- Associated Press - Thursday, October 8, 2015

SAN DIEGO (AP) - A Los Angeles man has pleaded not guilty to smuggling swim bladders from an endangered Mexican fish into the United States.

Federal prosecutors say Byung Kim entered the plea Thursday in San Diego to conspiracy, smuggling and unlawful importation of wildlife. He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Authorities claim Kim conspired to import some 300 swim bladders from the Totoaba (Toh-TWAH’-buh), which lives in the Gulf of Mexico and is on U.S. and international endangered species lists.

The fish can grow to more than 6 ½ feet in length and live up to 25 years. Federal officials say its bladder can bring up to $20,000 in Asia, where it’s prized as food and medicine.

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