Skagway man sentenced for illegally importing, exporting walrus ivory
A 67-year-old Skagway man in business as an ethnic art dealer will have to pay a $5,000 fine and spend two years on probation for illegally importing and exporting walrus ivory.
A judge sentenced Terrence Williams on Thursday, according to a release from U.S. Attorney for Alaska Bryan Schroder. Williams has a business called Inside Passage Arts.
Williams had pleaded guilty to one felony count of Lacey Act false labeling and one felony count of smuggling goods into the U.S.
The Lacey Act is an international law that prohibits the illegal trade of plant and animal species that are protected by states and by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, also called CITES.
According to the release, Williams used falsified documents to illegally export raw walrus tusks to Bali, Indonesia in October 2014 and March 2016 to have them carved there, then smuggled the pieces back to the U.S. to be sold as traditional Alaska Native art.
Williams visited Bali to have specific Indonesian carvers work on the tusks. The Marine Mammal Protection Act bans the sale of walrus ivory that’s crafted by non-Alaska Natives.
The release says Williams sold the carvings in 2014, 2015 and 2016 knowing they’d been illegally brought into the country.
Bryan Dunagan contributed to this report.
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