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US Indicts 2 South African Brothers for Selling Illegal Rhino Hunts

FILE - Game farmer Dawie Groenewald, left, and his wife, Sariette, right, appear in court in Musina, South Africa, Wednesday, Sept 22, 2010.

A U.S. federal court has indicted two South African brothers for defrauding American hunters by taking them on illegal rhinoceros hunts in South Africa.

The head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service calls their alleged crimes "appalling," but not as bad as what he says were the brutal tactics used to kill 11 endangered rhinos.

The indictment charges two brothers - Dawie and Janneman Groenewald - on 18 counts. They include charging hunters as much as $15,000 to take them to South Africa, telling them them that particular rhinos were so-called "problem" animals and could be killed legally.

The indictment says the two brothers traveled throughout the United States to attend hunting conventions and gun shows.

It says the brothers used chain saws to remove the rhino horns to sell illegally on the black market, and that one of the animals was still alive when the horn was sawed off.

Justice Department officials say the indictment is a warning that they will go after anyone selling illegal hunts no matter where such hunts take place.