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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Anderson Man Sentenced for Smuggling Orangutan Skulls

VICTORIA, Texas – A professional reptile breeder has entered a guilty plea to smuggling two orangutan skulls into the country from Indonesia, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson along with Southwest Region Special Agent in Charge Nicholas E. Chavez of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).

Graham Scott Criglow, 39, pleaded guilty before Senior U.S. District Judge John D. Rainey today. Criglow was ordered to pay a $2,500 fine and must serve three years of probation.

“One of our highest priorities is to combat wildlife trafficking here in the United States and abroad as we are on the front lines protecting those animals listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species,” said Chavez. “The successful outcome of this investigation is also the result of working with the U.S. Attorney's Office, where these individuals and companies are held responsible for their actions. I hope this sentence sends a strong message to those that are involved in smuggling wildlife that the crime is not worth the outcome.”

Criglow was charged by a criminal information with one count of smuggling two orangutan (Pongo species) skulls into the U.S.  Orangutans are protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The ESA prohibits any person subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. to engage in the trade of any wildlife contrary to the provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

During the plea today, the court learned that Criglow was the owner of Strange Cargo Exotics, which was an Internet-based wildlife related business he operated from his Anderson residence. Criglow’s business was engaged in the breeding, sale and trade of reptiles, including venomous snakes. 

In April 2016, FWS inspectors at the San Francisco International Airport examined a parcel from Indonesia addressed to Criglow. The parcel lacked an Indonesian customs declaration and was screened using an x-ray machine. The inspectors determined the parcel contained two primate skulls. A morphology examination determined the wildlife was two orangutan skulls. 

In May 2016, agents conducted a controlled delivery of the skulls at Criglow’s residence and executed a search warrant, at which time agents located several other animal skulls and bones. Authorities also located human remains including approximately 30 human skulls which were found to be legally purchased by Criglow for his personal collection.

The charges were the result of an investigation conducted by FWS with the assistance of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the  Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Hugo R. Martinez is prosecuting the case.

Topic(s): 
Wildlife
Component(s): 
Updated September 8, 2016