The St. Cloud State University professor accused of smuggling rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory to China is awaiting a jury trial this November in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.
Yiwei Zheng was arrested by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents in March. He appeared in court earlier this year and surrendered his passport.
The indictment, filed by a federal grand jury, claims Zheng and two unnamed co-conspirators were involved in a scheme that ran from 2006-2011. He is facing three charges of smuggling in the fourth degree, one count of conspiracy, making false statements and a Lacey Act violation. The Lacey Act prevents illegal trade of wildlife, fish or plants.
Judge John Tunheim and lawyers are scheduled to review and interview prospective jurors before an October 26 deadline. Zheng is scheduled to appear at a jury trial with his lawyers Timothy Webb and Evan Weiner November 2 at 9 a.m. Laura Provinzino is the prosecuting attorney in the case.
In the meantime, Zheng is teaching courses during the current fall semester at SCSU as a professor of philosophy.