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Fla. artist admits rare wildlife smuggling

MIAMI BEACH, Fla., Dec. 7 (UPI) -- A Miami Beach artist has pleaded guilty to trafficking in protected wildlife Tuesday, federal prosecutors said.

Enrique Gomez De Molina was accused of importing things such as orangutan skulls, a king cobra, a slow loris, a woolly-necked stork and other protected species for use in sculptures he sold for as much as $80,000. The Miami Herald reported Wednesday.

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De Molina pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court.

The U.S. attorney for southern Florida said De Molina evaded laws restricting the import of protected animals or animal parts, and knew he was breaking the law. Sellers of the wildlife in China and other countries were told to wrap the animal parts in carbon paper to conceal the contents, the newspaper said.

He faces up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Sentencing is scheduled for March 2.

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