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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Minnesota

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Antiques Dealer Pleads Guilty To Smuggling Elephant Ivory

United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger today announced the guilty plea of JAY ANTHONY ANDERSON, 66, for smuggling elephant ivory from the United States in violation of the Lacey Act. ANDERSON, who was charged on May 16, 2016, pleaded guilty to knowingly importing and exporting objects made from elephant ivory in violation of the laws and regulations of the United States, including the Lacey Act and the Endangered Species Act. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, on June 10, 2011, ANDERSON, knowingly attempted to export an object made from elephant ivory, described as a “CARVED CHINESE IVORY FIGURE OF A [sic] ELDER FISHERMAN,” to a buyer located in Foshan City, China for approximately $1,356.00. ANDERSON attempted to export the elephant ivory through the United States Postal Service declaring the object as “RESIN CARVINGS” valued at $30.00, when in fact the defendant knew the object was made from elephant ivory and held a much higher monetary value. On June 23, 2011, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials inspected and intercepted the package at an International Mail Facility in Chicago, Ill.

According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, from January 29, 2012 through December 31, 2012, ANDERSON knowingly violated the laws and regulations of the United States by buying and selling an object made from elephant ivory with a market value of more than $350.00. Specifically, on January 29, 2012, ANDERSON purchased an object made from elephant ivory described as “IVORY HANd [sic] CARVED CRUCIFIX circa 1920” from an auction house in Montreal, Canada for approximately $300.00. ANDERSON subsequently sold the elephant ivory object for approximately $700.00, describing it as an “18th/19th CENTURY IVORY & EBONY EUROPEAN CRUCIFIX.” At the time the elephant ivory object was purchased and imported, ANDERSON failed to submit a declaration to USFWS, as required by law.

The fair market value of the illegal elephant ivory products documented in this case was between $40,000 and $95,000.

"Thanks to the diligent interdiction work of our Chicago-based wildlife inspectors, our special agents can build quality cases like these and stop those who try to illegally profit from the tusks of elephants,” said Edward Grace, the Service’s Deputy Assistant Director for Law Enforcement. “We will continue to investigate these crimes until ultimately elephants are brought back from the brink of extinction,” continued Grace.

Under the Lacey Act, it is unlawful to import, export, transport, sell or purchase wildlife, fish or plants that were taken, possessed, transported or sold in violation of a state, federal or foreign law. When it was passed in 1900, the Lacey Act became the first federal law protecting wildlife.

This case is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew S. Dunne.


Defendant Information:                                                                                                                     


Wabasha, Minn.


  • Smuggling, 1 count
  • Violation of the Lacey Act, 1 count




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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600

Updated June 8, 2016