A California man pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to charges of illegally selling the horns of the endangered black rhinoceros in Las Vegas.
Lumsden Quan and his co-defendant, Edward N. Levine, likewise from California, were apprehended at the South Point resort in March 2014 following an undercover investigation by agents with the united state Fish and Wildlife Service.
Quan, 47, pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy and breaching the Lacey Act, which forbids the sale across state lines of secured wildlife. He does not have a contract to comply with district attorneys.
Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro set a Dec. 3 sentencing date for Quan, who is complimentary on his own recognizance.
Levine, who deals with the very same federal wildlife charges, is to stand trial Oct. 19.
According to court files, Quan and Levine acted as brokers for the ailing owner of the rhinoceros horns in San Francisco. The horns were given Las Vegas, and the two men sold them at the South Point to an undercover Fish and Wildlife agent for $55,000 in money.
The hotel-room transaction was secretly recorded by government camera, the documents allege.
At his plea hearing Friday, Quan, who resides in San Francisco, stated the previous owner of the horns has since passed away.
The black rhinoceros, belonging to eastern and main Africa, has actually been threatened by the worldwide need for its prized horns. It is listed in the united state Endangered Types Act.
A Denver-based Fish and Wildlife representative said in a criminal grievance in 2013 that rhinoceros horns are a “highly searched for product” worldwide, despite the fact that their trade has been prohibited given that 1976.
The representative stated he was part of a federal group participating in “Operation Crash,” which has been investigating the unlawful killing of the animals and trafficking of their horns.
Contact Jeff German at [email protected]!.?.! or 702-380-8135. Find him on Twitter: @JGermanRJ