The transnational criminal enterprise, according to investigations, is based in Uganda and surrounding countries and was engaged in the large-scale trafficking and smuggling of rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory, both protected wildlife species.
The gang has operated East African countries since 2012, and it is estimated that it has smuggled at least approximately 190 kilograms of rhinoceros horns and at least approximately 10 tons of elephant ivory from Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal, and Tanzania, to buyers located in the United States and countries in Southeast Asia.
“Typically, the defendants exported and agreed to export the rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory for delivery to foreign buyers, including those represented to be in Manhattan, in packaging that concealed the rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory in, among other things, pieces of art such as African masks and statues. The defendants received and deposited payments from foreign customers that were sent in the form of international wire transfers, some which were sent through U.S. financial institutions, and paid in cash,” the statement added.
Kromah was arrested in Uganda on June 12, 2019, and expelled to the United States. He was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker in June and detained.
Cherif was arrested in Senegal on June 7, 2019, and remains in custody in Senegal pending a process through which his extradition, deportation or other lawful removal to the United States is being considered by Senegalese authorities.
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