The Wall Street Journal reports that Victor Gordon—who now claims he himself was duped—has been arrested for his role in smuggling carved ivory tusks from Africa and more than 2,000 pounds of contraband has been seized:
“The amount of the elephant ivory allegedly plundered in this case is staggering and highlights the seriousness of the charged crimes,” said Loretta Lynch, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. “We all have a responsibility to protect endangered species, both for their sake and for the sake of our own future generations.”
The arrest marks an unusual run for Eastern District prosecutors, who have brought cases involving a number of unique items in recent months.
Earlier this month, prosecutors announced four men had been arrested for smuggling ancient artifacts, including Egyptian sacrophagi. In May, they reached a settlement to return a rare panel painting of the Virgin Mary with child stolen from an Italian villa in the 1970s to the Italian officials. In November, the office reached a settlement with a New York-based collector to return rare ceramic pieces unlawfully exported from Peru to its government.
In the ivory case, Gordon, 68 years old, has been charged in a 10-count indictment with conspiracy, smuggling and other charges. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
Art Dealer Arrested In ‘Staggering’ African Elephant Ivory Seizure (Law Blog/Wall Street Journal)