On February 17 antiques dealer Ferdinand E. Krizan, 77, of Franklinville, New York, pleaded guilty to trafficking in prohibited wildlife.
According to the United States Attorney for Western New York, on November 6, 2013, Krizan, owner of Fred’s Antiques, purchased two elephant tusks from an auction house in Montreal, Quebec, for Can$4320. The defendant then had the tusks shipped to an address in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
On November 28, 2013, Krizan transported the tusks from Niagara Falls, Ontario, into the United States through the Rainbow Bridge port of entry, violating the Endangered Species Act. On May 31, 2014, Krizan sold the tusks along with four additional tusks to a buyer in Massachusetts for US$50,000. Krizan, authorities state, knew that the two elephant tusks had been improperly transported into the United States. He did not apply for or receive a permit under the Endangered Species Act authorizing the importation, delivery, receipt, transportation, or sale of elephant ivory.
The investigation also determined that the defendant also illegally trafficked in other protected wildlife, including a narwhal tusk, which he sold for US$8000 in violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act; two elephant tusks, which he sold for US$66,000; a carved elephant ivory art object, which he purchased for Can$1020; one elephant tusk, which he purchased for Can$3130.68; one hippo ivory carving, which he sold for US$1400; one elephant ivory musician carving, which he sold for US$2525; one bronze and elephant ivory figurine, which he sold for US$3700; one elephant ivory triptych, which he sold for Can$2700; and one carved coral figurine, which he sold for US$3400.
The total value of the wildlife trafficked by Krizan is US$141,877. As part of the plea, the defendant will also abandon approximately 100 pieces of elephant ivory carvings. Sentencing is scheduled for May 19. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, but the plea agreement calls for a criminal fine of $30,000.