Three people were charged this week with wildlife smuggling and related charges for their alleged roles in an international rhino horn smuggling ring in Newark, Miami and New York City, officials at the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.
A federal grand jury in Newark indicted Zhifei Li for international smuggling of rhinoceros horns, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said. In addition, a Miami federal grand jury also indicted Li on the same charge.
Shusen Wei, a 44-year-old Chinese business executive and Li associate was charged with offering a bribe to a federal agent in the Li case.
A third person, Qing Wang, was charged Wednesday in a related criminal complain in federal court in the Southern District of New York for his role in smuggling libation cups carved from rhinoceros horns from New York to Li via Hong Kong, officials said.
The arrests and charges were the result of “Operation Crash,” a nationwide effort by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Justice Department to investigate and prosecute those involved in the black market trade of endangered rhinoceros horns, Fishman said.