Two 8-foot-long (2.4-meter-long) elephant tusks were found by Department of Homeland Security inspectors in a large shipment of handmade chairs from Nigeria.
The discovery at the L.A. airport led inspectors to a Hollywood warehouse filled with illegal ivory to be sold across the country.
Illegally imported ivory goes to one of two places: in raw form to ivory collectors, or to artists who carve the ivory for commercial resale, said Samuel Jojola, an agent at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
By importing the tusks, the smugglers violated U.S. customs statutes as well as the Lacey Act, which penalizes the illegal importation of wildlife valued above $350, and the Endangered Species Act.