A Portland-area man, Gary Holstrom, was indicted in federal court this week, accused of selling at least eight skulls, including two from endangered orangutans, and other animal parts all smuggled from Asia.
The details in the indictment are scant: It just lists Holstrom's name, the animal parts that he's accused of selling, the law that was broken when he sold them, the country the parts came from, and the price at which he sold them.
Through a little research, though, we've found that Holstrom runs a Forest Grove and internet-based artifacts store called EsotericStuff.com. Here is how the store is described on the website:
We are the "home" for unique, one-of-a-kind art pieces from Asia, the Oceanic Islands, parts of Africa and South/Central America . . . and many parts in between.
Whether you are seeking an investment-quality 15th Century artifact from the Majapahit Empire for yourself or an unforgettable porcelain gift from China for someone else, EsotericStuff.com has what you are looking for with selection, reasonable prices and superb customer service.
The Mercury called the store around noon today and Holstrom answered. He hung up the phone immediately when he was asked if he wanted to comment about his indictment.
Here's what he's accused of illegally selling:
•5/31/2011, a langur (Presbytis) skull from Malaysia, for $288.
•9/4/2012, a macaque skull from Malaysia, for $598.
•10/25/2012, a macaque skull with bear claws from Malaysia, for $424.
•12/21/2012, a macaque skull from China, for $200.
•12/27/2014, a loris skull from Thailand, for $155.
•7/1/2014, a macaque skull from Thailand, for $365.
•7/1/2014, a southern cassowary bird head from Indonesia, for $400.
•7/1/2014, a turtle (Testudines) shell from Malaysia, for $2,100.
•7/1/2014, two orangutan skulls from Malaysia, for $4,700.
Eight of the recorded nine sales violated the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), one the sales violated CITES and the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and one just for smuggling goods into the country.