^
Keep Houston Press Free
4

Texas Man Was Smuggling Rhino Parts in International Operation

A Texas man pleaded guilty Tuesday in a smuggling operation that dealt in nearly $1 million worth of rhino horns and elephant ivory. Asian art appraiser Ning Qiu, of Frisco, took part in the operation, which was busted up in "Operation Crash".

The nationwide sting was led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Justice Department to crack down on the black market for rhinoceros horns and other objects.

The smuggling operation, according to authorities, stretched from Texas to New Jersey to Hong Kong.

"I am pleased that the Eastern District of Texas could be a part of the 'Operation Crash' investigation as well as the guilty plea today, and I congratulate the investigative team for a job well done," U.S. Attorney John Malcolm Bales of the Eastern District of Texas said in a statement. "The criminal activity undertaken by the defendant in this case is a stark reminder that this matter is not about serving Asian cultural and medicinal practices; it's about greed, organized crime and the depletion of a species that - without our focused efforts to fight this trade - may not be around for our children to see."

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Qui, 43, pleaded guilty to being part of an illegal wildlife smuggling conspiracy. According to the Justice Department Qiu admitted to working at a Dallas auction house that specialized in rhinoceros horn and elephant ivory carvings. Qui faces 25 months in prison and a $150,000 fine.

According to the Department of Justice:

Between 2009 and 2013, Qiu purchased and smuggled to Hong Kong at least five raw rhinoceros horns weighing at least 20 pounds. Qiu smuggled the raw rhino horns by first wrapping them in duct tape, hiding them in porcelain vases and falsely describing them on customs and shipping documents, including by labeling them as porcelain vases or handicrafts.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.