ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - A man from Skagway received five years in prison and two years of probation for importing and exporting walrus ivory into and out of the United States in violation of the Lacey Act.
According to a press release from the US Department of Justice, James Terrence Williams, 67, operating under the business name of Inside Passage Arts, exported raw, un-worked walrus ivory tusks from Alaska to Bali, Indonesia for carving. He then imported it back into the United States for resale. DOJ says that Williams regularly visited Bali to have specific carvers work on the ivory tusks to craft them in a "Balinese" style. The DOJ alleges that he disguised the illegal nature of the transportation by falsifying records. The offenses allegedly occurred between 2014 and 2016.
In addition to Lacey Act violations Williams also violated the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which bars export or import of walrus ivory to or from the United States without a permit. Furthermore, the Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits sale of anything other than Alaska Native handicrafted walrus ivory.
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