L.A. Merchant Convicted of Making Illegal Ivory Sales

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A local antiques merchant was convicted of illegally selling two ivory tusks in violation of a state law that prohibits the purchase or sale of products containing ivory from animals, City Attorney Mike Feuer said today.

Antonio's Bella Casa Inc., at 868 N. La Cienega Blvd., and owner Anthony James Buccola were each found guilty of two misdemeanor counts of selling ivory. Buccola was sentenced to 36 months of probation, 200 hours of community service or 20 days of county jail, and ordered to pay a $20,507 fine, including penalty assessments, and forfeit the narwhal whale tusks that were sold. The company was placed on 36 months of probation and ordered to pay the same fine.

Feuer's office said the California Department of Fish and Wildlife received information regarding the unlawful commercial sale of ivory at a retail antique store in November 2016, and two illegal narwhal tusks -- measuring 79 an 87 inches -- were later sold to an undercover CDFW warden for $60,000. Narwhals are rare mammals considered “near threatened,” with a total worldwide population of only 50,000, Feuer's office said.

“California is doing its part to stop trafficking of the world's land and ocean dwelling wildlife species that have ivory," said David Bess, deputy director and chief of the Law Enforcement Division of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Assembly Bill 96, which went into effect in July 2016, prohibits the purchase or sale of products containing ivory from animals, including elephant tusks, warthog tusks and whale tusks.

Photo: Los Angeles City Attorney's Office

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