AN IRISHMAN who admitted smuggling a cup made from the horn of a protected species of rhinoceros has been sentenced in a US court.
50-year-old Richard Sheridan, along with another Irish national Michael Hegarty, bought a libation cup made from rhinoceros horn at an auction in North Carolina, subsequently smuggling it out of the country, according to RTE.
Michael Hegarty had previously pleaded guilty to the charges in 2017 and was ordered to carry out 18 months in prison and three years of supervised released.
Richard Sheridan, meanwhile, had to be extradited to the US from his home in the UK in order to face charges in August this year.
He has now been sentenced to 14 months in a US prison followed by two years of supervised release.
US Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark welcomed the sentence, saying:
"We will continue to work with our international partners to fight the trade in protected and endangered species, and organised criminal enterprises associated with it".
There are only about 30,000 rhinos left on the planet. Poachers target the animals for their horns, which are incredibly valuable on the black market.
Certain species, such as the Sumatran Rhino and the Javan Rhino, are so endangered that there are less than 100 left in the wild.