By Kevin Heath
The Judge went easy on two rhino horn traders in the United States yesterday when she sentences one to 42 months and another to 46 month in prison. This was less than the sentences that the US Federal prosecutors called for. The father and son team who were Vietnamese emigrants were also fined and ordered to pay compensation.
Vinh Chuong “Jimmy” Kha, 50, and Felix Kha, 27, both of Garden Grove were arrested and charged last year with conspiracy, smuggling, wildlife trafficking in violation of the Lacey Act, money laundering and tax evasion. Vin Chuong Kha was sentenced to 42 months and Felix Kha was sentenced to 46 months. The prosecutors had called for 5 years and 6 years respectively.
The judge, Christina Snyder, decided to reduce the sentences by a year each after hearing please from other family members and the story that Vinh Chuong Kha had left Vietnam when under communist control to bring up two sons single-handed in the United States by waiting on tables.
The defendant claimed that they were not involved with the killing of any rhino as they were involved with the trafficking of old rhino horns from personal collections. They began the trade after stumbling across old rhino horn at an auction. The Kha’s began their rhino horn smuggling activities in 2008.
Prosecutors though said that by creating a market and supplying a market for rhino horn they were guilty of encouraging the killing of rhino in Africa. Further the Kha’s were also involved with the bribing of a Vietnamese official with $150,000 to allow a shipment of rhino horn to go through customs. More....