An Irish man extradited to the US for allegedly trafficking endangered rhino horns has appeared in a Texas court.
John Slattery, 30, from County Limerick was arrested by armed gardaí on Friday, May 22, and extradited to the US to face the charges.
Slattery is accused of traveling to Texas along with two others and purchasing horns valued at $18,000 from a taxidermy shop through a third-party buyer known as a "straw buyer." US authorities allege that Slattery then brought the horns to New York and sold them for around $50,000.
He is also accused of falsifying a bill of sale to make it look as though the transaction in Texas had been legal and authorities claim that he added a false and fictitious Fish and Wildlife Service Emblem to the document to make it look authentic.
Authorities additionally allege that Slattery and his accomplices bought a consignment of black and white rhino horns on two separate occasions in Missouri in 2010.
Slattery made his initial appearance in the Western District Court of Texas before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey C. Manske to face the charges on Tuesday, May 26.
The Journal reported in April that it was "virtually certain" that Slattery would serve a one-year sentence in a Texas prison.
He was arrested last August and held in Irish prison until April when he was released on bail. He was due to be extradited to the US earlier in the year, but the extradition was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Around 20 armed gardaí arrested him at his house on Friday, May 22, and surrendered him to the US Marshall Service at Dublin Airport. His bail was due to expire later that evening.
The US Department of Justice said in a statement that Slattery's court appearance concluded the extradition process from Ireland.
"The Justice Department extends its gratitude to the government of Ireland for its cooperation and assistance," the statement read.
Slattery has served roughly nine months in Irish prison and his solicitors are trying to work on a plea bargain that would see him serve a reduced sentence as a result.