August 3, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
A Woodside man has been sentenced to prison for illegal wildlife trafficking in a case involving undercover agents and dozens of shipped animal parts between the U.S. and Thailand.
Arongkron “Paul” Malasukum, 42, was sentenced by a federal judge in Texas to nine months in prison on Aug. 1 for trafficking parts from endangered African lions and tigers, according to the US DOJ.
Malasukum admitted to meeting with undercover agents and purchasing a tiger skull from them, and to purchasing lion skulls from an auction house in Texas through undercover agents acting as “straw buyers” for him.
He then shipped the tiger and lion skulls to his home in Woodside, later shipping them to Thailand to sell to a wholesale buyer.
In addition, Malasukum also purchased and shipped approximately 68 packages containing skulls, claws, and parts from endangered and protected species to Thailand between 2015 and 2016. The packages had a market value of more than $150,000.
“The defendant in this case profited from the endangered status of African lions and tigers by illegally buying and selling their parts on the black market,” said U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown for the Eastern District of Texas. “We will continue to enforce our endangered species laws to protect our beautiful animal resources.”
Malasukum’s prison sentence will be followed by one year of supervised release.