By Aaron Blevins, 2/07/2013
A federal grand jury has returned a nine-count indictment that charges a now-shuttered Santa Monica sushi restaurant and two men who worked there as chefs with selling meat from Sei whales, which are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
The Jan. 31 indictment charges Typhoon Restaurant Inc., which is the parent company of the now-closed The Hump Restaurant, formerly located at the Santa Monica Airport; Kiyoshiro Yamamoto, 48, of Culver City; and Susumu Ueda, 39, of Lawndale.
The indictment accuses the three defendants of conspiring to import and sell whale meat, specifically meat from Sei whales, which are listed as an endangered species.
Yamamoto and Ueda allegedly ordered the whale meat from Ginichi Ohira, a Japanese national who was previously convicted. According to the indictment, The Hump sold whale sushi to informants posing as customers on three specific occasions in the fall of 2009 and in early 2010.