Wildlife agents in Portland arrested two Malaysian men Friday for allegedly using mail parcels to smuggle illegal wildlife parts, including orangutan skulls, into the United States.

Share story

Wildlife agents in Portland arrested two Malaysian men Friday for allegedly using mail parcels to smuggle illegal wildlife parts, including orangutan skulls, into the United States.

Eoin Ling Churn Yeng, 35, and Galvin Yeo Siang Ann, 33, appeared in U.S. District Court on Monday.

According to a criminal complaint, the men were owners of an online business that smuggled wildlife into the U.S. between 2004 and 2015.

The case started when a routine search of a package being shipped to a home in Forest Grove, Ore., revealed a beak from an endangered bird called a helmeted hornbill.

Big-game hunting

Wildlife officials mounted an undercover investigation called “Operation Pongo” — the scientific name for orangutans. The complaint says the Malaysian men sold agents three orangutan skulls, four helmeted hornbill skulls and several other illegal animal parts.

The offenses carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The arrests come a month after Washington voters approved I-1401, to restrict trade in elephant ivory and other wildlife parts. Advocates in Oregon are gathering signatures for a similar ballot measure.