KEYWEST -- A 20-year-old Eagle man faces up to 20 years in prison for his role in a legal scandal that rocked the Idaho Aquarium last February.
Peter Covino, IV, was found guilty of obstruction of justice during a jury trial in Key West, Florida Thursday.
Federal prosecutors say Covino faced the charge for his role in covering up the illegal purchase of marine life that took place at a business in the Florida Keys last winter.
In that case, Idaho Aquarium President Ammon Covino, 39, of Meridian was arrested on February 26 after a raid on the Idaho Aquarium. Ammon Covino was later charged with knowingly buying several spotted eagle rays and lemon sharks from the Florida business without the required permits.
According to court testimony presented and case documents, the younger Covino made two phone calls in February of 2013 asking the business owners to erase all the text messages, and emails, or any other evidence linking the business to Ammon Covino, his uncle.
What Covino didn't know, however; was that his phone conversations were being recorded by the business in the Florida Keys. Prosecutors say that business was cooperating with federal officials to expose the illegal sale.
During his trial testimony, Peter Covino admitted that he made the calls at the direction of Ammon Covino, according to court documents.
Covino now faces a possible sentence of up to 20 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to three years. United States District Judge Jose E. Martinez, who presided over the trial, set sentencing in this matter for September 24, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. in the Key West Courthouse.