Victor Gordon, the owner of an art gallery in Philadelphia, has been arrested on charges that he illegally imported more than 2,000 pounds of elephant ivory, The Wall Street Journal reports today.
According to federal prosecutors, Mr. Gordon attempted to disguise the age of the ivory by dying or staining it to give the impression that it predated laws restricting the importation of ivory.
“We all have a responsibility to protect endangered species,” U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said, “both for their sake and for the sake of our own future generations.”
In a late-breaking development, a lawyer for Mr. Gordon claims the whole thing is a misunderstanding, and that his client had been cooperating with the investigation for over a year, after learning that the ivory was recently obtained.
For now, Mr. Gordon has pleaded not guilty, and court has set bail at $1 million.