A Chinese national named Guan Zong Chen has been arraigned in a federal court in Boston Massachusetts for conspiring to illegally export wildlife items worth $700,000 from the United States to Hong Kong. The Chinese national attempted to smuggle rhino horns, elephant ivory, and coral. Chen was arrested last year while he was traveling from China to Australia after he was indicted back in 2015 by a Boston grand jury.

Chen's wildlife crimes

Eight court indictments accuse Chen of purchasing wildlife artifacts at an auction house located in Texas, Florida, California, Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania. Chen and others traveled to the United States from China to pick up the purchased items.

They also planned on how the items can be transported to a shipping business in Concord, Massachusetts. Chen visited a shipper in April 2014 and instructed them to smuggle a sculpture made from ivory to Hong Kong. The item was declared as wood in export declaration forms. Other wildlife items were also smuggled to Hong Kong with documents that falsified the contents and value of packagings.

Illegal wildlife items trafficking

The Washington treaty was signed on 3 March 1975 by 183 countries to help protect endangered fish, wildlife, and plants. According to the treaty, endangered animals cannot be exported outside the U.S. In March this year; the national geographics published an article that stated that Illegal Wildlife Trade is booming across the U.S Mexico border. Live animals and wildlife products were being smuggled in that area according to the article.

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The article also says that 50,000 illegal wildlife products were seized at U.S ports of entry between 2005 and 2014. A quarter of these items originated from Latin America. The main smuggling border cities for illegal wildlife in the U.S are California, Nogales, Arizona, and Laredo, Texas, El Paso, Texas and San Diego.

Illegal wildlife trade arrests this year

On July 11 this year, a Long Island salesman and gallery owner were arrested for illicit trafficking sculptures made from banned elephant ivory. They both face a four-year sentence for selling a sculpture made from elephant ivory worth more than $2,500 to undercover investigators.

On May 5 this year, an orange county man was arrested after 93 exotic birds were discovered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in his luggage after he arrived at the Los Angeles International Airport from Vietnam. Customs officers found that 43 birds were already dead while 50 were dying. The man will be imprisoned for 20 years if convicted.