The Philadelphia store owner accused last summer of smuggling African elephant ivory into the U.S. has pleaded guilty.
Victor Gordon was a target in a multi-year investigation that traced smuggled ivory from JFK International Airport in New York City to his store in Old City Philadelphia.
As National Geographic writer Bryan Christy discussed on Radio Times this morning, Gordon has pleaded guilty to the illegal activity. African elephants are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
“Gordon engaged in an illegal business that directly threatens a protected species. Worldwide demand for illegal ivory continues to drive the plunder and exploitation of the African elephant population,” U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a news release.
Gordon will forfeit about $400,000 worth of ivory and an addition $150,000. He faces up to 20 years in prison. The U.S. Attorney’s office says nine defendants have been convicted as part of the ongoing smuggling investigation.