Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers arrested a Chipley restaurant owner and booked him into the Washington County Jail on charges of illegally buying deer and alligator carcasses through his restaurant.
The suspect, Sang Ba Nguyen, faces 20 misdemeanor counts of purchasing 18 white-tailed deer and two alligator carcasses. Florida law prohibits sale of native deer meat or alligator meat, except in a tightly regulated alligator harvest.
Nguyen, who also goes by the name of “Filang or Fila,” took delivery of the deer and alligator meat at his China Garden Restaurant and then allegedly resold the meat to Asian buyers in Bay, Walton, Okaloosa and Escambia Counties over the past six months.
Lt. Doug Berryman said investigators received information that Nguyen purchased 50 white-tailed deer from people in and around Washington County during the 2004-05 hunting season. He said investigators believe those deer were transported to New Orleans and sold, but that market vanished after Hurricane Katrina.
Witnesses say Nguyen processed the deer and alligator carcasses on the floor in the back of his restaurant then regularly made deliveries of the meat to Panama City, Destin, Ft. Walton Beach and Pensacola.