Last week, Vinh Chuong “Jimmy” Kha, 49, was sentenced to 42 months for his part in an operation that authorities say boosted the illegal poaching of rhinoceros in Africa.
His son, Felix Kha, 27, was given a prison term of 46 months for his work with his father, which also included the paying of bribes to customs officials in at least one other nation.
The sentences were handed down on May 15 in federal court in Los Angeles by U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder, who called the accused’s actions “conduct not acceptable by anyone in the world.”
Rhino horns can sell for as much as $25,000 each and are prized for use as cups or to make folk medicines, including what some believe as aphrodesiacs.
The rising value of the horns has driven the black rhino to the brink of extinction, say authorities.
In addition to the prison terms, each of the Khas must pay a $10,000 fine, as well as a cumulative $185,000 in tax fraud penalties to the Internal Revenue Service.
The Khas were among 14 people charged with federal crimes as a result of Operation Crash, led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.