Woman fined $75K for importing jewelry made from endangered species
RICHMOND, B.C. -- A British Columbia woman has been fined $75,000 for illegally importing jewelry and other items made from endangered animals into Canada.
Environment and Climate Change Canada, which enforces conservation laws, says Xiu Mei Cui pleaded guilty Monday to two charges under the law regulating the trade of plants and animals.
The ministry says she is also barred for two years from importing items listed on the Convention of the International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
The charges stemmed from an incident in October 2014, when Cui was stopped by Canada Border Services at Vancouver International Airport.
Agents found she had undeclared jewelry, carvings and ornaments in her luggage, which later proved to be made from endangered species, including African and Asian elephants, lion, white rhinoceros and hawksbill turtle.
The ministry says most of her fine will go to the government's environmental damages fund.
Interpol says animal smuggling is the fourth most lucrative type of crime, behind illegal drugs, human trafficking and counterfeiting.