By James A. Foley
It has emerged that on the same day US President Barack Obama was in Tanzania to announce increased aid to combat wildlife trafficking, a former US government official was arraigned after being caught with nearly two pounds of ivory he meant to smuggle out of Kenya.
American national David McNevin, who once served as a defense attaché at the American embassy in Kenya, was arraigned on July 1, just as Obama committed an additional $10 million in anti-wildlife trafficking aid in neighboring Tanzania.
McNevin was found with "five ivory bangles, seven ivory finger rings, seven ivory pendants and two pieces of worked ivory" weighing a total of 1.8 pounds (0.8 kg), the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) reported.
McNevin was arrested at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport while trying to board a flight to Amsterdam on night of June 29.
According to The New York Times, McNevin pleaded guilty and paid a fine of 30,000 shillings (about $350 USD).
Paul Udoto, a spokesman for KWS, said McNevin was dealt with in "the way we deal with any criminal trying to commit a crime," adding that McNevin did not invoke diplomatic status and that the American embassy did not reach out to KWS.
"He was in a hurry to finish the case and get on his way," Udoto said, according to The Times. More....