2 Calif chefs charged with serving illegal whale
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Southern California sushi restaurant and two chefs have been indicted on conspiracy and other charges for allegedly serving illegal and endangered whale meat.
Typhoon Restaurant Inc., parent of The Hump restaurant in Santa Monica, and sushi chefs Kiyoshiro Yamamoto and Susumu Ueda were named Thursday in a nine-count indictment. If convicted, Yamamoto faces up to 67 years in prison, while Ueda faces a maximum 10-year term.
The company and Yamamoto were initially charged three years ago, but prosecutors sought to have the charges dropped with the option to refile them at a later date.
Marine mammal activists posed as customers and were served whale during three separate visits to the restaurant. Tests confirmed the meat came from a Sei whale, an endangered species protected by international treaties.