Why You Should Be Careful When Selling These Sculptures

For many years now, the ivory trade has been mired in controversy. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out where this material comes from: The dead carcasses of some of the most endangered species on the planet. And if you’re caught selling sculptures or products made out of ivory, you could face years in prison — even if you had no idea that you were involved in an illegal black market. Don’t believe us? Just consider this recent case out of Florida:

Man Faces 51 Months in Prison for Trading Ivory

On March 13th, it was reported that an art dealer in Miami had been sentenced to 51 months in prison for trading ivory. Not only that, but he had apparently obstructed justice during the investigation. In total, he was convicted of nine counts of smuggling items containing ivory. He never declared these items or made them available for inspection for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The obstructing justice charges stemmed from his use of false evidence, including documents and testimony.

This individual had apparently purchased various ivory sculptures from countries like Spain, England, Canada, and Australia. In order to deceive borer inspectors, he often dismantled the sculptures into small components before shipping. He then mailed them to various addresses across the nation — avoiding using his own home address. On at least one occasion, he packed the ivory components in his own luggage. He never declared these substances, instead preferring to list them as marble or porcelain.

In some cases, the art dealer had the ivory components carved into new sculptures to sell them for a profit within the United States. When he was finally caught at an airport, he raced to remove his ivory sculptures from his showroom while approaching potential witnesses and encouraging them to provide false testimony.

It was this decision to obstruct justice that caused the defendant such serious penalties. If he had complied with the investigation and accepted responsibility for his actions, he might have avoided time behind bars. His biggest mistake was not consulting with a defense attorney as soon as he was caught at the airport. If he had done this, he would have received solid guidance from a legal professional.

It’s worth noting that you may be able to escape penalties for trading in ivory if the items are antiques that are more than 100 years old. This makes it even more important to avoid dismantling items before shipping them.

Where Can I Find a Qualified, Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Largo?

If you’ve been searching for a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney in Largo, look no further than Trevena Pontrello & Associates. Over the years, we have helped numerous defendants in the Florida area. We know that it can be alarming to face criminal charges for crimes you had no idea you were committing. Whether you were trading in ivory or some other illegal product, you can fight for your rights effectively with our help. Book your consultation today to get started with an effective action plan.


  1. https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdfl/pr/miami-art-dealer-sentenced-51-months-prison-smuggling-ivory
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