Black rhino. File art.

Black rhino. File art.

A Canadian has been sentenced to prison in a scheme that bought rhino horn libation cups in the United States and smuggled them to China.

Here’s the rundown from the Department of Justice:

Antiques Dealer Sentenced for Smuggling Cups Made from Rhinoceros Horns; Canadian Banned from Dealing in Wildlife, Eh
Nov. 13, 2015

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. Liao pleaded guilty on June 30, 2015, to a two-count information, admitting to illegally smuggling rhinoceros horn objects from the United States.

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, a partner in an Asian art and antiques business located in China, was arrested in February 2015. 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 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.

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.

 

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