Michigan

Turtle smuggler from Canada faces sentence in US court

In a photo provided by the U.S. Attorney's office, a smuggled turtle is seen next to a ruler. A Canadian man who repeatedly entered Michigan to buy and ship thousands of turtles to his native China was sentenced to nearly five years in federal prison Tuesday, April 12, 2016 for smuggling. It was a tough punishment for Kai Xu, who has been locked up for 19 months since his arrest and had hoped to be released. The 27-year-old expressed remorse to a judge and thanked agents "for stopping the darkness of my greed and ignorance." (U.S. Attorney's Office via AP)

In a photo provided by the U.S. Attorney's office, a smuggled turtle is seen next to a ruler. A Canadian man who repeatedly entered Michigan to buy and ship thousands of turtles to his native China was sentenced to nearly five years in federal prison Tuesday, April 12, 2016 for smuggling. It was a tough punishment for Kai Xu, who has been locked up for 19 months since his arrest and had hoped to be released. The 27-year-old expressed remorse to a judge and thanked agents "for stopping the darkness of my greed and ignorance." (U.S. Attorney's Office via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Prosecutors in Michigan are seeking a five-year prison sentence for a Canadian man who says he smuggled more than 1,000 turtles to China to help pay for his college education.

Kai Xu is returning to Ann Arbor federal court Tuesday. He has pleaded guilty and says his crime was a "shameful" effort to relieve the financial burden on his parents.

In 2014, he was caught at the Ontario, Canada, border with 51 turtles taped to his legs. The government says he shipped turtles to China from Canada and the U.S., or hired someone to fly to China from the U.S. with turtles in luggage.

Xu has been in custody for 19 months and hopes to avoid more time behind bars. He was a student at the University of Waterloo in Ontario.