Three Arrested in Connection With International Rhinoceros Horn Smuggling Ring

Three Arrested in Connection With International Rhinoceros Horn Smuggling Ring

February 14, 2013 Updated Feb 14, 2013 at 6:27 PM EDT

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe on Thursday congratulated the Department of Justice and Service Law Enforcement Special Agents in the wake of the arrest and charging of three people for their alleged roles in an international rhinoceros horn smuggling ring.

According to a news release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

The three people were charged this week in Newark, Miami and New York City with wildlife smuggling and related charges in connection with “Operation Crash,” a nationwide effort led by the Service and the Justice Department to investigate and prosecute those involved in the black market trade of endangered rhino horns.

“Rhino populations across the globe are being decimated by poachers seeking to meet rising demand for rhino horn for ceremonial purposes and as a traditional ‘medicine,’ despite the fact that it has no demonstrable medicinal benefits,” said Director Ashe. “As this week’s arrests demonstrate, we continue to work with the Department of Justice and international law enforcement agencies to do everything we can to shut this trafficking down and hold perpetrators responsible under the law.”

Operation Crash (named for the term used to describe a herd of rhinoceros) is an ongoing multi-agency effort to detect, deter and prosecute those engaged in the illegal killing of rhinoceros and the unlawful trafficking of rhinoceros horns. The investigation resulting in the charges announced today has been conducted by the Special Investigations Unit of the Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement, with assistance from the Department of Homeland Security.

Read the entire news release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service HERE.

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