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Anchorage man charged with buying Pacific walrus tusks, head mount

This photo provided by the United States Geological Survey shows a female Pacific walrus...
This photo provided by the United States Geological Survey shows a female Pacific walrus resting, Sept. 19, 2013 in Point Lay, Alaska. (Ryan Kingsbery/U.S. Geological Survey via AP)(KTUU)
Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 12:17 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - An Anchorage man was charged with two counts of wildlife trafficking misdemeanors by the Alaska Department of Justice Tuesday after purchasing several Pacific walrus tusks and a head mount. According to the department, 70-year-old Uzi Levi was charged with the misdemeanor after violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

The act makes it a crime for a non-Alaskan Native to “transport, purchase, sell, export or offer to purchase, sell or export any marine mammal or marine mammal product for any purpose other than public display, scientific research or enhancing the survival of a species or stock or any marine mammal part that has not been made into an authentic native article of handicraft,” according to the release.

If convicted, Levi could face up to a year in jail, depending on the final results of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investigation. The department said Levi is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 6.

The release says a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agent saw an Alaska Native man drop off a two-tusked walrus head mount at the car rental business owned by Levi.

The agent went undercover to rent a car from Levi’s business, according to the release, and explained to an unidentified employee that he didn’t have enough money to pay for the rental, asking about other methods, such as a trade or barter. The employee called Levi, who went into details with the agent about how to arrange a trade with the agent involving non-handcrafted walrus ivory.

Levi bought six Pacific walrus tusks on July 13, 2020, and a three-tusked walrus head mount on Sept. 29, 2020.

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