The Humane Society of the U.S. reports Friday that five people and a business were indicted on Tuesday, June 9, for their involvement in an illegal ivory smuggling ring based in Honolulu.
On May 20, federal agents intercepted numerous boxes of elephant, walrus and whale ivory from an Iwilei warehouse. The ivory had been shipped from Hawaii to the Philippines to be carved, then sent back to Hawaii for sale at their retail sites across Honolulu.
The five defendants – Curtis Wilmington, Sergio Biscocho, Kauilani Wilmington, Elmer Biscocho and Kauiokaala Chung – were charged with violations of the federal Endangered Species, Marine Mammal Protection and Lacey Acts and each face up to 20 years in jail and up to a $250,000 fine.
The Hawaii and Pacific Islands Office of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service – Office of Law Enforcement, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – Office of Law Enforcement and United States Attorney General for Hawaii Florence Nakakuni were key to the defendants’ prosecution.
Inga Gibson, Hawaii senior state director for The HSUS and Pacific Islands policy specialist for Humane Society International said: “We thank these federal agencies for intervening in this case and prosecuting the defendants to the fullest extent allowed under federal law. This case proves that state laws are needed to crack down on the bloody and lucrative illegal ivory trade. Had Hawaii, as the third largest ivory retailer in the nation, passed a law prohibiting the sale of these products, this criminal ring may have been intercepted earlier.”