- Two men could face up to 20 years imprisonment for allegedly killing two leopards in South Africa in 2002 and smuggling their hides and a skull to United States, US State Department reported.
The leopards allegedly were hunted and killed in South Africa illegally and then smuggled into Zimbabwe to obtain false CITES permits.
Wayne D. Breitag and Jerry L. Mason from South Dakota were indicted for violating Lacey Act, a federal wildlife statute. Mason is charged with smuggling a hide and skull of a leopard while Breitag is charged with smuggling a hide.
According to the indictment, both Mr Breitag and Mason traveled to South Africa in August 2002 to hunt leopards while guided by a South African outfitter named Jan Groenewald Swart doing business as Trophy Hunting Safaris.
An indictment further said Mr Breitag and Mason shot and killed leopards despite being aware that what they were doing was illegal as they were not in possession of permits.
"Because the leopards were killed illegally, neither Mr Breitag nor Mason was able to legally obtain a valid CITES export permit from South Africa," said indictment.
It further implicate Mr Swart for smuggling hides from South Africa into Zimbabwe, with fraudulent CITES export permits, then his accomplices were caught after submitting applications to US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) falsely claiming that they hunted and killed leopards in Zimbabwe.
USFWS said on 5 November 2004, it seized a shipment of five leopard hides and three leopard skulls at the Denver International Airport, which included the hide and skull of leopards that Mr Breitag and Mr Mason killed illegally in South Africa in 2002.
Smuggling is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine, the department said. Lacey Act violations are punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
US District Court for Colorado on 21 May 2007 found Mr Swart guilty for illegal hunting and smuggling of leopards, and was slapped with eighteen-month prison sentence.
The investigation of this case was lead by Special Agents of United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The case is being prosecuted by Environmental Crimes Section of the United States Department of Justice and United States Attorney's Office for the District of Colorado.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.