LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — A Louisiana man has been sentenced to six months in prison for selling a stolen black rhinoceros horn to undercover federal agents, according to court records.
U.S. District Judge Donald Walter also on Tuesday sentenced Patrick Dylan Drawl, 31, of Lake Charles, to one year of supervised release after his prison term ends.
Drawl pleaded guilty in December to violating the federal Lacey Act, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The head of McNeese State University’s biology department contacted campus police in March 2017 to report that a horn had been stolen from a mounted black rhinoceros head on display in the department’s Lake Charles building, a court filing says.
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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents later found a black rhinoceros horn for sale on a website, with the seller’s contact information in Sulphur, Louisiana. An undercover agent called Drawl last May and arranged to meet him in Lafayette, Louisiana, to purchase the horn for $800. Police officers arrested him as he drove away from federal agents.
The black rhinoceros is listed as an endangered species covered by the Endangered Species Act, which prohibits the sale of the animal or any of its parts without a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The black rhinoceros is a species native to eastern and central Africa and is on the brink of extinction primarily because of poaching of its horn, a court filing says.