By Leigh Armstong

A Skagway resident was sentenced Aug. 15 to two years probation and a $5,000 fine for illegally exporting raw walrus ivory tusks and importing the carved tusks back into the U.S. 

James Terrance Williams, 67, who conducted business as Inside Passage Arts, pleaded guilty to felony charges of smuggling goods into the U.S. and violating the Lacey Act through submitting falsified import and export records, according to an Aug. 16 press release from the U.S. attorney’s office in Anchorage.  

In October 2014 and March 2016, Williams exported raw walrus ivory from Alaska to Indonesia for carving and then smuggled the ivory back into Alaska to sell, according to court filings. The carvings were crafted to resemble Indonesian work, rather than Alaska Native carvings. 

Walrus tusks cannot be exported or imported without a permit and the sale of non-Alaska Native carved ivory is prohibited by the Marine Mammal Protection Act.