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2 Southern California chefs plead guilty to serving meat of endangered whale at restaurant

A sign at the Hump Restaurant is seen in Santa Monica, Calif. on March 10, 2010.
A sign at the Hump Restaurant is seen in Santa Monica, Calif. on March 10, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Reed Saxon

LOS ANGELES – Two chefs have pleaded guilty to serving whale meat at a Southern California restaurant that has since closed.

City News Service reports Kiyoshiro Yamamoto and Susumu Ueda entered pleas Monday to conspiracy and other charges involving meat from endangered sei (say) whales. Each faces up to three years in federal prison, along with fines and community service.

Prosecutors say the chefs got the meat in 2009 from a fish importer in Gardena who wrote a false invoice describing it as fatty tuna.

The chefs served it as whale sushi to activists posing as customers at The Hump restaurant in Santa Monica.

The restaurant closed in 2010, but its parent company, Typhoon Restaurant Inc., still faces federal charges.

The importer pleaded guilty to a misdemeanour charge earlier.

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