‘Frankenstein’ Taxidermist Sentenced to Prison for Wildlife Trafficking [SLIDESHOW]
A Miami artist has been sentenced to 20 months in jail for illegal trafficking in endangered and protected wildlife to create his own Frankenstein-like species.
Enrique Gomes de Molina, 48, also received a $6,000 (£3,817) fine for his part in importing a range of species into the United States between late 2009 and February 2011.
He would use animal parts, including the skins of kingfishers, a king cobra, skulls of orangutans and hornbills, in taxidermy to create bizarre hybrid species, which could then be sold for up to $80,000 (£50,000).
The animals were brought in from all over the world, including Bali, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Canada and China.
De Molina would solicit protected wildlife from his suppliers online and would select his animals from pictures provided.
The parts would then be sent to him without the legally required permits or declarations.
"Mr de Molina trafficked in highly endangered species in violation of the law, disguising commercial exploitation of endangered species as artwork," said Ignacia Moreno, assistant attorney general for the environment and natural resources division.
"[De Molina] has been held fully accountable for his illegal actions, which are prohibited by both US and international law."
At his Miami federal court sentencing hearing, de Molina also received a year of supervised release following his prison term and was ordered to forfeit all the smuggled animals in his possession.
"These hideous creations are a crime both to endangered wildlife and to the world of art," said Richard Thomas, spokesman for the wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic International.
"The Department of Justice and US Fish and Wildlife Service are to be congratulated for bringing this criminal to justice," Thomas said. "While the fine may appear lenient, the loss of almost two years of freedom is a significant cost to De Molina."