A LIMERICK man has been extradited to the US on charges of trafficking the horns of endangered wild black rhinoceroses.
John Slattery, 30, from Fairhill, Rathkeale, Co Limerick was arrested and surrendered to the US Marshall Service at Dublin airport earlier today.
Mr. Slattery’s extradition was sought by US authorities on charges of illegal wildlife trafficking in relation to the sale and transport of horns from endangered wild black and white rhinoceroses.
According to RTE, the Limerick man is one of three individuals suspected of using a “straw buyer” to purchase rhino horns from a taxidermy shop in Austin, Texas.
It is alleged that Mr. Slattery illegally purchased the horns for $18,000 before selling them on to an unnamed buyer in New York for $50,000.
The Irishman also stands accused of allegedly buying two other horns originally belonging to a black and a white rhino, from a buyer in Macron, Missouri for $10,000.
Mr. Slattery had willingly surrendered himself to the US authorities, a high court has been told, with his extradition only delayed because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Though he was out on bail, 20 gardaí from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (GNBCI) arrested him and handed him over to US Marshalls at Dublin airport prior to his extradition.
Speaking after the arrest, Detective Superintendent Michael J. Mullen, GNBCI, said:
"This international cooperation between An Garda Síochána, Special Crime Operations and law enforcement agencies of the United States of America highlights our continued commitment to combating cross jurisdictional crime and in working closely with our international counterparts”.