Man charged with selling African elephant tusks

Published On: May 23 2013 11:04:18 AM EDT

PENSACOLA, Fla. -

A New Mexico man is facing federal charges in the Florida Panhandle after authorities say he sold two African elephant tusks.

The U.S. Department of Justice reports that a grand jury in Pensacola indicted Charles Kokesh Tuesday on three counts, including violating the Endangered Species Act and making a false statement.

Officials say Kokesh legally imported a sport-hunted African elephant trophy mount from Namibia, but then illegally sold the two tusks, from New Mexico, to a buyer in Florida for $8,100. Authorities say Kokesh then falsely described that sale to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a shipment to an appraiser in anticipation of a donation to a nonprofit entity.

African elephants are protected under the Endangered Species Act and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

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