The two men were arrested after a sting operation conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Seattle, Washington that also resulted in the seizure of 2 tons of contraband elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn valued at more than $12 million dollars.
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In the United States, the trade in African elephant ivory is prohibited. The product is nearly completely banned, and trading in such things is governed by an international convention. Outside of Seattle, police apprehended two people. They were from the Democratic Republic of Congo and were engaged in ivory and white rhinoceros horn trading with the US. The arrest happened only a few weeks ago. Prosecutors claimed that they planned to ship more of these things. Those who are involved in such activities typically do it for monetary gain.
NBC News has further information.
Both males are in their twenties and thirties. Smuggling, money laundering, and Lacey Act crimes are among the allegations leveled against them. The last charge is for supplying erroneous shipping information. This is confirmed by the Justice Department. To escape discovery, the guys sought to disguise the things. It seems that the elephant ivory and rhino horn were first chopped into smaller pieces. After that, they painted them black and stored them in a box made of black wood. In December 2016, China banned the trade in ivory, thereby putting an end to elephant poaching.
Ivory and rhino horn trade depletes animal populations.
Elephant ivory and rhino horn are traded illegally. Poachers kill the animals and take the elephants’ tusks and rhinoceros’ horns.
As a result, their population decreases. It is inhumane to kill elephants for ivory. People Pachyderm rides through the forests attract visitors from all over the world. Groups of unscrupulous individuals, on the other hand, are murdering them for their tusks. Two of them are being held in Seattle police custody. According to NBC News, these guys allegedly paid bribes to authorities in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s capital.
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They arranged for the items to be sent out of the country. It was a massive shipment with the United States as its final destination. Authorities in Central Park, New York, crushed millions of dollars worth of ivory into powder in August 2017.
There are also pangolin scales, as well as ivory and rhino horn.
The use of an intermediary is mentioned by NBC News.
To connect buyers, he utilized internet profiles. The investigation is being carried out by undercover US agents. “The inquiry is underway,” the Justice Department confirmed. In Kinshasa, it seems that a task force in the Democratic Republic of Congo captured substantial quantities of ivory as well as pangolin scales. There was also white rhino horn for sale. In certain areas of the globe, there is a demand for these products, and unscrupulous people take advantage of it to fill their wallets. These creatures are listed as “near threatened” by the World Wildlife Fund. Seizure is estimated to be worth $3.5 million. In this case, the US detained two guys, who have pleaded not guilty. Despite attempts by several African governments to relax the restriction on ivory sales, according to a report from August 2019, the ban on ivory sales remains in place.
Elephant ivory and rhino horns are allegedly being smuggled.
A federal grand jury indicted a pair of foreign individuals from the Democratic Republic of Congo on multiple crimes, according to AP News. Conspiracy, money laundering, and smuggling ivory and rhino horns into the nation are among the charges. They were engaged in smuggling the poached products into Seattle in 2020 and were apprehended Nov. 2 in Edmonds while negotiating more shipments. This is revealed by the Department of Homeland Security. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna was broken by these shipments. This is an international pact that aims to safeguard plants and animals that are on the verge of extinction.
Officials believe that Washington has been a hub for transporting illicit animal parts. This might be due to the fact that it is a major traffic center on the West Coast and is near to Asia, where such things are in great demand.
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