Paddlefish have been in high demand as world supplies of caviar dwindle.

Paddlefish have been in high demand as world supplies of caviar dwindle.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The U. S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri has announced the guilty plea of an Illinois man for illegally trafficking in paddlefish.

Fedor Pakhnyuk, 41, of Hinsdale, Ill. entered a guilty plea Thursday, August 14, 2015 to trafficking in paddlefish and paddlefish eggs which violated the Lacey Act. That act is a federal statute that prohibits any person from importing, exporting, transporting, selling, receiving or acquiring fish that were taken in violation of any state.

According to the report Pakhnyuk traveled to Missouri in early 2010 and spoke with undercover agents about caviar and gave them samples that he had made. From 2010 through April 2012 the defendant was seen in the area of the roadhouse dock in Warsaw, Mo. talking with fisherman and covert agents frequently.

Those conversations focused on the procurement of paddlefish eggs for the production of 72 quarts of finished caviar.

Pakhnyuk was arrested in late April of 2012 after transporting 40 jars of caviar back to Illinois.

Under federal statutes Pakhnyuk is subject to a prison sentence of up to 5 years without parole and fines totaling $250,000. Sentencing will be held at a later date following a pre-sentence investigation.