California sushi chefs plead guilty to serving whale meat

February 11, 2014 8:57:22 AM PST
Two sushi chefs pleaded guilty in federal court to charges arising from a sting in 2010 at a California restaurant where whale meat was being served.

The Los Angeles Times reports Chef Kiyoshiro Yamamoto and head sushi chef Susumu Ueda at the Hump restaurant at Santa Monica Municipal Airport pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of conspiracy and the sale of marine mammals in violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

According to United Press International, the investigation began after the 2009 award-winning documentary "The Cove" revealed that whale meat was being served off menu at the Hump.

The company that supplied the whale meat -- Ginichi Ohira -- pleaded guilty in 2011 and is still awaiting sentencing, UPI reports.

Ueda and Yamamoto each face a maximum sentence of three years in prison. Sentencing is expected May 12.

Both chefs are reportedly cooperating with a smuggling investigation into Typhoon Restaurant Inc., the Hump's parent company, and could be called to testify.

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