Hawaii gift store owner gets 6 months for wildlife smuggling

AP News
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Posted: Jun 27, 2016 9:35 PM

HONOLULU (AP) — The owner of a Hawaii jewelry and gift retail business is going to federal prison for six months because of a wildlife trafficking scheme.

Curtis Wilmington pleaded guilty in March, saying he purchased raw walrus tusks and whale teeth from Alaska, smuggled them to the Philippines to be carved into fish hooks and smuggled the pieces back to Hawaii. Authorities say he then sold the fish hook pendants at hotel boutiques, passing them off as made in Hawaii by local artisans.

A federal judge on Monday also sentenced Wilmington to three years' supervision and to pay a $40,000 fine.

Wilmington says he also smuggled black coral from Mexico to Hawaii.

He says he knew it was illegal to ship the items without proper documentation and permits.