Wildlife Smuggling Nets Florida Businessman 3 Years' Prison

A Florida businessman has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for a wildlife smuggling conspiracy that included rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory.

A federal judge on Wednesday also ordered the Boynton Beach auction house owned by Christopher Hayes to pay a $1.5 million fine. Hayes pleaded guilty in January to a conspiracy that used false records and shipping documents to escape detection by U.S. officials.

Court records show Hayes sold horns from six endangered black rhinos and items made from elephant ivory and coral. Some items were bound for China and others for Canada. At least two other people have been sent to prison as part of the plot.

The case began when Hayes bought black rhino horns from an undercover U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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