Virginia man pleads guilty to selling American Black Bear parts - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Virginia man pleads guilty to selling American Black Bear parts

Photo Credit: Dept. of Justice Photo Credit: Dept. of Justice
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WDAM) -

This is a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Vu Johnnie Nguyen of Virginia Beach, Virginia, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Asheville, North Carolina, to federal charges for unlawfully trafficking in American black bear gall bladders and other American black bear parts, the Justice Department announced.  The conviction arose from a year-long investigation into Nguyen’s unlawful purchase, sale and transportation of American black bear parts from the Western District of North Carolina.  Bear gall bladders and paws are often used in Asian traditional medicine markets.

“The American Black Bear is a beautiful sight to behold by hikers and campers in the Blue Ridge Mountains and elsewhere in North America, and we will not allow their parts, such as gall bladders, to be taken and sold,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.  “Black bears are a protected species under both U.S. and North Carolina laws and we will prosecute those who attempt to deal illegally in their parts."

“Nguyen repeatedly engaged in the illegal trafficking of American black bear gall bladders and other parts, a crime that is both reprehensible and a violation of federal and state laws,” said U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina Jill Westmoreland Rose. “The abundance of American black bears in western North Carolina mountains often attracts the attention of traffickers looking for a steady source of supply of bear parts to satisfy the ever growing demand in domestic and foreign black markets.  Nguyen’s prosecution speaks to our commitment to protect our wildlife resources and to apply stringent punishment to those who ignore the law for profit.”

“When we think of the victims of wildlife trafficking, it’s elephants and rhinos in Africa, tigers in India and parrots in South America that usually come to mind; but there are many animals and plants here in the United States that are also repeatedly subjected to poaching for illegal international trade, including black bear,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe.  “This case shows our continued commitment to bringing criminals who deprive our children of the chance to see these magnificent creatures to justice.”

Nguyen entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Court Judge Dennis Howell for the Western District of North Carolina —specifically, a felony charge under the Lacey Act.  The Lacey Act is the federal law that makes it illegal to transport or sell wildlife taken, possessed, transported or sold in violation of state law.  Animal parts, like American black bear gall bladders, paws, claws and meat are considered wildlife under both the Lacey Act and North Carolina law and under North Carolina law, it is illegal for anyone to possess for sale or buy any bear or bear parts.

According to the documents filed with the court, Nguyen illegally engaged in conduct that involved the sale and purchase and intent to sell 18 American black bear gall bladders, 16 American black bear claws, two American black bear paws and approximately 50 pounds of American black bear meat in 2014.  Nguyen further admitted that on three separate occasions—Jan. 6, 2014, March 5, 2014, and Dec. 17, 2014—he knowingly transported or caused to be transported American black bear parts when he knew that they were sold in violation of North Carolina law.

Nguyen faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  As part of the agreement, he has agreed to publish a statement apologizing for his illegal conduct.

The case is prosecuted by the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section Trial Attorney Shennie Patel and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina in Asheville.  The case was investigated by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Division of Law Enforcement. 

Copyright WDAM 2016. All rights reserved.

  • Local NewsLOCALMore>>

  • Pine Belt shoppers gearing up for Black Friday

    Pine Belt shoppers gearing up for Black Friday

    Sunday, November 19 2017 8:38 PM EST2017-11-20 01:38:20 GMT
    source:wdamsource:wdam

    Black Friday is November 25 and Pine Belt residents such as Emily Brumfield are getting ready for the big night. “I have several things on my list,” says Brumfield. “I have lots of tools. I have items such as guns for my boyfriend and my dad, cooking utensils, an iPod, electronics and all kinds of stuff.”

    More >>

    Black Friday is November 25 and Pine Belt residents such as Emily Brumfield are getting ready for the big night. “I have several things on my list,” says Brumfield. “I have lots of tools. I have items such as guns for my boyfriend and my dad, cooking utensils, an iPod, electronics and all kinds of stuff.”

    More >>
  • Lady Eagles fall to No. 7 Mississippi State

    Lady Eagles fall to No. 7 Mississippi State

    Sunday, November 19 2017 7:57 PM EST2017-11-20 00:57:47 GMT
    Photo credit: USMPhoto credit: USM

    From Special Reports The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs showed Sunday exactly why they are considered one of the top 10 collegiate women’s basketball teams. MSU scored 31 points in the first and third quarters, including a 31-8 blitzing of the University of Southern Mississippi in the opening period and rolled to a 91-56 win at Humphrey Coliseum. “The way that Mississippi State shot the ball in the first I think they could win a national championship,” USM coach ...

    More >>

    From Special Reports The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs showed Sunday exactly why they are considered one of the top 10 collegiate women’s basketball teams. MSU scored 31 points in the first and third quarters, including a 31-8 blitzing of the University of Southern Mississippi in the opening period and rolled to a 91-56 win at Humphrey Coliseum. “The way that Mississippi State shot the ball in the first I think they could win a national championship,” USM coach ...

    More >>
  • Laurel stuns Brookhaven to reach 5th consecutive South State title game

    Laurel stuns Brookhaven to reach 5th consecutive South State title game

    Sunday, November 19 2017 5:07 PM EST2017-11-19 22:07:40 GMT
    Source: WDAMSource: WDAM
    Friday night, the Laurel High School football team found itself in a situation that few thought the Golden Tornadoes could overcome successfully. Few, except a bunch of guys in cardinal and gold on the Laurel sideline. Down 22-14 in its Class 5A South State semifinal game with Brookhaven High School, Laurel scored twice in the final 90 seconds of the game, including Zias Perryman’s game-winning 9-yard touchdown run with 8 seconds to play as the Golden Tornadoes stunned the Pan...More >>
    Friday night, the Laurel High School football team found itself in a situation that few thought the Golden Tornadoes could overcome successfully. Few, except a bunch of guys in cardinal and gold on the Laurel sideline. Down 22-14 in its Class 5A South State semifinal game with Brookhaven High School, Laurel scored twice in the final 90 seconds of the game, including Zias Perryman’s game-winning 9-yard touchdown run with 8 seconds to play as the Golden Tornadoes stunned the Pan...More >>
Powered by Frankly