Prison Sentence in Smuggling Case with Hico Connection - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Prison Sentence in Smuggling Case with Hico Connection

by Bruce Gietzen

NEW YORK - A New York antiques dealer busted for illegally trafficking rhino horns is going to prison.

David Hausman pled guilty and Thursday got a 6-month sentence plus a $28,000 fine for buying those illegal items.

He was arrested last February along with six others, including Hico professional steer wrestler Wade Steffen, who was the co-champ at the All American Pro Rodeo Finals in Waco in 2010.

Steffen was taken into custody February 9, 2012 at an airport in Long Beach, California with more than $300,000 in his luggage.

The bust was all part of an 18-month investigation cracking down on the black market trading of horns from the endangered animal.  In all, federal agents seized more than $1 Million in cash, more than $1 Million worth of golf bars, diamonds and Rolex watches, along with horns cut from both black and white rhinos.

Rhino horn carvings are considered good luck charms or health enhancers in some cultures. Authorities say persistent demand for the carvings has devastated the world's rhino population.

A single rhino horn can fetch $250,000 on the black market because of mythical medicinal powers. But the horns contain the same protein as human hair and fingernails.

 

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