Notorious Congolese Ivory Trafficker Convicted
July 25, 2013
A notorious kingpin in elephant poaching and ivory trafficking in the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Ghislain “Pepito” Ngondjo, was sentenced on July 15 to five years in jail by the Congolese Supreme Court. The conviction represents an extraordinary victory in the fight to save Africa’s forest elephants.
The conviction was the culmination of years of investigation by the Government of Congo assisted by PALF (Project for the Application of Law for Fauna Republic of Congo), a pioneering partnership of WCS and the Aspinall Foundation, committed to ending wildlife trafficking in Congo. The African Parks Network, who help manage Odzala Park, where Ngondjo operated, also played a key role.
WCS congratulates the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville)’s Minister of Justice and the Congolese Supreme Court for the successful prosecution and sentencing.
Ngondjo was convicted for the killing of scores of elephants and illegally selling their ivory, while recruiting new poachers and supplying them with illegal assault rifles. In addition, he made death threats against Odzala Park Ecoguards and staff.
The emotionally charged trial consisted of hours of testimony against Ngondjo by fellow poachers, some of whom testified that he persuaded them to commence poaching and provided illegal arms. PALF and APN say that he had been active in Odzala National Park and the surrounding Cuvette-Ouest region for more than a decade.
The sentencing included two other ivory criminals, one of whom was given a similar five-year sentence and the other sentenced to two years.
Three quarters of Africa’s forest elephants have been slaughtered for the illegal ivory trade over the past twelve years, according to WCS scientists, leading President Barack Obama to issue an Executive Order prioritizing the protection of elephants and conviction of commercial poachers and traffickers.
To learn more, read the press release >>