Wednesday, September 27, 2023
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Narwhal-Tusk Smuggler Detained for U.S. Trial

BANGOR, Maine (CN) - A retired officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police convicted in Canada of smuggling narwhal tusks will remain in U.S. custody pending a money-laundering trial.

Gregory Logan, 58, is scheduled for trial in Maine on May 3, and U.S. District Judge John Woodcock Jr. ruled Wednesday that prosecutors can keep the St. John, New Brunswick man detained until that time.

The United States extradited Logan last week after Canadian appeals courts refused to block his extradition. Logan retired from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 2003.

Having already pleaded guilty in Canada to the trafficking of 250 narwhal tusks worth more than $2 million, Logan claimed that the United States was trying to punish him for the same crime.

A Canadian appeals court rejected that argument last year, however, noting that the Logan had a copy of the U.S. indictment against him and knew he stood to be prosecuted here nine months before his October 2013 guilty plea in Canada.

The Justice Department said Wednesday that the extradition terms limit its case against Logan in the United States to conspiracy to launder money and money laundering.

Prosecutors say Logan used false compartments in his car to smuggle narwhal tusks into the United States through Maine, sold his goods to collectors, and then laundered the proceeds of those sales.

The original November 2012 indictment against Logan also charged Jay Conrad of Lakeland, Tenn., and Andrew Zarauskas of Union, N.J. - some of the customers who bought narwhal tusks from Logan, knowing the tusks had been illegally imported into the United States.

Zarauskas is serving a 33-month prison term a jury convicted him in Bangor. Conrad is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty. The Justice Department says it had Logan arrested in Canada in December 2013.

A money-laundering conviction could put Logan away for 20 years. In Canada, his smuggling conviction carried a fine $385,000 and an eight-month sentence that included four months of house arrest.

Though to be the inspiration for the unicorn of mythology, narwhals are heavily hunted in their Arctic waters for their ivory, spiraled tusks.

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