Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ukrainian Faces Deportation for Selling Sperm Whale Ivory

Charles Manghis

Recently, a Boston federal judge ordered a 39-year-old Ukrainian man to be deported after he admitted guilty to illegally selling sperm whale teeth to a scrimshaw artist in Nantucket. Andriy Mikhalyov, who had spent the last nine months in federal prison, was responsible for smuggling large amounts of whale teeth in the U.S. He was also charged with conspiring with a Nantucket-based commercial scrimshaw artist named Charles Manghis, who was convicted last year on six felony charges of wildlife smuggling, one count of conspiracy to smuggle wildlife, and two counts of lying to federal agents. Between 2002 and 2005, Mikhalyov had allegedly earned thousands of dollars from selling whale ivory to Manghis, who has been continuing Nantucket's age-old tradition of etching designs on the animals' teeth. Currently awaiting his sentence, Manghis had been commissioned to carve the presidential seal into whale teeth for former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. According to Mikhalyov's lawyer, John H. Cunha Jr., his client was lured into the nation by federal agents who promised him a job as a translator of Russian and Ukrainian languages. He was then arrested on March in Seattle after getting of his plane. As part of his order, Mikhalyov will not be allowed to reenter the U.S for ten years.

This is an extremely interesting article, in which a foreign national convicted on counts of wildlife smuggling be deported back to his homeland. Normally, powerful criminals who specialize in endangering lives of innocent people would meet a fate like this. A classic example was seen in the case of a Russian mobster named Ludwig "Tarzan" Fainberg. After his arrest by federal authorities in Canada during the beginning of the 21st century, he was declared a threat to national security and deported to Israel where he has been living since then. A criminal found guilty on crimes related to wildlife would either end up behind bars, or dead in the hands of authorities. I think it usually depends on the country's laws in protecting its local wildlife. In some countries, especially in Africa, wildlife laws are so strict and dangerous that forest guards are given an order to kill the poachers on sight. In U.S and other nations, however, such laws tend to be more civilized when dealing with wildlife-related crimes. But even with someone like Mikhalyov facing deportation, one can never be sure if he will continue his wildlife smuggling ways or not. That's why I feel that it is important that these people who specialize in smuggling wildlife should be kept under the federal government's radar to prevent them from any further illegal activities.

View article here       

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