The Justice Department came down hard on an illegal rhino horn dealer in California.
A man who smuggled black rhino horns across state lines and illegally attempted to sell them will now face a year prison sentence for his actions.
Lumsden Quan, a 47-year-old art dealer from San Francisco was arrested during an investigative sting last March. Quan pled guilty in federal court to working to smuggle two black rhino horns from California to Nevada, the Justice Department announced in a press release.
Edwrad Levine, who is scheduled for trial in March, assisted Quan. The two men attempted to sell the horns to a buyer for $55,000. However, the buyer was an undercover agent.
Quan’s arrest is a part of the Justice Department’s attempts to crack down on illegal trade of rhino horn within the U.S. known as “Operation Crash.” The black rhino in particular, is close to extinction because of illegal rhino horn trade decimating their numbers.
“Prosecuting individuals who profit from the destruction of an ancient endangered species is critical to stopping the illegal ivory trade,” U.S. Attorney Dan Bogden said.
Quan is just one of 22 individuals prosecuted since last November in Operation Crash. The Justice Department is not going lightly on people trafficking rhino horn. Forfeiture and restitution amounts from these busts have totaled $5.5 million so far.
“There are no excuses for this type of crime,” Bogden said. “Considering the devastating impact on an endangered species, the offenders should be dealt with appropriately and punished in the criminal justice system.”
U.S. Fish and Wildlife is on board with the Justice Department’s work to stop the illegal rhino horn trade.
“Illegal trafficking in rhino horn threatens to reverse decades of rhino conservation work in Africa and Asia, driving rhinos to the brink of extinction in the wild,” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe said.
The year in prison isn’t the only punishment Quan is being handed for his role in illegal ivory trafficking. After his prison sentence is up, he’ll have to pay a $10,000 fine and will be on supervised release.
It appears officials want to make sure Quan doesn’t go right back to the rhino horn trade because his punishment also includes a three-year ban on working in arts or antiques.