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Press Release

Wabasha Antiques Dealer Sentenced To Pay $100,000 Fine For Smuggling Elephant Ivory

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Minnesota

United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger today announced the sentencing of JAY ANTHONY ANDERSON, 66, for smuggling elephant ivory from the United States in violation of the Lacey Act. ANDERSON, who pleaded guilty on June 6, 2016 to one count of smuggling and one count of violating the Lacey Act, was sentenced on September 20, 2016 before U.S. District Judge Susan R. Nelson in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minn.

ANDERSON was the owner and operator of an antique business, located in Wabasha, Minn., as well as a website used to sell items through various online auctions. According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, from January 2011 through May 2013, ANDERSON sold more than $200,000 worth of elephant ivory, domestically and abroad. The defendant used online advertising to target buyers located in Asia and used third-party shippers so that he would not have to personally ship the ivory internationally.

According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, on June 10, 2011, ANDERSON, knowingly attempted to export a carving made from elephant ivory 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 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.

"Dealers in the United States often begin illegally buying and selling rare wildlife after being lured by the prospects of huge profits. They choose to disregard how their greed fuels the black market and how the market affects living populations," said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Resident Agent in Charge Pat Lund, supervisor for Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. "We also find that many people think they won’t get caught or if they do, the consequences will be minimal. This sentence should serve as a reminder that this is not always the case," continued Lund.

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.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew S. Dunne.


Defendant Information:                                                                                                                     


Wabasha, Minn.


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


  • $100,000 fine payable to the Lacey Act Reward Fund
  • Two years’ probation
  • Forfeiture of elephant ivory totaling $85,000
  • 200 hours community service






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


Updated September 22, 2016