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Perhaps due to his short size, he was often bullied at school. He also suffered from many ailments. Unlike the latter, however, Abacha did little to improve himself intellectually, and had considerable disdain for anything that taxed the intellect. He was not known to have granted any press interview on any major national issue. He would not forgive those, like Abiola, who reminded him of this huge lacuna. He could neither preside over cabinet meetings their function eluded him nor understand government reports even when read to him, let alone comprehend the intricacies of affairs of state. For Abacha, perhaps more than for Babangida, his closest allies and political reference groups were a coterie of sycophants and opportunists who may or may not be better educated than him, but who were tied to him by sheer larceny and pure opportunism.

This could well be regarded as a convenient contrivance meant to buy valuable time and wrench some invaluable political acceptance, while cynically keeping a hodgepodge of technocrats, econocrats, bureaucrats, professional political jobbers and hangers-on busy. As an observer remarked,. Abacha exhibited good infantry tactics, knowing when to withdraw and when to attack He was not equipped with fancy political footwork or fiery oratory. He also lacked the customary military despatch in his style of governance apart from summary dismissals and executions.

Power was conceived as a zero-sum game, in a most perfidious and dastardly manner. Opponents were enemies and were, at best, to be denied the means of living, and if that failed, to be physically eliminated. There was little doubt that the general sought to install personal tyranny as an effective bulwark against the apparent formidable resilience of the political opposition.

Socio-economic patronage and plunder coupled with status and prestige, are the glue that binds his cohorts to himself. He rules in an absolute imperial manner often for the sole purpose of self-gratification or glorification molding society in his own image and exploiting it to his own advantage. Personal dictators create a vast social void within which they often enact their personal fantasies and whims, a vacuum that is particularly destabilising for successor regimes.

Or was he no more than a media creation? In a fundamental sense, the resort to pristine oppression betrayed a lack of maximum power accumulation against not only an amalgam of political opponents, but in relation to a boisterous and vibrant civil society, including ethnic nationalities. The latter seemingly attained its apogee under the Abacha regime. A major chunk of the crimes was perpetrated against the political opposition, even though the military qua military as well as its most politicized factions were not left untouched.

He vastly improved, in a wholly negative sense, the well-known security networks which Babangida had spawned in Abuja: Babangida was watched over by a 2,strong personal security team, most of whom were trained in insurgency and counter-insurgency in Korea. Obsessed with security to the point of paranoia — a weak point that was massively exploited by his chief security officer CSO and other cronies — he trusted no one, for he personally commanded his own parallel security service. Thus, the tone and tenor of repression and intimidation in relation to the political opposition was set by first cleansing the military.

Indeed, in cleansing his inner caucus and immediate entourage, Abacha used power as a veritable instrument of vengeance. His victims were not only those who had supposedly wronged him in his climb to power, but also those who were hitherto close allies — including divisional commanders — who had staged the November palace coup which put him in power. After taking two years to announce a transition programme, when it was eventually pronounced, there was no mistaking the calculated strategy of political hegemony in the 3-year programme.

No guidelines were provided for the exercise of the powers. The lifting of the ban on political activities in October did not prevent the Transition to Civil Rule Decree of , Section 6, from making it an offence to engage in almost any activity in protest of the transition programme. This propaganda, while not an Abacha invention or creation, was put to good use by his regime. Save for isolated pockets in both the political North and East, the agitation was almost a southwest show.

Admittedly one of the smallest ethnic groups, it was and still remains perhaps the most irrepressible. One after the other, its leading lights and big financiers were either brutally murdered Alfred Rewane, Kudirat Abiola or driven into exile Wole Soyinka, Alani Akinrinade, Dan Suleiman, etc or, as in the case of Omotehinwa, a senior military officer, when unavailable, their closest associates were eliminated. A hitherto unknown group, probably also phoney, the Revolutionary Movement for Hausa-Fulani Interests claimed responsibility for the attempt on Ibru.

Whilst declaring its support for the transition, the group claimed it was. In the process, according to S. There could be no better evidence of an anti-press action. Several provisions were apparently meant to curtail and restrict the independent press, if not altogether chain it. These included payment of a deposit of N , Section 46 of Part 1 of its 3 rd schedule had stipulated the establishment of a National Mass Media Commission to be charged with the regulation of. It mattered little to the junta whether it was a pregnant wife of a wanted journalist or an innocent daughter or son.

More than 90 journalists suffered repression in , that is four times as many as in ; 13 journalists are still being detained in Nigeria, making it one of the most repressive African countries for the freedom of the press. Indeed, the Delta region has, over the years, been subjected to a double jeopardy. On the one hand:. It has been argued, for instance, that if. The groups would eventually count amongst their supporters usually conservative politicians and professionals. In a fundamental sense, therefore, J. Holm et al. The junta was not content with that. In January , the Minister of Information, Walter Ofonagoro, denied the existence of a political opposition.

While in terms of space, much of the political struggle was limited to the southwest, nevertheless, the value reference had a pan-Nigerian resonance. For the Congress, the only option was:. June 12 is more than a personal contract But they have not given up because the matter is about Ogoni, about the ethnic minorities in Southern Kaduna, about power sharing, about the Nigerian state, indeed about and after June 12 is the watershed for several decades of injustice in the Nigerian nation. It is the crossroads at which lines are being drawn in the sands by aggrieved constituencies in society.

It is full of inconsistencies When the Chief Imam of Ansar-ud-deen Mosque, Kano, Sheik Nurudeen Ajani Bello was asked why some clerics refused to participate in the 40th day prayer for Abacha, as radicals amongst them also did when he was buried, he replied:. Was he a Muslim when he was alive? Abacha was a satan sent to punish us.

This phenomenon depends on:. In effect, across all sectors of the economy, this system of corruption is particularly entrenched in the oil sectors, its natural home. It was distributed for political support -not only to politicians participating in the transition programme, but also to selected West African leaders, whose moral support was considered important for self-succession.

One way Abacha did this was to maintain an unprecedented stranglehold on the oil-driven economy. By refusing to undertake turn-around maintenance TAM on the ailing and ageing refineries, the resort was to fuel importation, an operation of which he tightly controlled. To crown it all, the Federal Petroleum Monitoring Task Force headed by Abubakar was considered the hotbed of seamy deals in petroleum distribution — replicating at a higher level of venality, a practice that was in vogue in virtually all the states. Under Abacha, they won lucrative oil and defence contracts, salting away, in the process, billions of dollars through off-shore companies registered in the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands.

Massive trunks of cash, both in national and foreign currencies, were moved round the country by security operatives and pro-government politicians to buy conference participants over to government side. Abacha was highly successful in this litmus test. Once it reconvened in January , the Conference would unanimously reverse itself. Henceforth, the name of the game was the use of more and more money either to silence opponents or, more significantly, to guarantee the continued loyalty of a seeming pan-Nigerian clan of professional military apologists and political jobbers.

Apermanent wedge seemed, henceforth, to have been drawn between social forces fighting for democracy and pro-military forces bent on keeping the military and Abacha in power. In the words of Michael Schatzberg,. A major social and political divide The five parties were all of the same genre and were intended to serve the political ambition of the general.

Thus, whilst the programme was truncated from the beginning — manipulation, chicanery and blackmail being freely used against all forms of opposition — the programme literally collapsed at the point the general was adopted by all the parties, save one. The Grassroots Democratic Movement GDM that did not adopt him appeared to have done so to help the junta dissimulate its real intention. Diya and Abacha is a pleasant fellow, humble and respectful In the not-too-distant future [writes Dele Omotunde], stories will Political morality loomed large by its flagrant breach.

Not only had Abacha sacked ministers interested in party politics in and , Sections 8 2 and 8 2c of the Political Parties Registration and Activities , Decree 28 of October 23, had clearly stipulated that:. It would seem that faith in this methodology of democratization in Africa was borne out of the oft-expressed opinion that, after all, the fillip for political liberalization in the s came essentially from outside.

As it turned out, the reading of democratization has been largely a-historical, much in-the same way that the perception of the international community as an effective impetus or catalyst to political change in Africa has been grossly overestimated. Rye Olsen puts forward two models that could help explain the motives of bilateral donors. The former sums up security and strategic concerns of European powers in the post-Cold War era, while the latter is encapsulated in issues of democracy and human rights.

Thus, Olsen concludes that the motives of the EU in promoting democracy and respect for human rights in Africa were driven by donor interests, in so far as in implementing the democracy-aid linkage, donor countries did not declare their true intentions. On the contrary, political stability and democratic predictability are, for donors, a desideratum for enhancing their interest. In consequence, Ottaway concludes:.

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In all this, [Mobutu] was encouraged by the fact that his They called upon the Congolese political class to go back to the negotiating table as though the national conference had never taken place. In the end, a government has to settle accounts with its own people. It survives and perishes by their judgement. Clinton declared that the US would not disapprove of an Abacha candidacy as long as he shed his military toga first.

Democrats fighting to oust the new military strongman Abubakar should therefore expect no help from this quarter. And in international relations, no less than in domestic politics, impressions do matter. Little wonder that Twadell, who replaced Walter Carrington as US ambassador to Nigeria, showed little interest in democratic activism. Much of it came in the form of limited sanctions eg, sporting and travelling bans on state officials and their families, suspension of military and defence co-operation, etc as well as the initiatives of some international non-governmental organizations INGOS , such as Jubilee , Oxfam, Christian Aid, The Congressional Black Caucus, Trans Africa Forum, etc.

It would appear that the West had, mid-way into the Abacha tragedy in Nigeria, reached the end of its tether. Democratic fatigue, a post-Cold War counterpart of aid fatigue, seemed to have set in so soon after the initial euphoria. To be sure, a favourable international environment is part of the variable mix, but when that environment is largely driven by the logic of capital, market and surplus value, democratic struggle, to be successful, may well have to include a political combat between, on the one hand, the people and, on the other, the political class, the military, the multinational corporations and the international community.

We were persuaded, as editors, to leave the original essays as largely intact as possible to the extent that they capture, in varying degrees, different facets of the Abacha relations with both its domestic and external environment as they were then unfolding. By also muzzling key social forces and civil society organizations; tightening the noose on both independent and state-owned media; excessively tinkering with transition laws and agencies to the extent of causing them to lose whatever autonomy they had ab initio, military transition managers demonstrated clearly their overvaluation of transition politics.

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His major argument, in an interesting essay that examines how different social types and interest groups conceptualize democracy in Nigeria, is that concepts and notions of democracy are as varied as social forces in the civil and political societies. There are notions of democracy both as power and as counter-power.

While some see democracy as a process for liberation, others perceive it as an instrument for domination. His main contention is that the struggle for the respect of the rights of groups and individuals is seen by these groups as being coterminous with the smuggle for civil, democratic government. Any dichotomy between the two is a false one.

Not only did that government tightly control its political transition and economic structural programmes, it also rapidly degenerated into a highly depraved level of public venality, unparalleled in the country -that is, before the palace coup that brought Abacha to power. Thus, for Mustapha,. Yet, the CD was able to inspire sufficient confidence in the people, and to spearhead the challenge to Babangida after the June 12th election.

To be sure, general characterization has often been dulled by a section of the press — state-run and privately-owned put together — whose hierarchy is at the behest of successive governments in power, civilian and military. It may well be that the remaining debts are not verifiable. But, then, to what effect? He underlines the amount as well as the significance of European investments in Nigeria: those in the non-energy sector exceed the amount of public assistance to development. Often, however, this privileged position can be a liability rather than an asset.

The EU would, for instance, dilly-dally on new sanctions to be imposed when the regime became extremely tardy on a definite and assuring transition to civil rule programme. That did not stop these powers from imposing sanctions on Nigeria, including the suspension of military assistance and American economic aid and denial of entry into the US for Nigerian officials.

There were also non-economic sanctions involving, amongst others, restrictions on diplomatic privileges and military co-operation. But these were not the sanctions capable of bending the iron will of the military junta. The latter had too much room to manoeuvre. Having treated both the UN and the CMAG with disdain, the rest of the world — particularly the African continent — was all too easy to deal with. These issues — and related ones — would have to be constantly interrogated and confronted until broadly acceptable and lasting solutions are found. It is within this context that Gboyega is right to have reasoned that the options for a stabilized federation in Nigeria necessarily have to be more political than constitutional.

Hard political choices have to be made by the post-Abacha elected civilian government of Obasanjo in order to, amongst others, avoid another lapse into democratic recession with all the grim consequences that Nigerians — and their friends abroad -had to live with during the defunct Abacha regime.

This is followed by a chronology of political events covering the Abacha years and beyond presented by Enemaku Idachaba. Abati, Reuben. The Guardian 15 May The church in politics. The Guardian 6 February Adekanye, J. Military Profession and Social Stratification. Inaugural Lecture, University of Ibadan. Vantage Publishers, Ibadan, Afolayan, Funso. Civil Society, popular culture and the crisis of democratic transitions in Nigeria, p. In: African Democracy in the Era of Globalisation. Jonathan Hyslop, ed. Witwatersrand University Press, Johannesburg, Allen, Chris.

Who needs civil society? Review of African Political Economy No. The international and domestic context of democratic transition in Africa: Roadblocks to democracy? In: Democratic Transition in Africa. Caron, A. Gboyega and E. Osaghae, eds. Ann-Walker, Judith. Civil society, the challenge to the authoritarian state and the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria.

Issue vol. Berman, Bruce J. Ethnicity, patronage and the African state: The politics of uncivil nationalism. African Affairs vol. Coleman, Janet. Against the State: Studies in sedition and rebellion. Penguin and BBC, London, Crook, Richard C. Darah, G. Ibadan, running splash The Guardian 20 April Decalo, Samuel. The Journal of Modem African Studies vol. Diamond, L. Introduction: Roots of failure, seeds of hope. In: Democracy in Developing Countries. Vol 12 Africa, L. Diamond, J.

J Linz and S. M Lipset, eds. Kirk-Greene and O. Introduction: The politics of transition without end. In: Transition without End: Nigerian politics and civil society under Babangida. Diamond, A. Oyediran, eds. Rienner and Adamantine Press, London and Boulder, Director, Osa. A billion naira trouble for Maryam. Tell 3 August Edelman, Murray. Constructing the Political Spectacle. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Eriye, Festus. Sunday Times Johannesburg 16 April Esajere, Akpo.

The rise and fall of a consensus candidate. The Guardian 9 February Fayemi, J. Military hegemony and the transition programme. National Assembly Press, Abuja, Fiakpa, Lucky. Who cares if Nigerians suffer? Tell 27 April French, Howard W. Tell 20 April Hague, Rod, M. Harrop and S. Breslin Comparative Government and Politics: An introduction, 3 rd ed. Macmillan, Basingstoke and London, Herbst, Jeffrey. Migration, the politics of protest and state consolidation in Africa.

Holm, J. Molutsi and Gloria Somolekae. The development of civil society in democratic state: The Botswana model. African Studies Review vol. Amnesty International vol. Human Rights Watch. Transition or travesty? Ibrahim, Jibrin. Political scientists and the subversion of democracy in Nigeria.

In: The State and Democracy in Africa. Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja and M. Senior Forensic Scientist, Dr. Pepper Trail was featured in the Winter Audubon Magazine. Photo caption: Dr. Pepper Trail compares evidence items to samples from the Lab's standards reference collection to confirm species identification. Michael Petro was sentenced on possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon. Photo caption: The Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world.

Photo caption: The x-ray shows the hawk's humerus bone is completely separated near to its shoulder. Ammon Covino was ordered to return to prison for eight months and to serve an additional one-year term of supervised release after violating conditions of his release. Photo caption: Spotted eagle rays were included as wildlife illegally purchased and transported by the defendant.

CLEO Berrey assists in saving a drowning woman. Photo caption: Florida manatee cow and calf. Photo caption: A Black rhinoceros in Tanzania. Eels are highly valued in East Asia for human consumption. This has led to overfishing of Japanese and European eels. To protect the American eel, harvesting of juvenile American eels is prohibited in all but three states, and the Service is conducting an investigation to crack down on eel trafficking.

Photo caption: Juvenile American eel. Photo caption: Black rhinoceros horns. The Service, JetBlue and the U. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance are educating travelers about how to prevent wildlife trafficking when traveling to the Caribbean. The video, featuring local Caribbean conservation heroes, will arm travelers with the right questions to ask when purchasing wildlife and plant-related products.

Photo caption: Confiscated coral necklace. News Release View Video. Two Colorado men and two Tennessee men were convicted in Federal court. Two will pay substantial fines, one will spend time in jail, and one will perform community service. Photo caption: Bull elk clash antlers. Phillip Lloyd pleaded guilty to internationally shipping squirrel monkey blood labeled as human blood. Photo caption: Blood samples labelled as human blood actually contained squirrel monkey blood. In addition and as part of his probation, he is prohibited from owning or possessing firearms, ammunition, or any other dangerous weapon and prohibited from hunting or fishing anywhere in the United States.

Photo caption: Since , whooping cranes have been listed as "endangered" due to habitat loss and over-hunting. Department of Agriculture. Photo caption: A Service camera caught the defendant shooting a captured hawk. Over the past 10 years, the Feather Atlas has grown to become the leading feather identification resource on the Internet. The site now contains over scans, illustrating the flight feathers of species. Photo caption: Example of a feather scan from the Atlas. Eels are highly valued in east Asia for human consumption. Historically, Japanese and European eels met this demand; however, overfishing has led harvesters to the American eel.

Because of the threat of overfishing, eel harvesting is prohibited or heavily regulated in most of the United States. Photo caption: An illegal net used by poachers to capture American eels. The report highlights the success of OLE in its fight against wildlife trafficking both domestically and internationally. Photo caption: Cover photo of the Report - a white-tailed deer buck. The novelty store, Necromance, and store owner Nancy Smith, admitted to illegally importing wildlife products such as seahorses, bats, scorpions, and tree frogs. Photo caption: Packaged bats seized from this investigation.

Ted Nelson was found guilty and sentenced for using poison that killed a bald eagle. Photo caption: Adult bald eagle. The Service, with the U. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance and Discovery Communications, produced a public service announcement to visually explain the wildlife trafficking crisis. Photo caption: Macaw. Credit: Discovery. To view the PSA. Jay Anderson was sentenced for smuggling elephant ivory. The case was initiated when a Service Wildlife Inspector intercepted an undeclared shipment of carved elephant ivory items destined for Asia.

Photo caption: Ivory pieces seized during the case. Heyman Service to America Medals. Operation Crash, an ongoing nationwide criminal investigation led by the Service's Office of Law Enforcement, was created to catch, and send to prosecution, wildlife traffickers who were dealing in illegal rhino horn and elephant ivory products. Thanks to the operation, the Service has made 42 arrests, 30 convictions, and 27 wildlife traffickers have been sentenced in federal court. Photo caption: Congratulations Operation Crash Team!

Learn more Video. Photo caption: ICCA event photos. Learn More EE News article. The Service and its partners put wildlife trafficking in the public eye this week at high visibility events designed to garner national and international attention. On Sept. Both events signal to the world that the United States is committed to end the scourge of wildlife trafficking. Photo caption: Hunter in the baited field. Photo caption: Chief Woody and Congressman Chaffetz. Photo caption: Black Walnut tree in Kew Gardens.

Read More Press Release. A Minnesota man pleaded guilty to smuggling objects made from elephant ivory from the United States. In one instance, he admitted mislabeling an ivory carving as resin. Photo caption: Black rhinoceros. Credit: An elephant in Tanzania. News Release DOJ. This is another significant result of Operation Crash. Credit: Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade.

Oral Statement. Photo caption: A Service camera caught the killing of captured hawks.

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Gregory Obendorf was found guilty by a Federal jury for conspiracy to bait migratory birds and placing bait for migratory birds. Photo caption: Obendorf would flood the corn field and allow hunters to shoot ducks over the baited field. Photo caption: These pieces, seized from Zheng, show a variety of ways that elephant ivory may be carved. Deputy Chief Grace, and the Operation Crash team, are recognized for their dedication and outstanding law enforcement work for infiltrating and investigating the dark world of rhino horn and elephant ivory black market trading and referring over 30 criminals for prosecution.

Two Malaysian nationals pleaded guilty to conspiring to smuggle wildlife after they smuggled five orangutan skulls and parts of nine other protected species into Oregon. Pongo is the orangutan genus. Photo caption: An orangutan skull. Kai Wu smuggled turtles from the U. Photo caption: Xu utilized paid runners who body smuggled turtles into and from the U. Photo shows turtles taped to a runner's legs. Credit: Environment and Climate Change Canada. The newest class of four Wildlife Detector Dogs -- Dock, Dutton, Hanna and Smokey — and their human partners just graduated and are ready to spread out across the nation to some of the busiest ports of entry for wildlife trade.

There, the dogs will put their noses to work, sniffing out illegal wildlife products being shipped into or out of the country Photo caption: A New Class of Wildlife Detection Dogs video. Open Spaces Blog Video. The report highlights the success of 17 Federal departments and agencies in their fight against wildlife trafficking.

Photo caption: In the center of the photograph is a pond that is habitat for the threatened California Tiger Salamander. It was filled with sediment from grading activities directed by James Tong without authorization from the Service as required under the ESA. Joseph Chait pleaded guilty to conspiring to smuggling products made from rhinoceros horn, elephant ivory, and coral.

Photo caption: A wild rhinoceros. Martin Kaszycki was sentenced for illegally killing an American black bear in New Jersey and then staging a fake kill site in New York to conceal his crime. Photo caption: The massive Amercian black bear at the weigh station in New York. Thomas Kapusta admitted to systematically capturing the hawks in a trap specifically designed to capture birds of prey, shooting and killing them in the trap, and disposing of their carcasses.

Ferdinand E. Krizan admitted to unlawfully importing several elephant and narwhal tusks, elephant and hippo ivory carvings, and a coral carving. Photo caption: Illegally taken wildlife were made into trophies. Lumber Liquidators, Inc. This is the first felony conviction related to the import, or use, of illegal timber, and is the largest criminal fine ever under the Lacey Act. Photo caption: Much of the flooring was manufactured in China from timber that was illegally logged in far eastern Russia in the habitat of the last remaining Siberian tigers and Amur leopards in the world.

In , a Service wildlife inspector discovered a microraptor fossil that started an interagency case. In connection, two Florida art dealers pleaded guilty, one to obstruction and the other to illegally importing dinosaur fossils. Read More. Wildlife Management, LLC, pleaded guilty to securities fraud. Photo caption: Grading activities, directed by Tong, created deep gullies that washed sediment into a breeding pond for the California tiger salamander.

Photo caption: Whooping cranes are protected under the MBTA making it unlawful to capture, kill, or attempt to capture or kill in the U. Patrick Sheridan, the third Irish Traveler arrested by the Operation Crash team, was sentenced for conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act. Steve Zheng admitted to smuggling elephant ivory and illegally exporting rhino horns from the U. Photo caption: A piece of carved elephant ivory seized from Zheng. A Rice Farmer admitted to mixing rice and a pesticide for the purpose of killing birds.

Photo caption: Picture of a red-tailed hawk taken at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge trail camera. Raymond J. Reppert, Jr. Photo caption: Illegal elephant ivory was falsely labeled as resin carvings and wood samples. Two Arizona men admitted to using a Robinson 44 helicopter to knowingly harass a pronghorn antelope.

Lumsden Quan, an art dealer from San Francisco was sentenced and fined for his role in the illegal sale of black rhino horn across state lines.

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He was brought to justice as part of Operation Crash — an on-going, undercover, OLE led investigation targeting the illegal trafficking of rhino horn and elephant ivory. Photo caption: Examples of rhino horns seized during Operation Crash. Animal care and conservation leader, Shedd Aquarium, rehabilitated internationally protected juvenile arapaima fish that were confiscated by OLE for the illegal importation for the pet trade industry. Photo caption: Rehabilitated arapaima in Shedd Aquarium's care.

Gene Stock pleaded guilty to taking migratory birds by the aid of bait and aiding and abetting others to do the same. He drove his all-terrain vehicle ATV through the impoundment knocking down stalks of standing corn, spreading grain throughout the impoundment. This viable grain caused a lure or attractant to migratory waterfowl.

Photo caption: This aerial photo of the illegal hunting area shows excessive travel routes made by an ATV through the un-harvested crop. On six occasions, Kai Xu entered the U. Over turtles were hidden in suitcases that were destined to Shanghai. Two Malaysian nationals have been arrested on federal wildlife smuggling charges after they allegedly used mail parcels to illegally smuggle orangutan skulls, and parts of other protected wildlife, into the United States.

Photo caption: In addition to poaching, orangutans are also endangered due to habitat loss. Photo caption: One subject pleaded guilty to two felony violations of the Lacey Act for his role in the illegal take of a brown bear. Service Special Agents led a 4-year manhunt for a fugitive who kept changing his appearance, and took other steps, to avoid detection and arrest, as he traveled through Europe, Israel, and eventually to Mexico where he was arrested and extradited to the U.

A New Jersey man pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the Lacey Act for the unlawful transport of wildlife that was illegally taken. He illegally killed a black bear in New Jersey, transported it across state lines to New York, made false statements, and staged a fake kill site. Photo caption: American black bear. Operation Crash, an ongoing criminal investigation to end the illegal trafficking of rhino horn and elephant ivory, had another substantial conviction. Photo caption: A sample of the elephant ivory products and rhino horn libation cups seized from the antiques dealer.

Lumber Liquidators Inc. The company admitted importation of hardwood flooring, much of which had been illegally logged in far eastern Russia, home of the last remaining Siberian tigers and Amur leopards. Photo caption: Habitat destruction, human population growth, and a demand for tiger parts threaten the survival of all tigers, including Siberian tigers. The Service-led Operation Crash, a continuing effort to end the black market trade of endangered rhino horns, marked another victory as an Iowa man was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison for his role in the illegal sale and transport of two black rhino horns.

Photo caption: About 5, black rhinos still exist in Africa. Nicholas E. A Peruvian national attempted to smuggle over protected orchids his luggage. Photo caption: Orchids were sewn inside pillows, stuffed inside a tissue box, hidden inside a toy box, and hidden inside picture tube containers. Customs and Border Protection. A Georgia man was sentenced to 21 months in prison for stealing loggerhead sea turtle eggs, in violation of the Lacey Act. Photo caption: Loggerhead sea turtle eggs collected illegally from a nest. As part of an investigation led by the U. Fish and Wildlife Service, authorities in Ireland and the United Kingdom tracked, arrested, and extradited to the United States for prosecution a suspected trafficker in black rhino horn.

The extradition exemplifies the international collaboration and global commitment to stop the wildlife trafficking epidemic. Photo caption: Black rhino. A Missouri man pleaded guilty and was sentenced for utilizing a fraudulent tribal identification card to sell his Indian artwork at fairs and online. He will remain in prison to complete his month sentence. Photo caption: Illegal baiting can cause elk to gather in tight groups increasing the possibility to transmit diseases. Photo caption: Red Snapper, Caught in the Act. Photo caption: Rhino Horn Dagger, example of a seized item. Watch the News Segment.

A California man pleaded guilty to selling an illegal rhino horn to an undercover Service agent and in violation of the Lacey Act. Photo caption: The black rhinoceros, and all species of rhinoceros, are protected under U. Photo caption: Blacktip reef sharks are one of the many sharks species hunted for their fins. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons. Photo caption: White-tailed deer were illegally shipped across states. Photo caption: Turtles were wrapped in duct tape and placed in socks to escape detection by the United States Postal Service.

Three juvenile bald eagles died after eating contaminated meat placed by a Wilson, New York resident. Photo caption: Juvenile Bale Eagle. For over 20 years, Native American Conservation Officer Training, has been provided to Tribal conservation wildlife law enforcement officers mostly as a hour in-service training. Three Colorado men pleaded guilty to illegally trafficking in paddlefish caviar after being caught in a U.

Photo caption: American Paddlefish were once common in waters throughout the Midwest; however, is now primarily found in the Mississippi River drainage system. Operation FLYAWAY was a day international crackdown on wildlife trafficking that resulted in seizures of illegal wildlife items at airports and international mail facilities in Miami and Los Angeles.

Photo caption: Service K-9 sniffs out illegal wildlife at an international mail facility. A Federal grand jury handed down a count indictment against Hawaiian Accessories Inc. Photo caption: Black coral is white underwater, but turns black when dried. This event was held to raise awareness of the plight of endangered rhinos and the urgent need of their protection from poaching.

A Natalia, Texas resident pleaded guilty to unlawfully offering to sell and selling migratory birds. This defendant, along with three others, await sentencing after pleading guilty to the same federal charges related to illegally selling migratory birds. Photo caption: Great Horned Owl.

This U. Fish and Wildlife Service investigation revealed that the individual was selling hummingbirds without a valid permit or authorization, which is a felony under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. News Release Additional news coverage Learn more about Hummingbirds. A British Columbia antiques dealer was sentenced to 30 months in prison and was ordered to forfeit wildlife items found during a search of his business. Photo caption: Black rhino with calf. Rhinos have no known predators other than humans. News Release Exhibit Photos.

A Maryland man was sentenced to 18 months in prison, followed by six months of home detention as part of three years of supervised release for conspiring to violate the Lacey Act and defraud the U. The defendant obstructed justice during the investigation--increasing his sentence. Photo caption: An illustration of striped bass-a popular food and sport fish regulated to ensure sustainable populations Photo credit: USFWS. On February 27, a Florida resident pled guilty to 12 charges related to the illegal trafficking of live white-tailed deer.

Photo caption: The Lacey Act was passed in becoming the first federal law protecting wildlife. National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking. The agencies are co-chairs of a task force on Combating Wildlife Trafficking which comprise seventeen federal agencies and offices. Photo caption: , elephants were killed for the illegal ivory trade between and On December 19, , an Oregon based company was sentenced for killing protected birds at a Wyoming wind project pursuant to a US Fish and Wildlife Service investigation.

Photo caption: Wind farm. A New Jersey resident was sentenced following a joint investigation conducted by the U. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Environment Canada into the illegal trafficking in narwhal tusks and associated money laundering crimes. Photo caption: Narwhal tusks from trafficking investigation. Photo credit: L. News Release Learn more. A Maryland resident was sentenced following a joint investigation conducted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the U.

Fish and Wildlife Service into the illegal harvesting of striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay. Indictment Information Sentencing Information. Two Long Island, NY waterfowl hunting guides paid fines after an investigation into migratory game bird hunting laws and regulations. Photo caption: Migratory game bird hunting is regulated under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of , enacted to protect migratory birds from market hunting and other commercial interests.

Photo caption: Seized harlequin duck mount. On November 6, a resident of Iowa was sentenced for violations resulting from a joint Fish and Wildlife and Iowa Department of Natural Resources investigation into the death of an adult bald eagle. In that fight, we will do all we can to prosecute those who traffic in rhino horns and sell rhino hunts to Americans in violation of foreign law. This case should send a warning shot to outfitters and hunters that the sale of illegal hunts in the U. Photo credit: Yathin S.

This week in Phoenix, Arizona, a tribal member of the Navajo Nation from Tuba City, Arizona, became the last defendant to be sentenced following a nationwide investigation — Operation Silent Wilderness — by the U. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife into the illegal killing and commercialization of protected eagles and other migratory birds. Photo caption: A red-tailed hawk soars over U. Fish and Wildlife Service lands. The owner of a long-time Florida business that sells wildlife parts and products as art who pleaded guilty earlier this year to rhino horn trafficking was sentenced today in U.

District Court in Miami. In November , the U. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement crushed six tons of elephant ivory in response to the elephant poaching crisis in Africa. Now the Service invites you to design a way to display the crushed ivory so that it raises awareness of the illegal wildlife trade and reduces demand for illegal ivory. Photo caption: Crushed ivory to be used for outreach on wildlife trafficking.

Ivory Crush. Under this listing, CITES export documents are now required for international trade in oceanic whitetip shark, scalloped hammerhead shark, great hammerhead shark, smooth hammerhead shark, porbeagle shark, and manta rays. Photo caption: Great hammerhead shark.

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Public Bulletin. The defendant, who was arrested in August , was responsible for the deaths of at least 40 birds of prey over a period of several years.

Photo credit: The red-shouldered hawk is considered endangered by the State of New Jersey. Photo caption: Forensic ornithologist Pepper Trail uses a reference specimen to identify macaw feathers. Read the Article. A fourth commercial fisherman who was responsible for the illegal harvest and interstate sale of thousands of dollars worth of striped bass from the Chesapeake Bay has pleaded guilty in Federal court in Maryland to a felony violation of the Lacey Act. Photo caption: Maryland and other Atlantic seaboard States regulate commercial harvest of striped bass a popular food and sport fish to ensure sustainable populations.

Photo credit: Maryland Department of Natural Resources. A New Mexico man who violated the terms of his parole by selling bald eagle feathers a Federal crime has been back in prison since April and will stay there until the beginning of December. A Colorado man pleaded guilty in U. District Court in western Missouri to illegally trafficking in American paddlefish caviar in violation of the Lacey Act.

The defendant was among eight charged federally in a joint undercover investigation conducted by the Office of Law Enforcement and the Missouri Department of Conservation. Another defendant pleaded guilty to Lacey Act violations last November. Photo caption: States regulate harvest of American paddlefish for conservation purposes.

The pair and two other assistant guides routinely trapped, shot, and caged mountain lions and bobcats, later releasing the injured animals to provide sure-fire hunts and quick-to-kill trophies for paying clients. The defendants were trying to improve their hunting opportunities by using poison to kill off wildlife species that prey on the same game. Photo credit: William H. The meeting, which was held one day before the beginning of President Obama's unprecedented U. Photo caption: Elephants in Serengeti National Park. News Release Fact Sheet. Two Maryland fishermen involved in the illegal harvest and sale of nearly , pounds of striped bass pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Lacey Act and to defraud the United States.

Photo caption: Striped bass represent a valuable and carefully managed fishery resource in Maryland. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, helped facilitate a regional training effort in the Philippines for marine enforcement officers from Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Photo caption: Ocean species at risk due to wildlife trafficking include sea turtles, whales, and sharks. Learn More. The defendant, who was investigated by the Service and Environment Canada as part of Operation Crash, was arrested last March in the Bronx after buying two black rhino horns from undercover special agents.

Photo caption: Both rhino poaching and black market trade have surged in response to increased demand for rhino horn. A long-time wildlife dealer operating out of Miami pleaded guilty to brokering the sale of a black rhino shoulder mount in Arizona. Photo caption: The booming market for rhino horn in Asia is imperiling rhino species in Africa. An antiques appraiser in Texas who was investigated as part of Operation Crash pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to traffic in rhino horn and elephant ivory. The defendant was one of three U.

Photo caption: Operation Crash is an ongoing Service investigation targeting illegal trade in rhino horn. Philadelphia businessman Victor Gordon was sentenced in U. Photo caption: Ivory seized from the defendant included whole tusks and carvings made to look like antiques.

Photo caption: Rhino horns smuggled out of the U. A Dallas resident has been indicted in the Eastern District of Texas for smuggling 61 dead hummingbirds into the United States from Mexico. Photo caption: Ruby-throated hummingbird. Photo credit: Bill Buchanan. Fish and Wildlife Service is suspending the importation of sport-hunted African elephant trophies taken this year in Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Concerns about species conservation and management prompted this decision. Photo caption: African elephants in Tanzania. Two California residents have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Las Vegas on felony charges connected with their sale of two black rhinoceros horns to an undercover agent working on Operation Crash -- the Service's ongoing investigation of rhino horn trafficking. The men were arrested on March 19 after closing the deal in a Vegas hotel room. Photo caption: Operation Crash has secured 17 arrests and nine successful prosecutions to date. Photo credit: K.

News Release About Operation Crash. The Office of Law Enforcement is expanding its abilities to target illegal wildlife shipments by joining 10 other Federal agencies with border management or import safety responsibilities as a member of the Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center in Washington, D. Two Service employees will be part of an interagency group of trade and intelligence analysts at the Center, which facilitates information sharing and collaboration across U. Photo caption: Port of Elizabeth, New Jersey. The wildlife included live sea fans, ornamental tropical fish, sharks and alligators illegally collected from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and the Big Cypress National Preserve an area managed by the National Park Service.

Photo caption: Product made from illegally harvested marine species. Photo caption: Birds seized by Service special agents included indigo buntings shown here , painted buntings, and northern cardinals. Two Florida men pleaded guilty under the Endangered Species Act to harassing a female manatee and her calf. The pair helped ensure their conviction when they filmed the incident and posted the video on Facebook.

In the film, one is shown luring the manatees toward a dock so the other can "cannonball" onto them. Photo caption: Manatees are protected as an endangered species.

The Service has issued a Director's Order tightening controls on the trade of elephant ivory and other products made from protected species. The Order represents the first in a series of administrative actions to further restrict commercialization of elephant ivory as called for in the National Strategy on Combating Wildlife Trafficking. Photo caption: African elephants.

A Federal jury in Bangor, Maine, found a New Jersey man guilty of smuggling narwhal tusks from Canada and related money laundering crimes. Photo caption: Narwhals surfacing. Photo credit: NOAA. Three Louisiana residents face a count Federal indictment for bringing live white-tailed deer into Mississippi in violation of State law and the Lacey Act. The group intended to breed the animals for commercial hunting on a wildlife enclosure operated by one of them.

Photo caption: Many States prohibit the transport of deer across their borders to prevent the spread of wildlife disease and protect their own wildlife populations. Two Wisconsin men pleaded guilty to Federal charges in connection with the unlawful poisoning of bald eagles on their property. The father and son pair used the pesticide Carbofuran to kill predators that prey on wildlife that they enjoyed hunting.

Photo credit: Forest Wander Nature Photography. Those prosecuted were involved in the large-scale commercial exploitation of trophy deer and other wildlife. Photo caption: White-tailed deer. In sync with the release of the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking, the Service announced plans to move forward with a near-complete ban on commercial elephant ivory trade.

This ban, which will be implemented over the coming months through a series of administrative actions, responds to the poaching crisis in Africa that threatens to wipe out that continent's elephant populations. Photo caption: Species at risk range from elephants, rhinos, and tigers to sea turtles, sturgeon, and tarantulas.

Photo credit: Trisha M. The Office of Law Enforcement played a critical role in developing this strategy and will contribute to its implementation as well. White House fact sheet Read the Strategy. A New York tropical fish importer and his business admitted in Federal court that they smuggled nearly 40, falsely labeled live piranhas into the country from Hong Kong for sale to retailers in multiple States. Many States regulate the import and sale of these highly aggressive, potentially invasive South American fish.

Photo caption: Piranha jaws. A former reptile store operator in Washington State was sentenced to 12 months in prison and three years of supervised release in connection with a wide-ranging conspiracy to illegally traffic in protected reptile species. This man and five co-defendants operated a two-way smuggling network that was responsible for the illegal export of domestic species and the unlawful importation of foreign reptiles, all via Hong Kong. Trafficked wildlife included Eastern box turtles, North American wood turtles, and Gulf Coast box turtles from the United States; foreign species included a critically endangered Arakan forest turtle, black-breasted leaf turtles, Chinese striped-necked turtles, and big-headed turtles.

Photo caption: Eastern box turtle.

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Photo caption: Many States regulate the sale of black bear parts. A Florida marine life dealer and his business both pleaded guilty to Lacey Act charges in connection with buying and selling unlawfully harvested juvenile nurse sharks. Photo caption: Nurse shark. An Alaska resident was sentenced to serve 15 months in Federal prison for his actions in connection with the illegal take of a walrus from a state game sanctuary on Round Island in May He and a co-defendant who was prosecuted for both firearms and wildlife violations killed the animal, hacked off its tusks, and left the carcass to waste in violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and other laws.

Photo caption: Walrus. The guide pleaded guilty to violating the Lacey Act in connection with the hunt. Photo caption: While the American alligator is no longer considered endangered, hunting and other activities are still regulated by Texas and other States to ensure that species populations remain robust.

Photo credit: Donald W. DeLoach Jr. The company agreed to make the payment as part of a non-prosecution agreement. Photo caption:Cliff swallows often build their nests on walls beneath bridges and overpasses. A member of an Irish crime group who was investigated for rhino horn trafficking by Service special agents working on Operation Crash has been sentenced to 14 months in prison by a Federal judge in Brooklyn, New York.

Photo caption: Black rhino in Tanzania. The owner of a reptile business in Utah and his sister have been indicted by a Federal grand jury on conspiracy and three other felony counts in connection with the smuggling of a wild-caught white boa constrictor. Offspring of the snake, which was unlawfully purchased from a zoo in Brazil and then smuggled to the U. A Colorado big game outfitter and one of his guides have been charged with conspiracy, wildlife trafficking, and creating false records in connection with commercial hunts for which they first captured and maimed mountain lions and bobcats and then released them so waiting clients could easily kill them.

The pair are the subjects of a count indictment based on a cooperative investigation involving Service special agents and State wildlife officers from Colorado and Utah. Photo caption: Bobcat on a tree. Photo credit: G. Special agents from the Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration teamed with wildlife investigators from Environment Canada to document this trafficking.

Photo caption: Narwhals, which have one extremely long tusk, are protected from commercial exploitation under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Protecting Wildlife and Plant Resources. Law Enforcement Stories and News Releases. Man Pleads Guilty for Trafficking Water Monitor Lizards April 23, Derrick Semedo, of New Hampshire, smuggled more than 20 live, internationally protected, water monitor lizards from the Philippines, which were then sold for financial profit.

Seven Charged for an International Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme March 11, A federal grand jury returned a count indictment against four American and three Filipino defendants for violating federal laws including the Indian Arts and Crafts Act. View Video. Speaking Up for Wildlife: How to Report Wildlife Crime February 28, People just like you help us protect everything from native turtles to pallid sturgeon and bald eagles. Turtle Trafficker Pleads Guilty February 08, David Sommers admitted to smuggling live diamondback terrapins that were unlawfully taken from the wild in New Jersey.

Man Sentenced to days in Prison for Possessing a Protected Owl January 31, Jorge Mercado was sentenced to serve time in a federal prison for unlawfully possessing and selling an eastern screech-owl.