The Department of Justice announced on Thursday that an Anchorage gift shop owner faces five years in prison and a $250,000 fine in connection to charges filed under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder reported that two counts under the act have been filed against 58-year-old Lee John Screnock, the owner of the “Arctic treasures” gift shop. According to the indictment, Screnock “violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act by knowingly offering illegal wildlife parts for sale, including a polar bear skull and a walrus oosik.”
The indictment further alleges that Screnock had carved hundreds of items available for sale at his shop and fraudulently represented them as “the product of a particular Indian or Indian tribe or Indian arts and crafts organization.” This r4esulted in an additional charge of misrepresentation of Indian produced goods and products.
The investigation into the incidents that took place up until June of 2018 was carried out by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.