Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Rhino horn smuggling ringleader jailed for 70 months

Wildlife trafficker Zhifei Li has been sentenced to 70 months in prison for his role in trafficking 30 rhinoceros horns and numerous other rhino horn and elephant ivory artifacts from the US to China. The sentence is one of the longest ever handed out in the US for wildlife crime.

Zhifei Li, who owns an antique business called Overseas Treasure Finding in Shandong, China, admitted he was the “boss” of three antique dealers in the US whom he paid to obtain wildlife items and smuggle them to him via Hong Kong.

His arrest in January 2013 happened when he was caught purchasing two endangered black rhinoceros horns from an undercover US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) agent during “Operation Crash”. This was a US nationwide effort led by the USFWS and the Justice Department to investigate and prosecute those involved in the illegal wildlife trade.

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