Man pleads guilty to rhino horn smuggling

April 5, 2013 at 11:51 PM

MIAMI, April 5 (UPI) -- A Chinese business executive pleaded guilty in Miami Friday to federal charges he had a carved rhinoceros horn smuggled from the United States to China.

Shusen Wei, 45, faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, along with three years of supervised release when he is sentenced April 29, the U.S. Justice Department said in a release.

Federal authorities said Wei was in Miami for the Original Miami Beach Antique Show in January.

Wei admitted he paid commissions to another individual to purchase objects made of rhino horn in the United States and smuggle them to China

Rhinoceros, which are protected under U.S. and international law, have suffered serious population declines in recent years. High demand for rhinoceros horn, which are used for ornamental carvings, good luck charms and alleged medicinal purposes, has sent black market prices skyrocketing.

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