A federal wildlife inspector and two others pleaded innocent Monday to charges that they illegally imported more than 50,000 exotic South American reptiles protected by international law.
In what officials said is the first corruption case ever brought against a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service inspector, Daniel Gus Noether, 38, of Lakewood, is charged with taking $40,000 in bribes from three Southern California wildlife dealers to allow the reptiles into the country during 1986.
Pleading innocent in federal court in Los Angeles with Noether were wholesalers Steven Michael Lundblad, 37, of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, Christine Paula Roscher, 35, and her husband, Axel Joachim Roscher, 42, both of Los Angeles. All the defendants face trial March 22 before U.S. District Judge Mariana Pfaelzer.
Another defendant, Miguel Angel Campo Sr., 47, remains a fugitive.