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David Place Sentenced To Prison For Trafficking Sperm Whale Teeth, Narwhal Tusks

Sperm Whale Teeth

03/ 1/11 06:38 PM ET   AP

BOSTON — A Massachusetts antiques dealer convicted of illegally importing and trafficking in sperm whale teeth and narwhal whale tusks worth up to $400,000 has been sentenced to nearly three years in prison.

Authorities say David Place was sentenced Tuesday after a federal jury in Boston convicted him of eight counts including conspiracy and violating a law against trading in illegally captured wildlife.

Place owned Manor House Antiques Cooperative in Nantucket. Prosecutors say he committed the violations from 2001 to 2004.

Place's business phone is disconnected. Someone who answered the phone at his home Tuesday said he wasn't there.

A co-conspirator from Odessa, Ukraine, served a nine-month sentence in the U.S. and was deported.

Sperm whales are classified as endangered.

Male narwhals have long, spiral tusks. Females have shorter, straighter tusks. Their species is considered threatened.

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Filed by Joanna Zelman  |