July 11, 2013

More than 150 charged for trafficking in endangered animals

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON  — More than 150 people face federal and state charges after authorities disrupted online wildlife trafficking operations involving tiger, leopard and jaguar pelts, elephant ivory and live birds.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the arrests Thursday after an undercover operation that included officers from 16 states, three federal agencies and three Asian countries.

Items seized under "Operation Wild Web" include the pelts of endangered big cats such as the Sumatran tiger, leopard and jaguar; live migratory birds such as the California scrub jay; whale teeth; and elephant and walrus ivory.

Federal officials worked with officials in California, Texas, New York, Florida and Alaska and other states. Wildlife officers in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia ran similar operations at the same time.

The items were seized last August.

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