Two Wildlife Traffickers In NY & LA Busted For Illegally Attempting To Sell Endangered Rhino Horn

Edward Levine, with glasses, received a guilty verdict on Friday for selling endangered black rhino horns to a federal agent in Las Vegas. Las Vegas Review-Journal photo by Joel Angel Juarez

More wildlife traffickers have been stopped by Operation Crash, a nationwide criminal investigation that focuses on the illegal trade in rhinoceros horn and elephant ivory in response to international poaching and smuggling syndicates.

Yesterday, New York art dealer Fengyi Zhou, who previously admitted to purchasing up to five uncarved rhinoceros horns from another local Asian art dealer, was sentenced to two years in prison.

According to Courthouse News, Zhou attempted to sell the horns to an associate living in China for more than $130,000.00.

The news follows last week’s arrest of Edward N. Levine, a California man who, as reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is known for having ties to the Colombian drug cartel.

Levine was convicted of illegally selling horns of an endangered black rhino for $55,000.00 at the South Point Hotel and Casino in March 2014.

The judge found Levine guilty of conspiracy and violating the Endangered Species Act and the Lacey Act, which makes the sale across state lines of protected wildlife illegal, and ordered that he be detained immediately without bail.  Levine faces up to five years in jail. A sentencing hearing has been set for December.

Edward Levine, center, and attorneys on Friday. Las Vegas Review-Journal photo by Joel Angel Juarez

Levine’s accomplice, Lumsden W. Quan, also from California, pleaded guilty to the crime in August 2015 and was sentenced to one year behind bars.

The Justice Department has reported that since November 2015 Operation Crash, which operates under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Office of Law Enforcement, has resulted in the prosecution and sentencing of nearly 32 people and the recovery of an estimated $5.6 million through the surrender of horns and restitution.

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