Rhino Crisis Round Up: U.S. Antiques Dealer Pleads Guilty & More

In the United States, antiques dealer David Hausman has pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and creating false records in relation to rhino horn trafficking.

The Manhattan antiques dealer is one of the suspects arrested in February 2012 as part of “Operation Crash“. Hausman admitted in the plea agreement that he was engaging in criminal acts while pretending to assist the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

While “helping” the USFWS in December 2010, Hausman actually used a “straw buyer” to acquire a black rhino trophy from a Pennsylvania auction house. He replaced the horns with synthetic ones “in order to deceive law enforcement in the event that they conducted an investigation”. Following his February 2012 arrest, Hausman contacted the straw buyer and “they agreed that the rhinoceros mount should be burned or concealed”.

In September 2011, Hausman arranged to purchase a different black rhino trophy from an undercover agent. He asked the undercover agent to send an email stating that the trophy was more than 100 years old, so that he could use an antiques loophole to cover his illicit activity. Hausman also “insisted on a cash transaction and told the undercover agent not to send additional emails so there would be no written record”.

Hausman faces a maximum sentence of 25 years for his crimes — 20 years for obstruction of justice and five years for creating a false record in violation of the Lacey Act.

15 years for rhino killer

Zimbabwe’s Newsday reports that Elasto Dhobho will spend the next 15 years in prison for killing black rhinos in Chiredzi.

Dhobho was found guilty of gunning down a black rhino in both Senuko Safari Ranch and Humani Ranch. Ballistics tests provided additional evidence to help convict this killer.

Rhino horn robbers jailed in Austria

Four Polish nationals have been handed prison sentences for last year’s rhino horn theft in Burg Rastenberg, according to the Austrian Independent.

The head of the gang has been sentenced to four years in prison and the three accomplices have received three years, two years and 15 months suspended sentences.

A fifth member of the gang is under investigation.

Black rhino via Shutterstock

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top