Iowan imprisoned for buying, transporting rhino horns

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — A taxidermist has been given 27 months in prison for purchasing and transporting black rhinoceros horns from Oregon to Iowa.

Court records say James Hess, of Maquoketa (muh-KOH’-keh-tuh), was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids. He must also serve three years of supervised release after leaving prison.

Hess had pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Lacey Act. The law criminalizes sales of animals protected under the Endangered Species Act. Black rhinos are classified as critically endangered. It’s illegal to traffic their horns across state lines.

Hess has said he bought a pair of horns online from a seller in Oregon. He later shipped them back to Maquoketa and gave them to someone else in Iowa.

Hess owns Wildlife Pride Taxidermy and Decor in Maquoketa.

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