Alaska ivory dealer indicted for shipping walrus tusks to Indonesia and back

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - In a scam dating back to 2014, an Alaska ivory dealer has been indicted for illegally exporting, and then importing, walrus ivory, violating federal law.

James Terrance Williams, 67, of Skagway, who operates the company Inside Passage Arts, is being charged for smuggling that took place back between 2014 and 2016.

According to prosecutors, at that time, Williams sent raw, un-worked walrus ivory from Alaska to Indonesia to be carved there. He then allegedly would import that ivory back into the states, selling it as though it had been worked by Alaska Native artisans.

Prosecutors said Friday that this violates the Lacey Act, as well as False Labeling. Specifically, they allege that Williams sold the carved ivory tusks and falsified their records of importation.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case. For the crime, Williams faces terms of imprisonment of up to 10 years and fines up to $250,000.

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