Earlier this week, we told you about a New Jersey man who had pleaded guilty to violating the Lacey Act by improperly labeling live iguanas that he was shipping to Hong Kong. Now, another man from the Garden State has admitted to breaking that same law by selling carvings made of sperm whale ivory.

And for the record, those two cases are completely unrelated but they do highlight the range of crimes that people try to get away with.

WPG Talk Radio 95.5 FM logo
Get our free mobile app

Acting U.S Attorney Rachael Honig says 55-year-old Richard Gontarek of Woodbridge, Middlesex County, pleaded guilty in Federal court on Wednesday to two counts of violating the Lacey Act by selling carvings made of sperm whale ivory to a buyer in Pennsylvania.

According to documents filed in this case,

On Jan. 3, 2018, and on Dec. 6, 2018, Gontarek shipped a package containing a carving made from the tooth of a sperm whale to a buyer in Etter, Pennsylvania, in exchange for payment. Sperm whales are listed in Appendix I to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Officials say, "the Lacey Act makes it a crime to sell in interstate commerce wildlife possessed in violation of any state law when in the exercise of due care the seller should have known that the wildlife was possessed in violation of the state law. New Jersey state law makes it unlawful for any person to possess with intent to sell ivory or any item that contains or is made from ivory."

As part of his plea agreement, Gontarek has agreed to pay a fine of $2,800 to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lacey Act Reward Fund.

Each of the charges to which Gontarek pleaded guilty carries up to one year in prison with a $100,000 fine.

Sentencing is scheduled for January 25th.

NJ arrests 31 accused child predators in "Operation 24/7"

A roundup of 31 men have been accused of sexually exploiting children online, state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced on July 14 while detailing "Operation 24/7."

The suspects “possessed and or distributed videos and images of child sexual abuse, including in many cases videos of young children being raped by adults,” Grewal said.

Chat apps and gaming platforms remain favorite hunting grounds for child predators and even as the pandemic winds down, many children have continued to spend more time online.

State Police received 39% more tips in just the first 6 months of 2021 than they received in the entire year in 2019. The following are suspects charged in "Operation 24/7."

A look back at the Mansion on Lake’s Bay / Sand Castle Restaurant and Fire and Ice Disco in West Atlantic City, NJ

Let's take a trip back in time to the summer of 2001 with the Mansion on Lake's Bay on the Black Horse Pike in West Atlantic City / Egg Harbor Township was still standing.

More From WPG Talk Radio 95.5 FM