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

Courtesy National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
The Arctic ringed seal is listed as a “threatened” subspecies of ringed seal under the Endangered Species Act.
Feds reject petition to delist Arctic ringed seals as threatened

Since 2013, three subspecies of ringed seal — the Arctic, Okhotsk and Baltic — have been listed as threatened.

Travelers arrive at the Juneau International Airport on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, made up only about half of what the airport normally sees in the days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Centennial Hall, seen here on Tuesday, Nov. 24, is being used by the City and Borough of Juneau as an emergency facility during the coronavirus pandemic and will not host the annual Public Market which has taken place every weekend after Thanksgiving since 1983. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Want to buy Alaskan? Closed by pandemic, Public Market goes virtual

Normally throngs of Juneauites would be lined up around the block…

To capture the unexpected action- the unrepeatable moment- it should be instinctive.  In order to build the story you have to shoot the adjective.  In this photo the bald eagle had waited patiently for the right moment to pounce on an unsuspecting vole… the unexpected.  The best way to accomplish this is to master the art of the most difficult subject to photograph– birds in flight.  In order to do this you must learn your gear; it must become part of your muscle memory so you can concentrate on the story you are witnessing.  Canon 5D Mark III, Tamron 150-600mm, shot at 600mm, ISO AUTO (1250), F6.3, 1/3200, Handheld. (Courtesy Photo / Heather Holt)
Focal Point: Great photos are just waiting in the wings

Learn to shoot the verb (and the bird).

Has it always been a police car. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire)
Police calls for Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020

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

Meals slated for children in Juneau over Thanksgiving weekend are arrayed on tables at Thunder Mountain High School on Nov. 25, 2020. (Courtesy photo / Luke Adams)
Font of plenty: JSD readies meals for Thanksgiving holiday

Nearly three tons of food got distributed for the long weekend.

Construction of the new Glory Hall, above, is going smoothly, said executive director Mariya Lovishchuk on Nov. 24, 2020. (Courtesy photo / Thor Lindstam)
Building a brighter future: New Glory Hall reaches skyward

The structure is rapidly progressing, shouldering aside inclement weather.

Most Read