State files first criminal charges under new animal trafficking law

A Snohomish County man and Seattle man are the first charged under a 2016 law that bans not only the buying and selling of animal parts, but also the distribution of items made from elephants, tigers, sharks, marine turtles and other endangered species.

The office of State Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed the charges this morning.

KIRO 7 first uncovered the investigation in 2018 when Fish & Wildlife agents found more than 1,800 ivory items in one of the men's living room. Investigators showed a number of now-illegal items seized from travelers flying into Washington from other countries, including furs, boots, skin cream and even an elephant tusk.

Advocates for endangered species hope laws like this will eventually cut off demand for the products and better protect targeted animals.

In one of the cases, filed Tuesday, a Seattle man is accused of selling ivory items on eBay, the online bidding site. A detective with the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife received information with search warrants for that site and the suspect's Gmail account, according to court documents.

In the other case, the Snohomish County man is accused of trying to sell African elephant ivory through a Craigslist ad.

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