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Rockland County Man Convicted in $70,000 Illegal Ivory Trade

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) alongside the New York County District Attorney’s Office has successfully convicted Kenneth Kerner, a 59-year-old Rockland County resident, for the felony illegal commercialization of elephant ivory, valued at approximately $70,000. The conviction marks the culmination of a joint investigation initiated in 2020, leading to Kerner’s guilty plea to a class D felony on February 8. The sentencing includes five years of probation, 200 hours of community service, a $10,000 donation to a wildlife Non-Governmental Organization, the forfeiture of three ivory pool cues involved in the illicit transaction, and a $15,000 reimbursement to the DA’s Office.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos commended the collaborative effort in the investigation and prosecution of the case, emphasizing New York’s commitment to the global fight against the illegal ivory trade. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg highlighted the seriousness of the offense, underscoring the city’s resolve to combat the illegal ivory market.

The investigation began in the summer of 2020 when undercover agents from the DEC and the DA’s Office discovered high-end billiard cues made of elephant ivory being sold on social media platforms. An in-person purchase arranged in September 2020 led to Kerner’s arrest and the subsequent legal proceedings.

Officials from both the DEC and the New York County District Attorney’s Office, as well as the Wildlife Conservation Society, have lauded the conviction as a critical step in the ongoing effort to protect endangered elephant populations and curb the illegal ivory trade. The case is part of New York State’s broader initiative to strengthen laws and increase penalties associated with the illegal sale of ivory, demonstrating a firm stance against activities that endanger elephant populations worldwide.

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