Walruses are pictured in this courtesy photo. (Courtesy Photo | USFWS National Digital Library)

Walruses are pictured in this courtesy photo. (Courtesy Photo | USFWS National Digital Library)

Skagway man indicted for walrus ivory smuggling

Art broker allegedly took ivory to Indonesia for carving, then falsified documents on trip back to Alaska

A Skagway man has been indicted for allegedly smuggling walrus ivory to Indonesia for carving, then selling the art in the United States in violation of federal law.

The Anchorage U.S. Attorney’s Office filed Friday the 10-count indictment of James Terrance Williams, 67, for lying on paperwork, smuggling and the illegal sale of walrus ivory through his business Inside Passage Arts.

Dkt 2 Indictment by Kevin Gullufsen on Scribd

In 2014 and 2016, Williams smuggled at least nine Pacific walrus tusks into Indonesia, where he had them carved, according to charging documents. He then allegedly falsified paperwork allowing him to smuggle the carved tusks back to the United States, where they were sold within Alaska and in other U.S. states.

[Etsy.com stops letting Alaska Native artists sell ivory work]

Taking walrus ivory out or into the United States without a permit violates an international agreement called the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), according to a release from the office of U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder.

The scheme also puts Williams in violation of several federal laws related to the trafficking of wildlife, the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, according to charging documents.

The website for Inside Passage Arts describes artist and manager Terry Williams as a Native American painter, carver and metal-smith working in Northwest Coast style.

[Trademarks as protection of Alaska Native art and culture]

If convicted, Williams faces up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement conducted the investigation. Deputy Criminal Chief Steven E. Skrocki will prosecute the case.

Williams’ arraignment hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 1 at the James M. Fitzgerald United States Courthouse and Federal Building in Anchorage.

• Contact reporter Kevin Gullufsen at 523-2228 and kgullufsen@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @KevinGullufsen.

More in News

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of Feb. 26

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola (center) walks with Alaska Rep. Will Stapp, R-Fairbanks, and Alaska Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, into the Alaska House of Representatives chambers ahead of her annual address to the Alaska Legislature on Monday. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Peltola celebrates federal intervention in Albertsons, Kroger merger in legislative address

Congresswoman says wins for Alaska’s fisheries and state’s economy occurring through collaboration.

Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer, speaks in support of Senate concurrence on a version of an education bill passed by the Alaska House last week during a Senate floor discussion on Monday. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Senate concurs on House education bill, Dunleavy is skeptical

Dunleavy schedules press conference Tuesday afternoon in Anchorage to discuss the legislation.

A photo by Ben Huff being exhibited as part of his presentation at 6:30 p.m. at the Alaska State Museum. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska State Museum)
Here’s what’s happening for First Friday in March

Both the state and city museums are celebrating 20 years of artistic… Continue reading

Goose Creek Correctional Center is seen in fall. (Photo courtesy of Alaska Department of Corrections)
Alaska prison failed to provide adequate dental care to inmates, state investigator finds

Goose Creek Correctional Center has gone years without a hygienist, forcing patients to wait

Jirdes Winther Baxter chats with Wayne Bertholl during her 100th birthday celebration Saturday at the Juneau Yacht Club. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Jirdes Winther Baxter, last survivor of 1925 Nome serum run, celebrates 100th birthday in Juneau

Five generations of family, dozens of friends and a coalition of political leaders offer tributes.

The Safeway supermarket in Juneau, seen here Oct. 4, 2023, is among those in Alaska that might be sold if its parent company, Albertsons Companies Inc., merges with Kroger Co., the parent company of Fred Meyer. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
US sues to block merger of grocery giants Kroger and Albertsons, saying it could push prices higher

Eight states, not including Alaska, join lawsuit against parent companies of Fred Meyer and Safeway.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Friday, Feb. 23, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read