A 31-year-old Lake Charles man was sentenced Tuesday to prison for selling a stolen black rhinoceros horn, according to United States Attorney David C. Joseph.
United States District Judge Donald E. Walter sentenced Patrick Dylan Drawl to six months in prison and one year of supervised release for one count of violating the Lacey Act.
According to the stipulated factual basis filed during Drawl’s guilty plea, McNeese State University Biology department staff contacted campus police on March 30, 3017, to report that a horn had been stolen from a mounted black rhinoceros head on display in their building. United States Fish and Wildlife Service agents located a black rhinoceros horn for sale at an address in Sulphur on a website showing images of a rhinoceros horn on the hood of a car. An agent acting in undercover capacity contacted Drawl and arranged to meet Drawl and purchase the horn.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife National Forensic Laboratory later confirmed that the horn was that of a black rhinoceros.
The black rhinoceros is a species native to eastern Asia and central Africa on the brink of extinction primarily because of wide-scale poaching for its horn. The black rhinoceros is a listed endangered species protected by the Endangered Species Act, which prohibits the sale of the animal or any of its parts without a prior approval and a permit by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and McNeese State University campus police conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph T. Mickel prosecuted the case.