A U.S. judge has sentenced a Liberian man to 63 months in prison for conspiring to traffic millions of dollars in horn and ivory from endangered rhinos and elephants, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

Moazu Kroma, a resident of Uganda, was extradited from the West African country to the United States in June 2019 and has been in custody since then. He pleaded guilty in March of this year to one count of conspiracy to commit wildlife trafficking and two counts of wildlife trafficking, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said in a statement.

The trafficking conspiracy involved the illegal poaching of more than 35 rhinos and more than 100 elephants.

Williams praised the more than five-year sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge Gregory H. Woods.

“Today’s sentence demonstrates that those responsible for the destruction of global populations of animals that are threatened with extinction and protected by international agreements will face serious consequences,” he said.

Kroma, 49, and his accomplices had buyers in the United States and Southeast Asia, trafficking at least 190 kilograms of rhino horn and at least 10 tons of ivory from East African countries between about 2012 and 2019.

Estimated average retail values ​​for rhino horn and ivory were at least around $3.4 million and $4 million, respectively.

During the course of the investigation, law enforcement officers intercepted several packages destined for buyers in Manhattan that contained rhino horns.

They hid some animal parts in artwork, such as African masks and statues, New York investigators say.

Poaching is fueled by a seemingly insatiable demand for rhino horn in Asia, where people pay huge sums for the substance, coveted as a traditional medicine, which is made up mainly of keratin, the same substance found in human fingernails.

Kromakh is one of five people accused of participating in a criminal organization.

Kenyan Mansur Mohamed Surur was extradited to the U.S. last year and pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges, Williams’ office said in a June statement.

Guinean Omara Sherif is also in custody in the US and pleaded guilty to the charges against him in April of this year.

Co-accused Badru Abdul Aziz Saleh and Abdi Hussain Ahmed have reportedly been arrested.

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