AN IRISHMAN has been sentenced to one year in prison in the United States for illegally trafficking rhino horns.
30-year-old John Slattery, from Rathkeale, Co. Limerick, was extradited to the US in May after being accused of three offences of wildlife trafficking.
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 from a taxidermist in Texas before selling them on to an unnamed buyer in New York for $50,000.
Slattery was found to have given the New York buyer a falsified Endangered Species Bill of Sale, which he and his co-conspirators had modified to make it look as if the sale in Texas was legal, when in fact, it was not.
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.
In 2014, a federal grand charged Slattery’s brother, Michael Slattery Jr. and a co-defendant, Patrick Sheridan with conspiring to traffic in horns from black rhinoceros.
Sheridan – also from Rathkeale – was jailed for a year for trafficking endangered rhino horns.
Rhinos are a critically endangered species.
It's estimated that there are around 28,000 of them left in the wild across southern Asia and sub-saharan Africa.