Hunting News

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

California Man Sentenced to One Year in Prison for Illegal Sale of Black Rhinoceros Horns



Lumsden W. Quan, 47, an art dealer from San Francisco, California, was sentenced today in federal court in Las Vegas, Nevada, to one year and two days in prison for conspiracy to violate the Lacey and Endangered Species Acts and to a violation of the Lacey Act for knowingly selling black rhinoceros horns to an undercover agent from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).  Quan was also sentenced to three years of supervised release to follow his prison sentence, pay a $10,000 fine and a three year ban on work in the art and antique business.

Quan, was arrested in March 2014 as part of “Operation Crash,” a nation-wide crackdown in the illegal trafficking of rhinoceros horns, for his role in a conspiracy to knowingly sell black rhinoceros horns across state lines.  In pleading guilty, Quan admitted to working with his co-defendant, Edward N. Levine, to transport two horns from California to Nevada, where they sold them to an undercover agent from Colorado for a sum of $55,000.  Levine, also charged in the indictment, remains scheduled for trial on March 7, 2016, in Las Vegas.  The charges in an indictment are merely allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

“Wildlife trafficking has become an extremely profitable type of transnational organized crime and illicit transactions like this are fueling a global market and leading us closer to a day when rhinoceroses, elephants and countless other species are extinguished from the earth,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.  “The Justice Department is committed to working through our law enforcement and international partners to reverse this disturbing trend.”

“Prosecuting individuals who profit from the destruction of an ancient endangered species is critical to stopping the illegal ivory trade’” said U.S. Attorney Dan Bogden.  “There are no excuses for this type of crime.  Considering the devastating impact on an endangered species, the offenders should be dealt with appropriately and punished in the criminal justice system.” 

“Illegal trafficking in rhino horn threatens to reverse decades of rhino conservation work in Africa and Asia, driving rhinos to the brink of extinction in the wild,” said Director Dan Ashe of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  “Today’s sentencing demonstrates that the United States takes wildlife trafficking very seriously and we will do everything possible to identify and disrupt smuggling operations and hold perpetrators responsible.  I’m very proud of the work of the Office of Law Enforcement for their continued diligence in bringing these criminals to justice.”

Operation Crash is a continuing investigation being conducted by USFWS in coordination with other federal and local law enforcement agencies.  A “crash” is the term for a herd of rhinoceros.  Operation Crash is an ongoing effort to detect, deter and prosecute those engaged in the illegal killing of rhinoceros and the unlawful trafficking of rhinoceros horns.  As of November 2015, the coordinated efforts of Operation Crash has prosecuted and sentenced nearly 22 subjects and received forfeiture and restitution amounts totaling $5.5 million.

The black rhinoceros is an herbivore species of prehistoric origin and one of the largest remaining mega-fauna on earth.  They have no known predators other than humans.  All species of rhinoceros are protected under U.S. and international law, including the Endangered Species Act.  Since 1976, trade in rhinoceros horn has been regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), a treaty signed by over 180 countries around the world to protect fish, wildlife and plants that are or may become imperiled due to the demands of international markets.

The investigation was handled by the USFWS’s Office of Law Enforcement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada and the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section.  The government is represented by Trial Attorneys Jennifer Blackwell and Ryan Connors, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Newman and paralegal Amanda Backer.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Antiques Dealer Sentenced in Manhattan to Two Years in Prison for Smuggling Cups Made from Rhinoceros Horns



 Canadian Banned from Dealing in Wildlife

Linxun Liao, 35, a citizen of Canada, was sentenced yesterday in Manhattan federal court to two years in prison for his role in a wildlife trafficking scheme in which he purchased and smuggled 16 “libation cups” carved from rhinoceros horns and worth more than $1 million from the United States to China, announced Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of the Southern District of New York and Director Dan Ashe of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Liao pleaded guilty on June 30, 2015, to a two-count information, admitting to illegally smuggling rhinoceros horn objects from the United States.

“This prosecution is the result of a vigorous and ongoing investigation into traffickers profiting from endangered and precious wildlife species,” said Assistant Attorney General Cruden.  “We must ensure that the market for antiques and alleged antiques does not also contribute to the extinction of these iconic animals, which could disappear in our lifetimes if we do not act now to stop this illegal trade.”

“This defendant flouted the laws established to protect endangered wildlife,” said U.S. Attorney Bharara.  “Willfully failing to declare the nature of the shipments or obtain required permits, Liao broke laws that protect rhinoceros and other magnificent species threatened with extinction.  He has learned the cost of his illegal conduct.”

“Each of the ceremonial cups that Liao trafficked represents one step closer to extinction for the rhinoceros, which are steadily being wiped out by poachers for the illegal rhino horn market,” said Director Ashe.  “The seriousness of this crime and others like it and their consequences for the world’s most imperiled species are what drives our efforts to root out and shut down illegal operators like Mr. Liao.  This sentence will serve as a strong warning that we are going to find, arrest and prosecute anyone engaged in this sort of activity and make sure they are no longer able to deprive our children and grandchildren of their wildlife inheritance.”

According to the information, other documents filed in federal court in Manhattan and statements made at various proceedings in this case, including today’s sentencing:

Liao was arrested in February 2015 as part of “Operation Crash,” a nationwide crackdown on illegal trafficking in rhinoceros horns.  Liao was a partner in an Asian art and antiques business located in China.  Liao’s role was to purchase items, including wildlife items, in the United States and arrange for their export to China.  Between in or about March 2012 and May 2013, Liao made online purchases of 16 rhinoceros horn products, more specifically libation cups, from auction houses in the United States, including in Manhattan, which he then smuggled to China without the required declarations and permits.  In order to make these purchases, Liao used an address of his family members in New Jersey, the New Jersey location, because he knew that absent a domestic address, the auction houses would not ship him the rhinoceros horn as well as ivory that Liao had acquired.  Liao then utilized a Manhattan-based courier service to illegally export the merchandise to China.  Liao did not declare the rhinoceros exports to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or obtain the required permits despite his knowledge of the need to do so.  Liao closely coordinated his efforts with co-conspirators who sold the items for a profit at their antique business in China.  The market value of the rhinoceros libation cups in this case is more than $1 million.   

The rhinoceros is an herbivore species of prehistoric origin and one of the largest remaining mega-fauna on earth.  They have no known predators other than humans.  All species of rhinoceros are protected under U.S. and international law.  Since 1976, trade in rhinoceros horn has been regulated under CITES, a treaty signed by over 170 countries around the world to protect fish, wildlife and plants that are or may become imperiled due to the demands of international markets.  Rhinoceros are also protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, which further regulates trade and transport.

In addition to his prison term, Liao was also ordered two years of supervised release, to forfeit $1 million and 304 pieces of carved ivory found during a search of the New Jersey location.  Liao was also banned from future involvement in the wildlife trade.

Operation Crash is a continuing investigation by the Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service, in coordination with the Department of Justice.  A “crash” is the term for a herd of rhinoceros.  Operation Crash is an ongoing effort to detect, deter and prosecute those engaged in the illegal killing of rhinoceros and the unlawful trafficking of rhinoceros horns.

Assistant Attorney General Cruden and U.S. Attorney Bharara thanked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for its outstanding work in this investigation.  This case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Gachiri and Senior Litigation Counsel Richard A. Udell with the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice are in charge of the prosecution.

In addition to his prison term, Liao was also ordered two years of supervised release, to forfeit $1 million and 304 pieces of carved ivory found during a search of the New Jersey location.  Liao was also banned from future involvement in the wildlife trade.

Operation Crash is a continuing investigation by the Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service, in coordination with the Department of Justice.  A “crash” is the term for a herd of rhinoceros.  Operation Crash is an ongoing effort to detect, deter and prosecute those engaged in the illegal killing of rhinoceros and the unlawful trafficking of rhinoceros horns.

Assistant Attorney General Cruden and U.S. Attorney Bharara thanked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for its outstanding work in this investigation.  This case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Gachiri and Senior Litigation Counsel Richard A. Udell with the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice are in charge of the prosecution.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Guns Maker Great Gifts



Are you shopping for a person who is impossible to buy gifts for? This can be a frustrating situation. You want to impress this person by giving him or her a great gift. However, you also need to be sure the gift is very cool and something they will be interested in. Every person is different in terms of their tastes and interests. This will allow you to be creative when it comes to your gift buying. One gift you may have never considered giving to your friends or family members is a gun. Here are several of the main reasons why guns make great gifts.

Many people like guns

There are definitely some people out there who are not fans of firearms. However, the odds are very good that the person you decide to give a gun to will think that it is a cool and creative gift. At the end of the day, you really have nothing to lose. Even if the person is turned off by your gun gift, you can simply get a refund for it. A gun is something that many people want to own. For one reason or another, these people who want to own a gun never get around to actually buying it. In many cases, a person may live with someone who is against gun ownership. Having children in the house is another common reason for people not following through and buying a gun they want. Your gift may end up being something they thought they would never own. You can browse some guns for gift ideas at http://grabagun.com/magpul-industries-pmag-moe-223rem-30rd-blk.html.

Guns are fun

Guns can be used in a few ways. If you want to blow off some steam, you can head over to your local firing range and blast away to relieve your stress. If you live out in the country, you can just line up some tin cans and create your own firing range to have some fun with your buddies. Shooting guns together is a great way to bond with your friends and family.

Guns are great for protection

Does the person you are buying a gift for live in a bad neighborhood? Has he or she been mugged in the past? If this is the case, this person clearly needs a gun for self defense. There is no reason a person should be forced to live in fear every day of their life.