33 Months for Smuggling Narwhal Tusks
BOSTON (CN) - A Nantucket antiques dealer was sentenced Monday to 33 months in federal prison for smuggling hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of narwhal tusks and sperm whale teeth from the Ukraine to the United States. A federal jury convicted David Place guilty of smuggling, conspiracy, and Lacey Act violations in November 2010.
Place, who owned Manor House Antiques Cooperative, played a role in importing $200,000 to and $400,000 worth of narwhal tusks and sperm whale teeth from the Ukraine, which were sold in the United States, prosecutors said.
Narwhals, which sport a long, single tusk, are nearly extinct. They are a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act; sperm whales are endangered.
One of Place's co-conspirators, Andrei Mikhalyov, pleaded guilty to related charges, and was deported to Ukraine at the end of his 9-month prison term.
Mikhalyov made thousands of dollars from the smuggled cetacean teeth and sold many of them to Nantucket scrimshaw artist Charles Manghis, the Boston Globe reported.
Manghis was convicted in February of smuggling sperm whale teeth and elephant ivory into the United States, the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror newspaper reported. He is scheduled for sentencing in May.