Franken-Artist Enrique Gomez De Molina Pleads Guilty to Animal Smuggling
Like a whimsical Dr. Frankenstein, Miami artist Enrique Gomez De Molina created stunning sculptures made up of a mix of taxidermied parts from different animals. Problem was he was illegally importing parts from endangered species and was arrested on the charges in late November. This morning De Molina plead guilty and could face up to five years in jail and a quarter million in fines.
De Molina imported parts from whole cobras, pangolins, hornbills, and the skulls of babirusa and orangutans from areas all over the world including Bali, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Canada, and China. The artist has not obtained the proper permits to import the part, and the feds says De Molina knew what he was doing was illegal and asked the people selling him the parts to wrap the papers in carbon paper.
De Molina's work was exhibited last year at the Scope Art Fair, one of the leading Art Basel Miami Beach satellite fairs, and two of his sculptures sold for a combined bill of more than $100,000: a faux walrus head bedazzled in jeweled beetle wings sold for $25,000 to a Kentucky museum while another made to look like a Rhino head made out of beetle parts imported from Thailand sold for $80,000 to a Canadian buyer.
De Molina's sentencing is scheduled for March 2nd.