Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

SM Sushi Chefs to Admit Selling Whale Meat


Two chefs who worked at a now-closed Santa Monica sushi restaurant will plead guilty to serving meat from federally protected sei whales, according to court papers obtained today.

Kiyoshiro Yamamoto and Susumu Ueda, who worked at the The Hump at Santa Monica Airport, are charged in a three-count indictment with conspiring to import and sell meat from the endangered species.

The chefs and Typhoon Restaurant Inc., the parent company of The Hump, were initially charged in 2010, but the charges were dropped, later refiled and revised last month.

Yamamoto, 49, of Culver City, and 40-year-old Ueda of Lawndale each face a possible maximum sentence of three years in prison plus fines, according to court papers. They made their initial Los Angeles federal court appearance today, but did not enter guilty pleas.

The first word of the unusual offering at The Hump came in 2010 from the Oscar-winning team behind the documentary “The Cove.” The filmmakers, who went to the restaurant and were able to get a sample, tipped off federal officials that the restaurant was serving sei whale.


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