U.S. Department of Justice Busts Man for Smuggling $725K of Rhinoceros Horns

by Tia Bailey
stock photo

Officials busted a man for smuggling $725K of rhinoceros horns. Because of this, authorities charged the man for unlawful poaching.

According to the U.S. Division of Justice, the man, Malaysian nationwide Teo Boon Ching, took part in “merciless trafficking of endangered and threatened wildlife and the product of brutal poaching.”

“Teo Boon Ching is alleged to be the leader of a transnational criminal enterprise trafficking in rhinoceros horns, enriching poachers responsible for the senseless illegal slaughter of numerous endangered rhinoceros, and furthering the market for these illicit products,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a press release. “The protection of endangered wildlife and the preservation of our natural resources is an important priority for this Office.  Thanks to the tireless efforts of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, this defendant has been caught and brought to the United States to answer for his alleged crimes.”

Ching reportedly smuggled and sold rhino horns, ivory, and pangolins. Officials charged him for trafficking the horns, as well as laundering the proceeds made from the illegal sales.

Once they had proof of his crimes, the U.S. requested Thailand to arrest him, as per the bilateral extradition treaty, according to the press release. Thailand authorities arrested Ching on June 29 of this year.

“This extradition is a major success for wildlife and people.  Thanks to our federal and international partners, this wildlife trafficker now will have his day in court,” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement Assistant Director Edward J. Grace said in the release. “Wildlife traffickers run complex international criminal enterprises that require a multinational law enforcement effort to investigate, arrest and prosecute them for their crimes.”

Wildlife Trafficker Sentenced for Selling Rhinoceros Horns

“I laud the efforts of our special agents, the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of State Office of Foreign Assets Control, and especially the Royal Thai Police for their commitment in addressing this global problem that is pushing many species to extinction,” he continued.

Authorities believe that Ching had conspired the trafficking from at least July 2019 or August 2019. He smuggled at least 73 kilograms of rhinoceros horns, which valued at least around $725,472.

Officials caught him when they used a “confidential source.” Ching had also sent the source photos of what he had available.

When a forensics lab in the United States Fish and Wildlife Service examined the horns in the photos, they discovered they came from black rhinoceros and white rhinoceros. Both of these are endangered species.

Williams praised the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Royal Thai Government for their work in this case.

Currently, Assistant United States Attorney Michael R. Herman is in charge of the prosecution, and the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit is handling the prosecution.