US Rhino horn smuggling ring arrested
The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) have announced the arrest of seven people by Federal Agents in a multi-state undercover operation to tackle the smuggling of rhino horns. Deputy Chief of Law Enforcement for the FWS Edward Grace confirmed that all seven would be charged with multiple counts including conspiracy and trafficking in endangered species.
Agents working on Operation CRASH arrested individuals in New York, New Jersey, Texas and California. Alleged trafficker Stephen Wade was stopped at an unnamed California airport in the company of his family and a search found $337,000 in their luggage, while Jimmy Kha, Mai Nguyen and Felix Kha were all taken into custody in Southern California. Amir Even-Ezra, Jin Zhao Feng (a Chinese citizen) and David Hausman (an antiques expert) were also detained.
20 rhino horns, $1 million in gold ingots, a quantity of diamonds and Rolex watches were also seized by the Federal Agents. Officials confirmed that at least 18 shipments of rhino horns sent by the Steffen family to an exotic animals auction house owner had also been intercepted.