Man Admits to Trafficking Lion and Tiger Skulls in Texas

A New York man stood in a federal court in Plano on Thursday and pleaded guilty to purchasing and re-selling endangered lion and tiger skulls. Federal prosecutors say Arongkron "Paul" Malasukum, a 41-year-old from Queens, admitted to buying the skulls at a Texas auction house through undercover agents who were working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He said he knew his out-of-state purchases could catch the attention of federal authorities, so he gave the undercover agents cash and told them which items to bid on, then shipped the items he won to his New York home before selling them to a buyer in Thailand. As part of his guilty plea, Malasukum said he also exported packages of skulls, claws and other parts of endangered and protected species valued at $150,000. All of the packages were sent to Thailand between April 2016 and June 2016."Reasonable laws are in place to protect endangered animals, and to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to see and enjoy wildlife as we do today," Brit Featherston, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, said in a statement. "There are fewer than four thousand tigers remaining in the wild and they must be protected from harm. Malasukum's illegal actions breed further destructive behavior by others."   Continue reading...

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