A Kenyan man alleged to be a member of an international conspiracy to traffic in rhino horns, elephant ivory, and heroin has pleaded guilty in a Federal Court in Manhattan, New York, United States.
Mansur Mohamed Surur, alias Mansour, was involved in the illegal poaching of more than 35 rhinoceros and more than 100 elephants, the United States Department of Justice said in a statement on Wednesday.
Surur, 61, pleaded guilty to conspiring to large-scale trafficking of rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory as well as conspiring to distribute heroin to a buyer located in the United States.
The poacher’s co-defendants: Moazu Kromah, a citizen of Liberia, and Amara Cherif of Guinea, pleaded guilty on March 30, 2022 and April 27, 2022, respectively to conspiring to the trafficking in rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory, as well as substantive charges of trafficking in rhinoceros horns.
“The protection of endangered wildlife and natural resources is a crucial and important priority for my Office. These defendants were responsible for furthering an industry that illegally slaughters species protected by international agreements around the world,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said.
Surur, Kromah and Amara had been charged alongside fellow Kenyans Badru Abdul Aziz Saleh and Abdi Hussein Ahmed.
Badru Abdul Aziz Saleh, who had a $1M bounty placed on his head last Thursday, has since been arrested. He was arrested at Liboi in Garissa County while attempting to cross over to Somalia.
Saleh is in custody in Kenya as authorities process his extradition to the US to face charges. Abdi Ahmen remains at large.