Retired Canadian Mountie Sentenced to Prison

narwhal and tusk

Narwhal tusks can grow more than 8 feet in length and demand high prices on the black market. Paul Nicklen/Getty Images photo.

Retired Canadian Mountie Gregory Logan, 60, of Saint John has been sentenced to five years and two months in a United States federal prison for smuggling nearly 300 Narwhal tusks with a value of $1.5 – $3 million US into Maine. The contraband tusks were hidden in false compartments in Logan’s vehicle according to U.S. prosecutors. Once in the United States, they were shipped from a post office box in Ellsworth, Maine, to wealthy buyers all across the country.

This story was first reported on in a March 2016 blog post on this site.

Narwhals, protected in the United States and Canada, grow ornate, spiral tusks that can grow longer than eight feet and are coveted for use in carvings, jewelry-making, and general display. Under the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act, it is illegal to transport any parts of a Narwhal across federal borders.

According to the indictment, Logan smuggled the narwhal tusks into the U.S. in 2000 while he was working as a Mountie. He retired from the police force in 2003.

Logan filled orders with his U. S. co-conspirators according to what they wanted in terms of quantity and size and then contacted northern Inuit hunters to supply the tusks.

“Unlawful wildlife trade like this undermines efforts by federal, state, and foreign governments to protect and restore populations of species like the narwhal, a majestic creature of the sea,” said acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey H. Wood of the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

U.S. District Court Judge John A. Woodcock sentenced Logan to money-laundering and conspiracy charges to which he pleaded guilty. Smuggling charges were dropped under a plea agreement. Logan has paid $350,000 in fines and served four months of home detention on a related wildlife – smuggling charge to which he plead guilty.

Co-conspirator and U.S. resident Andrew Zarauskas, of Union, N.J., was convicted and sentenced to 33 months.  A Tennessee man had charges dismissed. Logan was pinned as the leader and organizer of the scheme and therefore sentenced most harshly.

“He directed and organized the way in which the tusks were smuggled and shipped as well as the ways in which the proceeds would ultimately be laundered into Canada. In sum, (Logan) was the ‘hub’ without whom the ‘spokes’ could not have succeeded in their joint criminal enterprise,” they said in court documents.

The U.S. Department of Justice detailed how the scheme worked in a news release:

“Logan knew that his customers would re-sell the tusks for a profit and in an attempt to increase that resale price, Logan would occasionally provide fraudulent documentation claiming that the tusks had originally belonged to a private collector in Maine who had acquired them legally,” it said.

“In addition to shipping the tusks from Maine, Logan maintained a post office box in the Ellsworth shipping store as well as an account at a bank in Bangor. Logan instructed his customers to send payment in the form of cheques to the post office box, or wire money directly to his Maine bank account.

“Logan then transported the money to Canada by having the shipping store forward his mail to him in Canada, and by using an ATM card to withdraw money from his Maine bank account at Canadian ATM machines. At times, Logan also directed his customers to send funds directly to him in Canada.”

Natural Habitat Tundra Lodge Ready for Action

Tundra lodge in Churchill

Great White Bear has positioned the Nat Hab Tundra Lodge in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area for the upcoming polar bear season. Don Walkoski photo.

Natural Habitat Adventures Tundra Lodge is positioned perfectly in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area (CWMA) for the October/November polar bear season in Churchill. This prime location of the Great White Bear managed lodge is located in an area where polar bears migrate to and from a peninsula that juts into the Hudson Bay. Polar bears amble into the lodge area and often set up resting beds in the willows that surround the lodge. We can’t wait to see the wildlife action out there this season. Enjoy!

Top 13 Hudson Bay Railroad Facts -1910 Video

The Hudson Bay Line has been in the news since nearly 20 sections of track were washed away or damaged by melting floodwater from two late spring blizzards. Churchill waits for news from the government on plans to reach agreements with first nations groups and owner Omnitrax on the sale of the railroad and subsequent repairs. Time is running out for getting anything done before the winter freeze sets in.

This video provides 13 facts about the development and construction of the now very infamous Hudson Bay Line to Churchill! Kind of cool to dig up this vintage video. Enjoy!

Churchill Photo of the Week – Aurora

 

Northern lights over Ice Lake in Nunavut

Northern lights over Ice lake in Cape Dorset, Nunavut. Manny Noble photo.

Even though polar bear season is just around the corner with the possibility of viewing northern lights on clear nights, we can’t help but look ahead to January when the heart of aurora borealis season begins in Churchill. Once the Hudson Bay is frozen over, northern lights are fairly constant in the night skies of the far north. This recent shot above Ice Lake in Cape Dorset, Nunavut is just a sample of what can be seen in the heart of winter throughout the Arctic and sub – Arctic. What an incredible vista!

Around the Arctic Weekly Photos

These are some really stellar images we’ve gathered from the north country. These local photographers have taken some of the best shots we have seen in a long while. From wondrous northern lights to a family of polar bears roaming the shores of Chesterfield Inlet to a beautiful sunset in Cambridge Bay these iconic photos depict the Arctic landscape in all its majesty. Enjoy!

Hay River NWT northern lights

Hay River, NWT had an amazing aurora display this past week. Aaron Tambour photo.

 

polar bears in Chesterfield inlet

Three juvenile polar bears roaming the shore of Chesterfield Inlet, Nunavut. Leila Paugh photo.

 

Yellowknife aurora

Yellowknife from the Latham Island bridge. Collin Goyman photo.

 

Cambridge Bay sunset

Incredible sunset over Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. Kyle Sears photo.

 

Yukon’s Carcross Desert epic landscape. Fiona Solon photo.

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