Stonex Corp., a Manhattan-based jewelry wholesaler, pleaded guilty to one count of felony-level Illegal Commercialization of Wildlife according to Joe Martens, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner.
Shashikumar Krishnaswamy, the company’s owner, will forfeit more than 70 pounds of ivory pieces. (Their estimated retail value is more than $30,000.) He will also donate $10,000 to the Wildlife Conservation Society for use in elephant conservation programs worldwide.
This is not the first New York–based company to have been charged with a wildlife-related felony in recent years. Last year Raja Jewels Inc. and New York Jewelry Mart Corp., pleaded guilty for their roles in the illegal sale of elephant ivory. In total, the amount of ivory seized from all three businesses is nearly a ton, with an estimated retail value of more than $2 million.
Under the New York State Environmental Conservation Law, it is illegal for anyone to sell or possess with intent to sell any articles made from endangered or threatened species of wildlife, unless the seller has been granted a license to do so from DEC.
“As this case and others show, New York City is still a major market in the country for the illegal wildlife trade,” said Martens in a statement. “New York has zero tolerance for those who would profit from the sale of endangered and threatened species. Many species around the world are teetering on the brink of extinction due to poaching to supply the illegal wildlife trade, especially elephants.”