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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Canadian Man Detained on Money Laundering Charges Stemming from Conspiracy to Smuggle Narwhal Tusks

Gregory R. Logan was held in custody today, pending his trial on money laundering charges related to a conspiracy to smuggle narwhal tusks from Canada, through Maine, to customers in the continental United States announced Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.  Logan, 58, of St. John, New Brunswick, was extradited to the United States on March 11, 2016, to face trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine in Bangor.  Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. ruled today that Logan must remain in custody until his trial which is currently scheduled for May 3, 2016.

Logan, a retired member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, was indicted in November 2012 and charged with conspiracy, smuggling and money laundering.  Logan was arrested in Canada, based on a request from the United States, in December 2013.  Logan pleaded guilty to a related wildlife smuggling crime in Canada and the terms of his extradition limit the case against him in the United States to conspiracy to launder money and money laundering.  To prove those counts at trial, the United States must show that Logan committed “specified unlawful activities” or “SUAs,” and that he “laundered” the illegal proceeds of those SUAs.  As alleged in the indictment, Logan’s SUAs were smuggling narwhal tusks into the United States and then selling them to collectors.  Logan then laundered the proceeds by having the money transferred out of the United States in order to further the smuggling conspiracy.

Also charged in the original indictment were Jay G. Conrad of Lakeland, Tennessee, and Andrew J. Zarauskas of Union, New Jersey.   Zarauskas was convicted after a jury trial in Bangor and sentenced to 33 months in prison.  Conrad has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

According to the indictment, starting in 2000, Logan smuggled at least 250 narwhal tusks worth more than $2 million by transporting them across the border in false compartments in his vehicle.  Conrad and Zarauskas, and others, bought the narwhal tusks from Logan, knowing the tusks had been illegally imported into the United States and sold or attempted to sell the tusks after their illegal importation.  Logan retired from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 2003.

Narwhals are medium-sized toothed whales that are native to the Arctic.  Given the threats to their population, narwhals are protected domestically by the Marine Mammal Protection Act and internationally by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) – an international treaty to which more than 170 countries, including the United States and Canada, are parties.  It is illegal to import narwhals, or their parts, into the United States without a permit and any such importation must be declared to U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

“As this case shows, wildlife trafficking can involve millions in illegal transactions, compounding the damage it does to the wealth and diversity of life on our planet,” said Assistant Attorney General Cruden.  “By pursuing the criminal financial transactions that flow from trafficking, we are making a less attractive and more costly enterprise.  We are extremely grateful to Canadian law enforcement authorities and all of our international partners who are side by side with us in the fight against such trade.” 

“Modern wildlife crime investigations often track money as much as they track animals,” said Deputy Chief Ed Grace of Law Enforcement for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  “This case shows the breadth of the illegal wildlife trade, normally associated with elephant ivory and rhino horn.  Even species of the deep polar waters are not safe until we extinguish the market for protected animals and with it, the livelihood of criminal profiteers who benefit from their exploitation.”

“There is a global commitment to erase profits from trade in protected marine mammals,” said Assistant Administrator Eileen Sobeck of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries.  “We're grateful for the cooperation that has led to justice being served and will continue to work with our international, federal and state law enforcement partners to ensure marine resources are protected now and into the future.”

The charges against Logan are merely allegations and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.  Money laundering is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and fines of up to $500,000.

The case was investigated by special agents of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Law Enforcement; U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement; and Wildlife Officers from Environment and Climate Change Canada.  The case is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney James B. Nelson and Trial Attorney Lauren D. Steele of the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division.  The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided substantial assistance.

Press Release Number: 
Updated March 16, 2016