LOS ANGELES (CN) – For smuggling horns from endangered rhinos, two men were sentenced Wednesday to more than 3 years in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $1.1 million in fines and restitution.
Rhino horn can bring $25,000 a pound because some people, particularly in Asia, believe it enhances their virility. Vinh Chuong “Jimmy” Kha, 49, and his son Felix Kha, 27, both of Garden Grove, are the latest to be sentenced for smuggling the horns. Jimmy Kha got 42 months, and Felix Kha 46 months, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
They were ordered to pay a criminal fine of $20,000; $185,000 for tax fraud; $800,000 in restitution to a conservation fund; and Jimmy Kha’s Win Lee Corp. was fined $100,000.
They also forfeited their portion of $2 million in “rhino parts” seized in the busts.
“On average, a rhino is slaughtered in Africa every 11 hours to feed the black market for their horns,” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said in the statement.
The Khas pleaded guilty in September 2012 to conspiracy, smuggling, wildlife trafficking in violation of the Lacey Act, money laundering and tax fraud.
“In February 2012, at the time of the arrest of Jimmy and Felix Kha, FWS agents seized rhinoceros mounts and horns, $1 million in cash, approximately $1 million in gold ingots, jewelry, watches and precious stones, a 2009 BMW 759 Li Sedan and a 2008 Toyota Forerunner from the defendants and their co-conspirators,” the U.S. attorney said.
Black rhinos have no natural enemies but man. They are protected by international treaties and national laws. Black rhinos are endangered.
The Department of Justice and Fish and Wildlife called the prosecutions Operation Crash because a herd of rhinoceros is known as a crash.
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