Tag Archives: smuggling
NEW YORK |
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A man who evaded authorities for 23 years on charges he unlawfully imported more than $ 10 million worth of caviar into the United States was spared jail time at his sentencing on Monday.
Instead, a judge in U.S. District Court in Manhattan imposed a punishment of time already served on Isidoro “Mario” Garbarino, 69, who has been in custody since September 10.
An Italian national, Garbarino was also fined $ 10,000 and will likely be deported to Italy.
Garbarino was indicted in 1987. But while free on bail he fled to Italy in 1989 and remained a fugitive, mainly in South America, until he was captured in September 2012 by U.S. marshals at an airport in Panama.
In November, Garbarino, who owns Aquamar Gourmet Imports Inc., pleaded guilty to falsely classifying imported goods and making false statements and agreed to pay $ 3 million in restitution.
The former caviar importer was charged with smuggling more than 100,000 pounds of Russian and Iranian caviar into the United States between 1984 and 1987, in part to avoid tariffs. His company supplied the fish roe to gourmet stores such as Zabar’s in New York as well as major air and cruise lines, prosecutors said.
At his sentencing before U.S. District Judge Kevin Duffy, Garbarino fought back tears as he apologized.
“I’m sorry,” said Garbarino. “There are no words in the vocabulary for me.”
(Reporting By Bernard Vaughan; Editing by Martha Graybow and Nick Zieminski)
Ambassadors and envoys the world over have long utilized the “privileges” of diplomatic immunity that have seen them escape charges of rape, child abuse, and even manslaughter – but apparently such immunity does not extend to marijuana cases.
Late last week, Ethiopian diplomatic official Amelework Wondemagegne was found guilty of attempting to smuggle 123 pounds of marijuana (worth a reported $ 249,000) through Heathrow Airport in April. Ms. Wondemagegne was …More
Joe | Aug 01, 2012 | Comments 0
In this video a border patrol agent basically explains one way to smuggle marijuana into the United States from Mexico, but he also talks near the end of the video about how authorities reduce profitability of the cartels through their operations.
He is right that reducing cartel profitability is the key to defeating them, but he fails to see that legalization would do the exact same thing, just more effectively and efficiently and instead of costing money, it would make tax money for local governments and beyond.
NEW YORK |
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. officials on Friday seized the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus dinosaur that Mongolia wants returned on suspicion that it was smuggled to the United States from the Gobi desert.
The bones of the tyrannosaurus bataar, an eight-foot-tall, 24-foot-long cousin of the Tyrannosaurus rex, were taken in a moving van from the Cadogan Tate Fine Art storage company in Queens, where they had been stored in four large wooden crates.
The President of Mongolia, Elbegdorj Tsakhia, demanded that the skeleton be returned to his country after it was auctioned on May 20 for $ 1.05 million by Dallas-based Heritage Auctions.
The buyer of the skeleton was never disclosed. But the man who acquired the skeleton and offered it to Heritage for auction, said he has been unfairly labeled as a smuggler.
“I’m just a guy in Gainesville, Florida trying to support my family, not some international bone smuggler,” commercial paleontologist Eric Prokopi said in a statement.
“It’s been claimed that I misrepresented what was being imported and did not properly declare its value. I can wholeheartedly say the import documents are not fraudulent,” Prokopi said in the statement issued through Heritage.
A U.S. government lawsuit filed on Tuesday on behalf of Mongolia said the customs forms filed when the skeleton was imported incorrectly stated the country of origin was Great Britain, its value was $ 15,000 instead of $ 1 million it sold for, and mentioned only reptiles not dinosaurs.
Prokopi did not say in his statement where or from whom he acquired the skeleton. He said that when he received the tyrannosaurus bataar, it was a collection of loose, mostly broken bones and rocks with embedded bones. Prokopi said he and his wife spent thousands of hours preparing and mounting the skeleton, which increased its value, before it was auctioned.
On Monday, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara filed a lawsuit seeking the forfeiture of the skeleton to the Mongolian government. An order to seize the fossil was issued on Tuesday.
Robert Painter, the lawyer representing Mongolia, said that the dinosaur will be held by the U.S. government while legal proceedings on its future continue.
Anyone who comes forward to claim ownership of the skeleton will have to prove they are the rightful owner or the U.S. will repatriate the skeleton to Mongolia.
“Today we send a message to looters all over the world: We will not turn a blind eye to the marketplace of looted fossils,” Mongolian President Tsakhia said in a statement.
The skeleton was discovered in 1946 during a joint Soviet-Mongolian expedition to the Gobi Desert, Bharara said.
Heritage Auctions and the Mongolian government agreed in May to jointly investigate the ownership of the skeleton. Several paleontologists examined the bones and determined they were removed from the western Gobi Desert between 1995 and 2005.
(Reuters) – A Las Vegas man who tried to sneak 115 oven-ready iguanas into the United States from Mexico has been sentenced to two years in prison for illegally importing the reptiles, authorities said on Thursday.
A federal judge ordered Eliodoro Soria Fonseca, 38, to serve 24 months in prison, the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of California said.
Fonseca was arrested as he tried to cross into California through the Otay Mesa port of entry, south of San Diego, last June with the iguana meat packed in coolers.
A search found the beheaded, skinned, and deboned bodies of 115 green iguanas weighing 159 pounds (72 kg) hidden beneath fish in the coolers.
“According to admissions in his guilty plea, the defendant imported the iguana meat for the purpose of serving it as food to humans,” the attorney’s office said in a press release.
Green iguanas are eaten in Mexico and Central America. They are enjoyed in stews or roasted and served in tacos or flautas, usually with condiments. Some recipes recommend parboiling the reptiles first.
But iguanas are also regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). While they are not endangered, CITES say they may become threatened if trade is not tightly controlled.
Fonseca, who said he obtained the iguanas in Nayarit in western Mexico, had neither an import license from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service nor any CITES permit from Mexico’s wildlife management authority.
According to sentencing documents, a researcher working for an iguana conservation program in Mexico concluded that removing more than 100 iguanas from the Nayarit area essentially “means that the local population was technically wiped out.”
The sentencing hearing noted the risk of food poisoning from iguana meat, which prosecutors said frequently carries salmonella bacteria.
(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Xavier Briand)