Malaysians plead guilty to wildlife smuggling in Oregon - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Malaysians plead guilty to wildlife smuggling in Oregon

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PORTLAND, OR (AP) - Two Malaysian nationals pleaded guilty to smuggling wildlife into the United States and were sentenced by a judge in Portland, Oregon, to six months in federal prison.

The investigation began three years ago, when authorities found a helmeted hornbill mandible while searching an international package headed to Forest Grove, Oregon. Undercover agents then purchased orangutan skulls, bear claws, a wild pig skull and other parts.

Prosecutors said the men - 35-year-old Eoin Ling Churn Yeng and 33-year-old Galvin Yeo Siang Ann - owned an online business that was responsible for smuggling $95,000 worth of endangered wildlife parts into the U.S. since 2004.

After Wednesday's plea and sentencing, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Chief Edward Grace said orangutans are one of the rarest great ape species, and possessing such a skull as a trophy won't be tolerated.

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