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Undercover bust catches Chinatown shop selling ivory, prosecutors claim

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Lanterns criss-cross over Grant Avenue in San Francisco’s Chinatown neighborhood Thursday, November 9, 2017. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)
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A Chinatown business owner is facing charges after undercover officers busted him allegedly selling ivory at a storefront on Grant Avenue, the District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.

The California Fish and Wildlife found 32 pieces of ivory at Lovell’s Gallery after a worker sold an ivory statuette to an undercover officer for $240 last December, prosecutors claim.

Prosecutor Gregory Alker has since filed charges against the store owner, a 56-year-old El Cerrito resident named Abraham Magadish, and the corporate owner of Lovell’s Gallery, ALEAR-90, Inc., of one count of selling ivory and two counts of illegal possession of ivory for sale.

“The sale of ivory has decimated the elephant population around the world,” District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement. “By eliminating the market for ivory at home, we can play a role in reducing demand and the likelihood that these majestic animals will be hunted abroad.”

An attorney for ALAER-90 pleaded not guilty to the charges during an arraignment Wednesday. Magadish has yet to be arraigned.

Two employees of the store, 58-year-old Vivian Wei Zhao and 33-year-old Yesika Becerra, surrendered to authorities last Friday and are each facing a charge of selling ivory.

Zhao and Becerra are scheduled to appear for an arraignment Thursday.

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