Feds: Pa. shop-owner smuggled ton of banned ivory

July 26, 2011 - 1:14 PM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A man who owns a Philadelphia art store has been charged in New York City with smuggling one ton of banned African elephant ivory into the United States.

Federal prosecutors say 68-year-old Victor Gordon surrendered Tuesday in Brooklyn and was released on $1 million bond.

Authorities say Gordon got his ivory from West and Central Africa and smuggled it through New York. They say Gordon paid someone to buy and carve the ivory, and then had them stain it to appear old.

Conservationists consider the illegal ivory trade a major threat to the African elephant population.

U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, of New York, says the amount of ivory is staggering.

Gordon's lawyer did not immediately return a message. A phone at his downtown store, Victor Gordon Enterprises, appeared to be disconnected.