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Lions and tigers and skulls, oh my

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  A New York has pleaded to buying endangered tiger and lion parts with the help of straw men and shipping the parts abroad.

Arongkron “Paul” Malasukum, of Woodside, pleaded Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, to wildlife trafficking in U.S. District Court for Eastern Texas in Plano.

According to the Department of Justice: 

In papers filed in federal court in April 2016, Malasukum admitted to purchasing a tiger skull from undercover agents who were working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Malasukum also admitted to purchasing lion skulls from an auction house in Texas through the undercover agents on another occasion. The agents were acting as “straw buyers” for Malasukum. Malasukum, who knew his out-of-state purchases could draw attention from federal law enforcement, gave the undercover agents cash and told them which items to bid on and ultimately win. After the purchases, Malasukum shipped the tiger and lion skulls from Texas to his home in Woodside, New York. From New York, Malasukum shipped the skulls to Thailand for sale to a wholesale buyer. 

As part of his plea, Malasukum admitted that between April 9, 2015 and June 29, 2016, he exported approximately 68 packages containing skulls, claws, and parts from endangered and protected species, with a total fair market value in excess of $150,000. All of the exports were sent to Thailand.

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Two arrested for endangered skull smuggling

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babirusa skull

Agents with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (yes, the weather guys) busted two people who were allegedly smuggling wild pig skulls and other bits of endangered wildlife into the United States.

Here’s the wrap up from the Department of Justice:

“Operation Pongo” Leads to Arrest on Federal Charges of Smuggling Wildlife into the U.S.
PORTLAND, Ore. – Two Malaysian nationals have been arrested on federal wildlife smuggling charges after they allegedly used mail parcels to illegally smuggle orangutan skulls and parts of other protected wildlife into the United States.

Eoin Ling Churn Yeng, 35, and Galvin Yeo Siang Ann, 33, both Malaysian citizens, were arrested without incident, on Friday afternoon, December 4, by special agents with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Ling and Yeo were arrested soon after arriving in Portland to meet with an associate. More