Two-Time Sea Turtle Poacher Bruce Bivins Sentenced

For some old-timers in Riviera Beach, the start of any date out with your woman begins with sea turtle eggs. You poach them, sprinkle salt on their papery skin, and then eat the aphrodisiacs in one bite. Back when I first wrote about that nasty habit back in 2002, cops told me Bruce Bivins was the man to see when you wanted eggs. And Bivins is finally going to prison for it.

Bivins history with sea turtle eggs goes back to at least 1997, when cops caught him and anther guy on the beach with a bag of 610 sea turtle eggs. Bivins got off with just probation.

But on May 8, Palm Beach Police pulled over someone just after midnight who said he had just dropped someone

off near the beach. The driver said the man had offered him $10 and some crack if he'd drop him off. Cops found 53-year-old Bivins just before 1 a.m. on the Southern Boulevard Causeway. He had a bag of 119 loggerhead turtle eggs.

When cops went through the bag, they noticed half the eggs had no sand on them. That means Bivins likely dug up nests to collect half the eggs and then spotted a turtle laying eggs in a new nests. The eggs with no sand on them were ones that had likely just been laid.

Cops estimated Bivins could've gotten $3 per egg, or $357. Instead, U.S. District Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks sentenced Bivins on Monday. on a charge of intent to distribute sea turtle eggs. Typically, such a charge means 10 or 12 months in federal prison. But because of that 1997, when Bivins walked, the judge gave him one of the harsher sentences for sea turtle egg poaching: two years in federal prison.

For more on Bivins, click here to read his federal criminal complaint.

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