Minnesota Ivory Smuggler Hit with $500,000 Fine
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A former Minnesota college professor has been ordered to pay a $500,000 fine for illegally smuggling items made of elephant ivory.
Forty-three-year-old Yiwei Zheng of St. Cloud also was sentenced in federal court Monday to three years probation, six weeks of intermittent confinement and 150 hours of community service.
Zheng taught philosophy at St. Cloud State University. He acknowledged smuggling ivory carvings of potted flowers and other items from the U.S. to China in April 2011.
He also admitted to illegally exporting two rhinoceros horns to China in July 2010 in violation of the U.S. Lacey Act, which bans trade in wildlife that has been illegally taken, transported or sold.
Prosecutors say Zheng smuggled elephant ivory, rhinoceros horns and other items worth more than $1 million.