Canadian man accused of smuggling $2M in narwhal tusks detained

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Narwhals: The Arctic Unicorns Of The Sea

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- A former Royal Canadian Mounted policeman accused of smuggling $2 million worth of narwhal tusks into the United States is now in custody, pending his trial on money laundering charges, the U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday.

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Authorities accuse Gregory Logan, 58, of St. John, New Brunswick, of having illegally smuggled since 2000 at least 250 narwhal tusks from Canada through Maine. Prosecutors said the profits from U.S. collectors were then used to further the smuggling activity.

Native to the Arctic, narwhals are a species of whale and have large, protruding tusks. They are protected marine mammals under U.S. and international law, though import permits are sometimes granted.

On Friday, Logan was extradited from Canada to the United States and is currently awaiting a May 3 trial in U.S. District Court on related money laundering charges, the Justice Department said.

Logan, who retired from the famed mounted police in 2003, was initially indicted in November 2012 on conspiracy, smuggling and money laundering charges. In December 2013, he was arrested in Canada at the request of the United States and pleaded guilty to related wildlife smuggling, according to authorities.

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It was unclear why Logan's extradition to the United States took so long. His attorney, Kaylee Folster, did not immediately return messages.

"This case shows wildlife trafficking can involve millions in illegal transactions, compounding the damage it does to the wealth and diversity of life on our planet" Assistant Attorney General John Cruden said in a statement.

Two other men were also indicted in the case. Andrew Zarauskas of Union, New Jersey, was convicted and sentenced to 33 months in prison. Jay Conrad of Lakeland, Tennessee, pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

RELATED: See photos of narwhals:

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Canadian man accused of smuggling $2M in narwhal tusks detained
Narwhals carefully reach skyward with their pointy ivory tusks as they grab a much needed breath between feeding dives. Standing on a drifting pan of sea ice while being surrounded by hundreds of narwhals remains a top moment on this already unforgettable journey as a wildlife photographer. For @sea_legacy. #narwhal #thejourney #lifeexperience #thinblueline #marine #‎MPA‬ #202020 ‪#‎wildlife‬ ‪#‎gratitude‬ ‪#‎explore‬ ‪#‎nature‬ ‪#‎smile‬ ‪#‎love‬ ‪#‎beauty‬ ‪#‎adventure‬ ‪#‎travel‬ @natgeocreative @thephotosociety ‪#‎instagood‬ ‪#‎tbt‬ ‪#‎follow‬ ‪#‎followme‬ ‪#‎photooftheday‬ ‪#‎happy‬ ‪#‎tagforlikes‬ ‪#‎beautiful‬ ‪#‎like‬ ‪#‎picoftheday‬
Unicorns of the sea point towards the polar sky. Black and white. #narwhals #nature #tusks #climatechange #beauty
A group of male Narwhal migrate through Lancaster Sound in the high Arctic. We photographed these small whales with their 6 to 10 foot long ivory tusks from my ultralight airplane. The only problem with encounters like this is that we had to land. I could have soaked in this view forever. #gratitude @natgeo @thephotosociety #unicorns #unicornsofthesea #narwhal #nature #wildlife #explore #neverstopexploring #unicorn
They were so tightly packed in this small ice hole that I could have literally walked across their backs as this pod of narwhals was fighting for a chance to breath during their intense feeding session on polar cod. Of course, this is just an expression and would not have been very wise or fair to the narwhal. Follow me on @sea_legacy #unicorn #narwhal #whale #nature #gratitude #wildlife #arctic #smile #love #beauty #friends #instagramhub #snow #ice #animals
After spending weeks of camping on the sea ice, I finally took off in my ultralight airplane with my friend and ace pilot, Brian Knutsen. We expected to see a few Narwhals from the air but never did I expect to find a large group of male Narwhal surrounded by the most stunning pattern and shape in the sea ice. #unicornsofthesea #unicorn #narwhal #whale #nature #gratitude
UNSPECIFIED - OCTOBER 08: Zoology: Fishes: Mammalia, Cetacea, Narwhal (Monodon monoceros), illustration (Photo by De Agostini Picture Library/De Agostini/Getty Images)
Lyon, FRANCE: A handout photo from French Customs taken 24 April 2007 shows five narwhal tuskd seized by Customs at the end of March at Lyon Saint-Exupery airport from an aircraft from Canada. Canada authorises the sale and export of these tusks but France abides by a convention on endangered species and does not allow the import. The narwhal is an Arctic cetacean and the tusks are a projecing incisor which may be up to 3 metres long. AFP PHOTO DOUANE FRANCAISE/FRANCIS ROCHE (Photo credit should read FRANCIS ROCHE/AFP/Getty Images)
Narwhal (Monodon Monoceros). (Photo By Encyclopaedia Britannica/UIG Via Getty Images)
Narwhal or narwhale, Monodon monoceros. (Horned narval or sea unicorn) Drawn from a stuffed specimen exhibited at the Mecklenburgh Coffee House in Charing Cross. Handcoloured copperplate engraving from 'The Naturalist's Pocket Magazine,' Harrison, London, 1799. 'n
A member of staff holds a rare Narwhal tusk found in an Ayrshire country house now to be auctioned at Lyon & Turnbull in Edinburgh on December 7.
A member of staff holds a rare Narwahl tusk found in an Ayrshire country house now to be auctioned at Lyon & Turnbull in Edinburgh on December 7.
narwhal, monodon monoceros male shows tusk in mating ritual . canadian arctic
Feeling grateful on this #WorldWildlifeDay #Narwhals #NYC https://t.co/QeLulJvUmd
PSA: @ameliaritter didn't know narwhals are real until last night https://t.co/rH0dRLVMDd
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