Judge issues sentence in USVI coral smuggling case

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 7, 2013 at 5:51 pm •  Published: February 7, 2013
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In 2011, Bhandari's company was ordered to forfeit dozens of jewelry items, sculptures and more than 13,600 pounds (6,000 kilograms) of raw black coral. Together they were worth about $2.17 million.

Gem Manufacturing also was ordered to pay a nearly $4.5 million fine, the largest ever at the time for non-seafood wildlife trafficking and the fourth-largest for any U.S. case involving illegal trade in wildlife.

Black coral is an organism that thrives in deep ocean water and grows on rocks like a plant. It can live for hundreds or thousands of years and can be harvested for jewelry and other purposes under strict trade regulations.