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Alleged Ivory Trafficker Pleads Not Guilty

FILE - A Kenya Wildlife Service officer tests the weight of ivory tusks discovered at the Port of Mombasa, July 2013.

One of the people on Interpol’s 10-most-wanted list for crimes against the environment has pleaded not guilty of ivory tusk trafficking.

Feisal Mohammed Ali was arrested Monday at a rental home in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and was extradited Wednesday to Kenya, where he entered his plea.

Authorities in Mombasa said that during a raid in June, they found more than 300 pieces of ivory — at least two tons — in his possession. Analysts said the amount of ivory represented about 114 poached elephants.

At the time, the Kenyan authorities arrested two people they said were Ali's accomplices, but Ali escaped. He is now being held pending a bail hearing set for December 30.

Ali was apprehended through an Interpol program targeting environmental crimes. The program, Operation Infra Terra, led to the arrest of another alleged ivory smuggler, Ben Simaskiu, in Zambia three weeks ago.

The international ivory trade was banned in the late 1980s as part of efforts to protect declining elephant populations. Activists have warned the animals are endangered because of poachers killing elephants for their tusks.