Miller, S.A. (2004, January). Bear poachers feed Asian black market; Sting operation inVirginia traps scorestrafficking in parts used in elixirs, soups. The Washington Times. [Online]. Available: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb5244/is_200401/ai_n19598906 [2004, January].
black bear; poachers; market; medicine; Asian; arrests; Shenandoah National Park; trafficking; Chinese; United States
The top dollars paid for elixirs extracted from bear organs and soup made with bear paws have been feeding an Asian black market that stretches from the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the District, Maryland, New York and South Korea.
Federal and state authorities recently disrupted the network when a three-year sting operation called "Operation Viper" resulted in nearly 700 charges against more than 100 people accused of trafficking poached black bears and illegally harvested ginseng roots.
Details of the charges are currently under seal in court, but a federal grand jury so far has indicted 38 persons, of whom two have been arrested. Future grand juries will examine more charges in coming months, officials said.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the National Park Service ran the sting out of the Dixie Emporium, a sporting goods shop the two agencies set up in Elkton, Va., a few miles outside the national park....