NEW YORK (Reuters) – A Canadian antiques dealer pleaded guilty on Tuesday to attempting to export black rhinoceros horns purchased in New York from undercover US Fish and Wildlife Service agents.
Xiao Ju “Tony” Guan, 39, pleaded guilty in federal court in New York to one of three charges against him as part of a plea deal to resolve a case US authorities say stemmed from a crackdown on illegal trafficking in rhinoceros horns.
“I knew what I was doing was against the law,” Guan said through a Mandarin translator.
Prosecutors had previously accused Guan of participating in a conspiracy with several other individuals to smuggle rhino horns and sculptures made from elephant ivory and coral from various US auction houses to Canada.
Prosecutors at the time of his indictment in July said Guan, who owned an antiques business in Richmond, British Columbia, would sometimes mail items directly to Canada with false paperwork and without the required declarations.
Other times, he would ship the items to Point Roberts, Washington, less than a mile from the border, use mislabelled boxes to deceive customs and border protection agents, and then take smuggled items to his business, prosecutors said.