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Knifemaker pleads guilty to buying illegal walrus tusks

May 15, 2013 at 2:49 PM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, May 15 (UPI) -- A knifemaker pleaded guilty in an Alaska court to purchasing six restricted walrus tusks from an undercover agent.

John Daniel Graves of Shreveport, La., was charged with a misdemeanor violation of the Marine Mammal protection act in federal court. Only Alaska natives are permitted to sell or buy the raw ivory, which is typically used to create artworks and then resold, the Anchorage Daily News reported Wednesday.

The undercover agent mailed six tusks, a total of about 12 pounds, to Graves in 2012, who later carved a custom knife from one and sent it to the agent as payment, Graves' plea agreement said.

Federal prosecutors recommended a $3,000 fine and one year of probation for Graves.

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