a federal misdemeanor, and punishment can reach a maximum of one year in prison, a $100,000 fine and three years of supervised release. Drake will be sentenced June 22 before U.S. District Court Judge Ann L. Aiken.

This case was investigated by the Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement, with assistance from Customs and Border Patrol, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. To report other wildlife crime, you can call Fish and Wildlife Service at 1-844-FWS-TIPS (1-844-397-8477) or email

Louis Krauss covers breaking news for The Register-Guard. Contact him at, and follow him on Twitter @LouisKraussNews.

This article originally appeared on Register-Guard: Eugene man pleads guilty to illegally mailing hundreds of scorpions