Federal charges: St. Cloud State professor conspired to smuggle elephant ivory, rhino horns

A philosophy professor at St. Cloud State University is accused of conspiring to smuggle rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory out of the U.S. and into China.

Yiwei Zheng was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges including smuggling and making a false statement to agents.

The Star Tribune reports Zheng was arrested Tuesday by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents in St. Cloud. Zheng was scheduled to appear later Tuesday before a U.S. magistrate in St. Paul.

The indictment alleges Zheng conspired with two unnamed co-conspirators in a scheme that ran from 2006 through 2011.

According to the indictment, the black rhinoceros is listed as an engendered species, and international trade in elephant ivory is largely banned.

A university spokesman said he could not comment due to the investigation.