Hawaii gift store owner admits ivory, coral smuggling

Hawaii gift store owner admits ivory, coral smuggling

Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - The owner of a Hawaii jewelry and gift retail business is pleading guilty in a case involving smuggled ivory and black coral.

Curtis Wilmington says he purchased raw walrus tusks and whale teeth from Alaska, smuggled them to the Philippines to be carved into fish hooks and smuggled the pieces back to Hawaii. Authorities say he then sold the fish hook pendants at hotel boutiques, passing them off as made in Hawaii by local artisans.

Wilmington says he also smuggled black coral from Mexico to Hawaii.

He says he knew it was illegal to ship the items without proper documentation and permits.

Wilmington on Thursday also pleaded guilty on behalf of his company, Hawaiian Accessories, Inc.

Authorities say the fish hooks were sold for about $250 each.

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