NANTUCKET, Mass., Aug. 1 (UPI) — A Massachusetts scrimshaw artist facing sentencing in an ivory smuggling case is no smuggler, just a man who uses ivory “as his medium,” his lawyer said.
Charles Manghis of Nantucket, convicted of conspiring to smuggle ivory into the United States, faced sentencing in federal court Monday, The Boston Globe reported.
Prosecutors said Manghis helped fuel illegal poaching of animals for their ivory by purchasing it from the black market.
Manghis’ attorneys disagree.
“He is not a smuggler by trade; he’s not a reseller or a dealer of ivory,” said Max Stern, an attorney for Manghis, at a hearing last week. “He has obtained ivory for art and he uses it as his medium.”
Earlier this year a judge ordered the deportation of a Ukrainian man said to be Manghis’ ivory importer.
Importing sperm whale ivory was banned by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Prosecutors said Manghis clearly violated the law.
“There’s a reason we don’t hunt the whales the same way, we don’t use the products the same way — people don’t live that way anymore,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nadine Pellegrini said after Manghis’ conviction.
The conservation group Care for the Wild International said the United States is the second-largest ivory market in the world, behind China.
“Stop the demand for it because that’s what keeps the species safe,” Pellegrini said.
Manghis was convicted of conspiracy, six counts of smuggling and two counts of making false statements regarding the purchase of ivory.