Friday, 20 July 2012

Two convicted for selling ivory in New York

Seized Ivory Valued at More than $2 Million Retail
July 2012. Two ivory dealers have pleaded guilty to selling and offering for sale illegal elephant ivory with a retail value of more than $2 million. Mukesh Gupta, 67, pled guilty to one count of Illegal Commercialization of Wildlife. Gupta's company, Raja Jewels, pled guilty to two counts of Illegal Commercialization of Wildlife. Johnson Jung-Chien Lu, 56, and his company, New York Jewerly Mart Corp., each pled guilty to one count of Illegal Commercialization of Wildlife.
Poachers should not have a market in Manhattan
"Poachers should not have a market in Manhattan," said District Attorney Vance. "It is unacceptable that tusks from elephants wind up being sold as mass-produced jewellery and unremarkable decorative items in this city. Despite efforts to protect populations of endangered and threatened species, poachers are pushing them to the brink of extinction.
This is an international problem that requires local solutions. In order to curb the poaching of elephants in Africa and Asia, we need to curb the demand side of the illegal ivory trade right here at home. Today's cases are a small, but important, step in protecting endangered and threatened elephant species. This investigation is part of an ongoing and focused effort by my Office to combat environmental crimes and clamp down on the illegal ivory underground marketplace, which fuels the international poaching crisis."
Neil Mendelsohn, Acting Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Northeast Region, said: "This case shines a spotlight on the plight of the African elephant and the ongoing efforts within the law enforcement community to control illegal trade of elephant ivory. Today, we mark a success in our cooperative efforts with the State and the Manhattan
District Attorney's Office to stop ivory trafficking in New York City." DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said: "The cooperative efforts of DEC's Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Manhattan District Attorney's Office uncovered the illegal activity of trafficking elephant ivory, and in doing so, prevented more than $2 million worth of illegal ivory from entering the market place in violation of State law. As an endangered species, the existence of elephants is threatened whenever opportunists kill them recklessly for their valuable ivory. DEC will not tolerate the illegal commercialization of wildlife for personal gain."

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