The Humane Society of the United States’ Chief Program and Policy Officer Michael Markarian released the following statement praising the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the federal indictment of Charles Kokesh, who is alleged to have violated the Endangered Species Act and the Lacey Act by selling two African elephant tusks and for making false accounts of wildlife related to that sale.
“We commend the U.S. Department of Justice for filing criminal charges in this case, as well as the investigation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives working together to unravel the allegations in this case. Unfortunately, while trophy hunting is legal in many countries, the importation of sport-hunted trophies into the United States can serve to fuel an already unsustainable demand for ivory.
Bringing these cases to light and pursuing vigorous prosecutions should help to prevent the illegal sale of elephant tusks from becoming part of a much larger problem.”
According to the court documents, in 2006 Kokesh imported two African elephant tusks from Namibia into the United States legally as a hunting trophy. He then sold them for $8,100 in cash and firearms. Kokesh has been charged with three counts, one under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and two under the Lacey Act. Kokesh faces a $250,000 fine and up to five years in prison for violations of the Lacey Act, and an additional $25,000 fine and up to six months in jail for the ESA violation.
Via Wildlife Margrit