Irish Citizen Responds to Arrest for Illegal Trafficking of Rhino Horns in The United States
Married father of two responds to being dragged out of his home at 2 a.m. by the Irish police and flown via Private Jet to Texas to face 10 year-old charges.
Plano, TX (May 28, 2020)
Charges were unsealed this week in the Western District of Texas Federal District Court, Waco Division, against Johnathan Slattery, an Irish Citizen. Mr. Slattery has been accused of the interstate transportation and sale of Rhino Horns.
Michael Price II, the attorney for Mr. Slattery, stated: "My client and I have been aware of these allegations for some time. This indictment was handed down in May 2014. The allegations in the indictment are alleged to have occurred almost 10 years ago. We look forward to working with the United States Attorney’s Office to accept responsibility for these charges and return Mr. Slattery to his wife and two young children in Ireland as soon as possible."
“While Mr. Slattery was aware of the indictment and charges against him, his arrest in the middle of the night was a complete shock and surprise," said Mr. Price. “Months ago, when he was initially arrested pursuant to these charges back in August, he retained a representative (lawyer) in Ireland, as well as retained me to represent him once he was extradited. We have been actively working with the U.S. Authorities to resolve this matter.”
The 31-year-old father’s arrest came nearly ten months after he was detained in Ireland for these charges. He was recently released from jail in Ireland, under strict ‘house-arrest orders’ due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. He had advised the High Court in Ireland that he was willing to surrender himself to the U.S. authorities, but his extradition was delayed due to Covid-19. He retained Mr. Price as well as Mr. Mark Lynam, his representative in Ireland. He was in compliance with all the release conditions and was even preparing to be in court the same morning he was suddenly awakened by 20 armed Irish ‘gardai” officers and taken away from his family. “While it has been widely reported in the Irish Media that this was a ‘high value target’ and worthy of the United States Government spending “$200,000 for a Private Jet” to retrieve Mr. Slattery, this is not true. Mr. Slattery was not the only detainee on the flight back to the States. This plane was not sent specifically for him. It is our belief that he was conveniently picked up along the way” stated Mr. Price.
The conduct alleged in his indictment is the same as the conduct previously alleged against two co-defendants in this case. These two defendants both received 14 month prison sentences. This conduct occurred in 2010 and 2011. These were not ‘recently poached or slaughtered’ Rhinos, but rather legally harvested and mounted taxidermy mounts from the 1980’s, prior to Mr. Slattery even being born. “The inferences by the Irish Media that Mr. Slattery was involved in the recent illegal slaughter of animals and the trafficking of these horns from the illegal poaching of these Rhino’s is false. While the purchasing and interstate transport and re-selling of these taxidermy mounts and horns is illegal and Mr. Slattery intends to plead guilty and accept his punishment for these crimes, this occurred 10 years ago and the Rhino’s in question were legally harvested and mounted decades ago.”
An arraignment hearing will be held early next week in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas at which time Mr. Slattery intends to enter his guilty plea to these charges and start the process of accepting responsibility for these crimes, serving his sentence to the United States of America, and returning home to his wife and children.
Michael Price II is Board-Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and Board-Certified in Criminal Trial Advocacy by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is in his 27th year of practice devoted exclusively to criminal defense. He has been named in Texas Super Lawyers®, a Thomson Reuters service, from 2005-2019, as published in Texas Monthly Magazine.
J MICHAEL PRICE II