La Jolla gallery charged with selling $1.3M in illegal ivory

SAN DIEGO -- The Carlton Gallery in La Jolla, its owner and an employee are facing criminal charges for allegedly trafficking $1.3 million in illegal ivory, San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott announced Wednesday.

Elliott's office has been investigating the Carlton Gallery since May 2017 and performed a sting operation on the business on May 1 of this year, with the help of wildlife officers from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Officers seized 146 items containing ivory from the gallery and 192 from a nearby warehouse during the sting, authorities said. In addition to the gallery itself, gallery owner Victor Hyman Cohen and salesman Sheldon Miles Kupersmith, who allegedly sold ivory to undercover officers, were charged as individuals.