Irishman faces prison for involvement in sale of rhino horns


An Irishman faces up to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to forging documents relating to the illegal sale of horns from endangered black rhinos to a New York collector for $50,000 (€37,100).

Michael Slattery jnr (25), who US prosecutors say is linked to a criminal gang from Rathkeale, Co Limerick, made the guilty plea over the trafficking charge in a federal court in Brooklyn, New York.

Slattery was arrested in September at Newark airport in New Jersey while boarding a flight to London. His arrest was part of a law enforcement operation known as Operation Crash into the black market trade in rhino horns, Operation Crash.

Prosecutors said that Slattery used a “straw buyer” to purchase a black rhinoceros mount from a business in Austin, Texas in 2010. The Irishman and his co-conspirators later sold the horns from the mount to an individual in Flushing, New York providing the buyer with a false “endangered species bill of sale.”

Slattery will be sentenced on January 10th.