Sitka man sentenced in otter trafficking case

Ketchikan, Alaska (AP) July 2011

A former Kake police officer has been sentenced to six months in prison in a federal case of illegal trafficking of sea otter pelts.

Prosecutors say 36-year-old Michael E. Smith of Sitka sold two sea otter pelts for $800 to an undercover agent in violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. According to court documents, Smith worked for the Sitka Tribal Tannery.

Prosecutors say the pelts were shipped outside Alaska in violation of the Lacey Act.

Prosecutors say the case stems from an investigation of illegal sea otter hunting and trafficking in Alaska. 

A Kake official says Smith worked as a police officer in the village from 2004 to 2006.

Smith was sentenced last week in Ketchikan.