LOS ANGELES – A famous custom pool cue maker has been charged in California with helping to smuggle protected elephant ivory by using it on his cues.
Seventy-five-year-old Cesar "Ernie" Gutierrez surrendered Thursday. He's accused of aiding and abetting illegal exportation — which can carry a 10-year prison term.
He was released on bond. A message left at his North Hollywood business, Ginacue, wasn't immediately returned.
Gutierrez makes ornate cues with materials that include gold, jewels and exotic woods. His customers over the years have included Frank Sinatra and billiards legend Minnesota Fats.
Prosecutors say Gutierrez sold two people 41 sections of cues containing ivory from African elephants. The cues were found in the luggage of two people waiting to board a plane for Taiwan.
Authorities say Gutierrez sold the cues for $75,000 to $85,000.