Two managers of a Asian grocery in Falls Church will likely stand trial for allegedly selling wildlife illegally after a Fairfax County judge denied their motion to have the charges dismissed Friday.
State game officers conducted an unusual undercover sting on the popular Great Wall Supermarket last spring, seizing turtles, eels, crayfish, bullfrogs and more from the seafood counter.
Two managers were charged with felonies, since the animals are classified as wildlife and are banned from sale under an anti-poaching law. The tip for the sting came from a conservationist. The charges have since been reduced to misdemeanors.
The managers believe the concern is misguided, since the animals are farm raised and not endangered. They also say the state law criminalizes the sale of fare that is traditional in Asian communities.
On Friday, defense attorney John E. Carter argued that the state law the managers were charged under is preempted by federal laws promoting acquaculture. Assistant Commonwealth Attorney J. David Gardy argued there was no such conflict.
Circuit Court Judge Marcus D. Williams sided with the state. The managers are scheduled to stand trial on April 11.