Narwhal smuggling ring smashed

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iol news pic narwhal REUTERS File image - Sealer Aron Aqqaluk Kristiansen from the Kangersuatsiaq, Upernavik commune in Greenland poses for the media beside the carcass of a narwhal. Picture taken May 12, 2007. REUTERS/Scanpix/Nikolaj Svendsen

Portland, Maine - Officials say they have broken up a smuggling ring in which narwhal tusks from the Canadian Artic were brought to Maine in a trailer with a secret compartment and then illegally sold to American buyers.

Andrew Zarauskus, of New Jersey, and Jay Conrad, of Tennessee, will be arraigned in Bangor, Maine, next week on federal smuggling and money laundering charges.

An indictment says two Canadians for nearly a decade smuggled the whale tusks into Maine, where they were shipped via FedEx to Zarauskus, Conrad and other American buyers.

Narwhals are known as the unicorns of the sea for their spiral, ivory tusks that can grow longer than 8 feet (2 meters). The tusks can sell for thousands of dollars each, but it's illegal to import them into the U.S. - Sapa-AP

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