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Professor accused of federal crimes for black market smuggling

A professor at St. Cloud University was recently arrested. The philosophy professor is accused of smuggling ivory elephant tusks as well as rhinoceros horns out of Minnesota and into China through the black market. He is accused of committing federal crimes and has already appeared before a U.S. Magistrate in St. Paul.

Investigators suspect that the professor began smuggling these illegal items, which are derived from endangered animals, in 2006. The authorities claim that the professor set up his own online shop to buy and sell antiques. The professor supposedly gained the attention of the federal authorities in 2011 when he attempted to smuggle seven antiques from the United States into China. On his online shop, the professor supposedly reported the aforementioned products as carved "ox bone."

However, when the authorities obtained a search warrant to further investigate his shop, they purportedly found that the carved pieces were made of elephant ivory instead. He is also accused of making false statements to authorities concerning the rhinoceros horns. It is alleged that the professor never obtained an import-export license, which purportedly fueled their suspicions. The professor was arrested and taken into custody in a federal facility. Upon payment of a $25,000 bond and the surrender of his passport, the professor was released from police custody pending further court proceedings.

The authorities say this is the first case of its kind in Minnesota. Even so, the professor will be able to obtain information pertaining to similar federal cases in order to gain more knowledge about the options available to him as he prepares his criminal defense against the alleged federal crimes. He will also have every reasonable opportunity to defend himself against the accusations, which can only result in a conviction if prosecutors provide relevant and competent evidence that meets the stringent requirements of our criminal justice system.

Source: startribune.com, "St. Cloud State professor arrested, accused of smuggling ivory, rhinoceros horn", Paul McEnroe, March 31, 2015

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