Irish man gets 18 months' prison for rhino horn trafficking

Posted at 11:49 AM, Nov 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-15 11:49:05-05

MIAMI (AP) -- An Irish man has been sentenced to 18 months in U.S. prison for the international smuggling of a cup carved from the horn of an endangered rhinoceros.

Court records show a Miami judge imposed the sentence Tuesday on 40-year-old Michael Hegarty.

He pleaded guilty earlier this year to illegally trafficking the rhino horn cup.

Hegarty was arrested in Belgium in January and extradited to the U.S. in July.

Court documents show Hegarty and others purchased the libation cup for about $60,000 from an auction house in North Carolina. The group then took the cup to Florida and falsified documentation to smuggle it from the United States to Europe.

Federal prosecutors say the case is part of an international crackdown on smuggling of items made from protected rhinoceros horns.