New Brunswick

Narwhal tusk smuggler makes one last bid to avoid extradition to U.S.

The lawyer representing a former Mountie convicted of smuggling narwhal tusks into the United States will ask the federal justice minister to intervene and stop his client from being extradited to face more charges.

Gregory Logan's lawyer will ask federal justice minister to intervene after Supreme Court dismisses appeal

A former Mountie convicted of smuggling narwhal tusks into the United States has one last hope of avoiding extradition there on related money-laundering charges that could see him imprisoned for several years.

The U.S. Department of Justice wants to try Greg Logan for money laundering in connection with tusks from narwhals, a protected species, being smuggled from Canada into the United States. (Paul Nicklen/Getty Images)
Gregory Logan's defence lawyer plans to write to the new federal attorney general "very, very quickly," asking her to intervene.

It's "the only possible remedy at this point … asking for her decision not to surrender Mr. Logan to the United States," said Brian Greenspan.

The final strategy comes Thursday after the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed without costs Logan's application for leave to appeal the extradition.

Logan, who lives in Woodmans Point, N.B, has already surrendered into custody at the Saint John Regional Correctional Centre, as ordered, and is scheduled to be handed over to the American authorities within 45 days.

"It's obviously a disappointing result," and a "very distressful and emotional time" for Logan and his family, said Greenspan.

"We were of the view — and remain of the view — that we think an injustice has occurred."

Argued double jeopardy

Logan, who was an RCMP officer for 25 years and was once posted in Nunavut, pleaded guilty in October 2013 to seven counts of trafficking offences related to 250 narwhal ivory tusks being smuggled from Canada into the United States.

He was fined $385,000 and given an eight-month conditional sentence that included four months of house arrest — a penalty that was "touted by Canadian authorities as being the most significant under the statute that had been imposed," said Greenspan.

But the U.S. Department of Justice still wants to try Logan for money laundering. A surrender order was issued by former federal justice minister Peter MacKay in January 2015 and upheld by the Court of Appeal of New Brunswick in October 2015.

Logan was seeking to appeal the order to Canada's highest court, arguing he was unaware he could also face charges in the U.S. when he pleaded guilty to the offences under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act.

He argued it placed him in double jeopardy because he could be punished a second time for essentially the same actions he pleaded guilty to and was punished for in Canada.

"We think it is duplicitous," said Greenspan.

The money-laundering charges Logan faces in the United States relate to the proceeds of the narwhal tusk sales and "that had already been taken into account in Canada because the penalty in Canada was a disgorgement of his profits," the lawyer said.

"We think it's unfortunate that Canada has decided its obligation under the extradition treaty somehow trumps the fairness to Mr. Logan."

Could face 'significant' prison term

But the ultimate surrender decision is a ministerial one, said Greenspan.

"There's nothing that precludes us from writing to the new [Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould]," he said.

If she refuses to intervene, Logan could face "significant" penalties in the United States, said Greenspan.

"The American penal system is far more penalty-oriented in terms of incarceration, leading to longer terms of imprisonment," he said.

Other "people who have been involved in this case have been sentenced to four, and five, and six years' imprisonment and (Logan) might even face a longer period … in terms of what his role was."

The American parole system is also "reasonably Draconian," with most offenders serving 85 per cent of their sentence, Greenspan added.

Narwhals, medium-sized whales that live year-round in the Arctic, are a protected species under the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Male narwhals have a straight tusk that can measure up to 2.5 metres long. Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., the land claims organization that represents the Inuit of Nunavut, said tusks can fetch up to $100 per inch.

Only Inuit people can legally harvest narwhal in Canada. It is used as a source of food and income.

Between 2003 and 2009, Logan hid narwhal tusks in his truck and trailer and drove to Calais, ME., where he deposited tusks for shipment to a U.S. buyer, officials said.