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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Alleged Caviar Smuggler Arrested

MIAMI -- A Russian businessman was arrested last week on charges of recruiting caviar couriers to smuggle suitcases full of sturgeon roe into Miami, in violation of wildlife protection laws, federal officials said.

The suspect, 43-year-old Viktor Tsimbal, was the president and owner of a Miami-area firm, Beluga Caviar Inc., that allegedly sold black-market caviar smuggled from Russia and the Caspian Sea region.

A federal indictment charged that Tsimbal recruited and made travel arrangements for three couriers who made 48 caviar-smuggling trips in 1998 and 1999.

Tsimbal faces seven counts of conspiracy and smuggling, two counts of money laundering alleging he concealed the source of the ill-gotten profits, and two counts of obstructing justice by allegedly urging a witness to lie. If convicted, he faces up to 95 years in prison.