Texas Judge Sentences Irish National to One Year in Prison for Illegal Trafficking of Rhino Horns

A federal judge in Waco, Texas, has sentenced an Irish national to 12 months in prison for conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act in connection to illegal rhinoceros horn trafficking,

Patrick Sheridan was arrested in the United Kingdom in January 2015 pursuant to a provisional arrest by the U.S. He was extradited to the U.S. in September 2015 as part of “Operation Crash,” a nationwide crackdown on rhino horn trafficking conducted by the Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), in coordination with other federal and local law enforcement agencies including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Sheridan was indicted by a federal grand jury in Waco in May 2014. According to the indictment, Sheridan and two others — John Slattery aka John Flynn and Michael Slattery, Jr. — bought two black rhino horns from a Texas taxidermist, using a “straw buyer” to make the purchase. The three men then transported the horns to New York, where they sold them along with other rhino horns they had purchased illegally in Texas.

Michael Slattery Jr. pleaded guilty in a Brooklyn federal court in January 2014 and received a prison sentence of 14 months.

Sheridan pleaded guilty to violating the Lacey Act by illegally trafficking in the purchase and sale of rhino horns and falsifying wildlife documents. He was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Walter S. Smith Jr.

Operation Crash is an ongoing effort to detect, deter and prosecute those engaged in the illegal killing of rhinoceros and the unlawful trafficking of rhinoceros horns. A “crash” is the term for a herd of rhinoceros.

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