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John Laroche

John Edward Laroche (born 19 February 1962 in Florida) is an American horticulturalist who was arrested for alleged orchid poaching while working for the Seminole in the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve in Florida.[1] The subsequent trial brought him to the attention of Susan Orlean who wrote an article for New Yorker[2] and the book The Orchid Thief about him.[1]

Laroche's defense was a loophole in the law that he claimed allowed the Seminole Indians to remove endangered species from the swamp.[2] He accepted a plea deal that resulted in him being sentenced to six months' probation and a fine.[2] "I figured that we'd get what we needed out of the Fakahatchee and at the same time we'd bring so much attention to the law that the legislature would change it. I timed it so that it would be in time for the legislative session. That's what I want to say in court. I want to say that the state needs to protect itself."[2]

A fictionalized version of him was played by Chris Cooper in the film Adaptation.,[3] a portrayal that earned Cooper an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.


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