Enrique Gomez De Molina, the local artist who specializes in surrealist objects assembled from the taxidermied parts of different animals, has been sentenced to 20 months in prison for smuggling endangered wildlife. De Molina was first arrested in late November just before Art Basel, and plead guilty shortly after in December.
De Molina combined art with taxidermy to create sculptures of Frankenstein-like animals. Two of his pieces sold for more than a combined $100,000 when it was displayed at the 2010's Scope Miami Art Fair.
But in his quest to create more captivating creations, he started illegally importing parts from endangered animals that he bought over the internet.
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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 was sentenced to 20 months in prison in federal court this morning. Following release he'll face one year of supervised released and pay a $6,000 fine.
"For years, DeMolina illegally imported parts and remains of endangered and threatened species, including a cobra, a pangolin, hornbills, and the skulls of babirusa and orangutans, and used them to create taxidermy pieces that he sold for as much as $80,000," said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer in a statement. "Trafficking in endangered and threatened species, whether for personal profit or under the guise of art, is illegal. Together with our law enforcement partners, we will strictly enforce the laws that protect our environment and our wildlife."