St. Cloud State Professor Pleads Guilty to Smuggling Ivory
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A St. Cloud State University philosophy professor has pleaded guilty to illegally smuggling items made of elephant ivory from the United States to China.
Forty-three-year-old Yiwei Zheng also pleaded guilty Wednesday to violating the federal Lacey Act, which bans trade in wildlife, fish and plants that have been illegally taken or sold.
Zheng was indicted last year on multiple counts related to the smuggling of elephant ivory and rhinoceros horns.
As part of the plea deal, Zheng has agreed to pay a $500,000 fine. He also could face roughly three years in prison when he's sentenced in May.
The items Zheng tried to smuggle to China in April 2011 include potted flower carvings, a fan and a carved lion all made of elephant ivory.