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US says 2 Congolese plead guilty to ivory, rhino horn trade

Herdate Lokua, 34, and Josephine Mujangi, 32, of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, were arrested outside Seattle last November before a federal grand jury indicted them on charges of conspiracy, money laundering, kidnapping and kidnapping.

“Both suspects admitted that beginning in November 2019, they agreed to smuggle ivory, white rhinoceros horn, and pangolin scales into the United States,” the Justice Department said in a statement.

They worked with an intermediary to coordinate sales and importation to Seattle, and Logua and Mujangi received three packages of about 49 pounds (22 kg) between August 2020 and September 2020. The Justice Department said the ivory was sent from Kinshasa.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, the pangolin’s flesh is often called “scaly ant” and their scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine, making them one of the most traded mammals in the world.

Representatives for Lokua and Mujangi could not immediately be reached by Reuters.

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