Officials confiscated roughly a ton of ivory in one of the largest seizures on record and arrested the owner of an African art store who is accused of smuggling carved elephant tusks into the United States.
Victor Gordon, 68, pleaded not guilty at a court in Brooklyn to charges of conspiracy, smuggling and violating an anti-trafficking law aimed at curbing illegal shipments of protected wildlife, including ivory. Mr Gordon allegedly paid a partner to purchase raw elephant ivory in West and Central Africa and have it carved to his specifications. He also told the partner to stain the carvings to make them look older than they were and to ship them to his Philadelphia art shop, prosecutors said.
Authorities seized hundreds of tusks sold or owned by Mr Gordon in Philadelphia, New York, Missouri and Kansas, according to the indictment.