Office of Law Enforcement
Protecting Wildlife and Plant Resources
Law Enforcement Stories and News Releases

A veterinary pathologist at the FWS Forensic Lab examines an oiled bird carcass to determine cause of death Photo credit: USFWS Forensics Laboratory.

Forensic laboratory lauded by Prince William in D.C.

December 9, 2014

On December 8, 2014, Prince William attended an anti-corruption conference at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. to discuss a zero tolerance approach to the transportation across borders of illegal wildlife parts. His speech highlighted the FWS Forensics Laboratory. Photo caption: A veterinary pathologist at the FWS Forensic Lab examines an oiled bird carcass to determine cause of death Photo credit: USFWS Forensics Laboratory.

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More on FWS Forensic Lab

The sentence was a result of a joint investigation by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.    Photo credit:  USFWS

Colorado hunting outfitter sentenced for illegal hunts

November 28, 2014

"This is easily among the worst cases of illegal taking and poaching of wildlife I have seen in my 40-plus years in wildlife management." - Ron Velarde, Northwest Regional Manager, Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Photo caption: The sentence was a result of a joint investigation by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Photo credit: USFWS.

Indictment Information
Sentencing Information

Photo caption: Seized harlequin duck mount. Photo credit: USFWS

Waterfowl guide business pays fine after investigation

November 21, 2014

Two Long Island, NY waterfowl hunting guides paid fines after an investigation into migratory game bird hunting laws and regulations. Photo caption: Migratory game bird hunting is regulated under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, enacted to protect migratory birds from market hunting and other commercial interests. Photo caption: Seized harlequin duck mount. Photo credit: USFWS.

News Release

Operation Crash has secured 26 arrests and 18 successful prosecutions to date. Photo credit: Yathin S. Krishnappa/Wikimedia Commons.

Bald Eagle killer sentenced to prison time

November 18, 2014

On November 6, 2014 a resident of Iowa was sentenced for violations resulting from a joint Fish and Wildlife and Iowa Department of Natural Resources investigation into the death of an adult bald eagle. Photo caption: Bald eagles are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Photo credit: USFWS.

News Release

Operation Crash has secured 26 arrests and 18 successful prosecutions to date. Photo credit: Yathin S. Krishnappa/Wikimedia Commons.

Outfitters charged with illegal rhino hunts and trafficking

October 24, 2014

"We are literally fighting for the survival of a species today. In that fight, we will do all we can to prosecute those who traffic in rhino horns and sell rhino hunts to Americans in violation of foreign law. This case should send a warning shot to outfitters and hunters that the sale of illegal hunts in the U.S. will be vigorously prosecuted regardless of where the hunt takes place." --Sam Hirsch, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division Photo caption: Operation Crash has secured 26 arrests and 18 successful prosecutions to date. Photo credit: Yathin S. Krishnappa/Wikimedia Commons.

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A red-tailed hawk soars over U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands.  Photo credit:  USFWS

Seller of feathers sentenced

October 16, 2014

This week in Phoenix, Arizona, a tribal member of the Navajo Nation from Tuba City, Arizona, became the last defendant to be sentenced following a nationwide investigation – Operation Silent Wilderness – by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife into the illegal killing and commercialization of protected eagles and other migratory birds. Photo caption: A red-tailed hawk soars over U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands. Photo credit: USFWS

News Release
Summary of Operation Silent Wilderness
Case Photos

Black rhino. Photo credit: Yoky/Wikimedia Commons

Store Owner Sentenced for Rhino Horn Trafficking

September 16, 2014

The owner of a long-time Florida business that sells wildlife parts and products as art who pleaded guilty earlier this year to rhino horn trafficking was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Miami. The man was placed on probation for three years and was ordered to pay $10,000 in criminal fines and restitution. Photo caption: Black rhino. Photo credit: Yoky/Wikimedia Commons

News Release

Crushed ivory to be used for outreach on wildlife trafficking. Photo credit: Kate Miyamoto/USFWS

Artists Wanted: Help Save Elephants

September 16, 2014

In November 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement crushed six tons of elephant ivory in response to the elephant poaching crisis in Africa. Now the Service invites you to design a way to display the crushed ivory so that it raises awareness of the illegal wildlife trade and reduces demand for illegal ivory. Photo caption: Crushed ivory to be used for outreach on wildlife trafficking. Photo credit: Kate Miyamoto/USFWS

Crushed Ivory Design Challenge
More about the U.S. Ivory Crush

Great hammerhead shark. Photo credit: Jim Capaldi/Wikimedia Commons.

New Rules for Trade of Some Sharks, Rays

September 15, 2014

The listings of several species of sharks and rays as protected under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which were adopted by treaty member nations in March 2013, went into effect on September 14, 2014. Under this listing, CITES export documents are now required for international trade in oceanic whitetip shark, scalloped hammerhead shark, great hammerhead shark, smooth hammerhead shark, porbeagle shark, and manta rays. Photo caption: Great hammerhead shark. Photo credit: Jim Capaldi/Wikimedia Commons

Public Bulletin

Great hammerhead shark. Photo credit: The red-shouldered hawk is considered endangered by the State of New Jersey. Photo credit: Ryan Wood/Wikimedia Commons

New Jersey Hawk Shooter Pleads Guilty

September 09, 2014

A New Jersey homeowner pleaded guilty to six counts of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by shooting protected birds of prey, including red-tailed, sharp-shinned, red-shouldered, and Cooper’s hawks. The defendant, who was arrested in August 2013, was responsible for the deaths of at least 40 birds of prey over a period of several years. Photo caption: Great hammerhead shark. Photo credit: The red-shouldered hawk is considered endangered by the State of New Jersey. Photo credit: Ryan Wood/Wikimedia Commons

News Release

Forensic ornithologist Pepper Trail uses a reference specimen to identify macaw feathers. Credit: USFWS

NY Times Features Forensics Laboratory

September 07, 2014

The work of the Service’s National Wildlife Forensics Laboratory takes center stage in a recent New York Times Magazine article by Jody Rosen. The Laboratory, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, is playing a critical role in the agency’s efforts to combat wildlife trafficking. Photo caption: Forensic ornithologist Pepper Trail uses a reference specimen to identify macaw feathers. Credit: USFWS

Read the Article

Maryland and other Atlantic seaboard States regulate commercial harvest of striped bass (a popular food and sport fish) to ensure sustainable populations. Photo credit: Maryland Department of Natural Resources

4th Commercial Fisherman Pleads Guilty in Striped Bass Trafficking Scheme

September 05, 2014

A fourth commercial fisherman who was responsible for the illegal harvest and interstate sale of thousands of dollars worth of striped bass from the Chesapeake Bay has pleaded guilty in Federal court in Maryland to a felony violation of the Lacey Act. Three other commercial fishermen pleaded guilty to conspiracy earlier this year in connection with this Service/State investigation. Photo caption: Maryland and other Atlantic seaboard States regulate commercial harvest of striped bass (a popular food and sport fish) to ensure sustainable populations. Photo credit: Maryland Department of Natural Resources

News Release

States regulate harvest of American paddlefish for conservation purposes. Photo credit: Emoke Denes/Wikimedia Commons

Eagle Feathers: Not for Sale

September 4, 2014

A New Mexico man who violated the terms of his parole by selling bald eagle feathers (a Federal crime) has been back in prison since April and will stay there until the beginning of December. He pleaded guilty in June to violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Photo caption: Sale of eagle parts is also outlawed by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Photo credit: USFWS

News Release

States regulate harvest of American paddlefish for conservation purposes. Photo credit: Emoke Denes/Wikimedia Commons

Caviar Trafficker Pleads Guilty

August 20, 2014

A Colorado man pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in western Missouri to illegally trafficking in American paddlefish caviar in violation of the Lacey Act. The defendant was among eight charged federally in a joint undercover investigation conducted by the Office of Law Enforcement and the Missouri Department of Conservation. Another defendant pleaded guilty to Lacey Act violations last November. Photo caption: States regulate harvest of American paddlefish for conservation purposes. Photo credit: Emoke Denes/Wikimedia Commons.

News Release

Defendants conducted illegal mountain lion and bobcat hunts, charging up to $7,500 per hunt, in Colorado and Utah. Photo credit: Justin Shoemaker/USFWS

Guides Guilty in Hunting Conspiracy

August 15, 2014

A hunting outfitter/guide in Colorado and his top assistant have both pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy charges in connection with an illegal hunting operation that ran from 2007 to 2010.  The pair and two other assistant guides routinely trapped, shot, and caged mountain lions and bobcats, later releasing the injured animals to provide sure-fire hunts and quick-to-kill trophies for paying clients. Photo caption: Defendants conducted illegal mountain lion and bobcat hunts, charging up to $7,500 per hunt, in Colorado and Utah. Photo credit: Justin Shoemaker/USFWS

News Release

Bald eagles are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Photo credit: William H. Majoros/Wikimedia Commons

Father, Son to Pay $240,000 for Poisoning Eagles

August 4, 2014

Two Wisconsin men whose illegal use of a pesticide caused the deaths of at least two bald eagles were ordered to pay $40,000 in criminal fines and $200,000 in restitution. The defendants were trying to improve their hunting opportunities by using poison to kill off wildlife species that prey on the same game. Photo caption: Bald eagles are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Photo credit: William H. Majoros/Wikimedia Commons

News Release

Elephants in Serengeti National Park. Photo credit: Bjorn Christian Torrissen/Wikimedia Commons

U.S., Africa Target Wildlife Trafficking

August 1, 2014

Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewel, Service Director Dan Ashe, and other U.S. government officials met with leaders of African nations to discuss ways to improve efforts to combat wildlife trafficking across that continent. The meeting, which was held one day before the beginning of President Obama's unprecedented U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, provided a forum for discussion and information sharing. Photo caption: Elephants in Serengeti National Park. Photo credit: Bjorn Christian Torrissen/Wikimedia Commons

News Release
Fact Sheet

Striped bass represent a valuable and carefully managed fishery resource in Maryland. Photo credit: USFWS

Commercial Fishermen Plead Guilty

August 1, 2014

Two Maryland fishermen involved in the illegal harvest and sale of nearly 186,000 pounds of striped bass pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Lacey Act and to defraud the United States. The fish were sold to wholesale fish dealers in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland for more than $498,000. Photo caption: Striped bass represent a valuable and carefully managed fishery resource in Maryland. Photo credit: USFWS

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Ocean species at risk due to wildlife trafficking include sea turtles, whales, and sharks. Photo credit: Caroline Rogers/NOAA

OLE Supports Ocean Enforcement Training

August 1, 2014

TOLE's international attaché officer based at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, helped facilitate a regional training effort in the Philippines for marine enforcement officers from Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Photo caption: Ocean species at risk due to wildlife trafficking include sea turtles, whales, and sharks. Photo credit: Caroline Rogers/NOAA

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Both rhino poaching and black market trade have surged in response to increased demand for rhino horn. Photo credit: Yoky/Wikimedia Commons

Canadian Antiques Dealer Indicted for Wildlife Trafficking

July 29, 2014

The owner and president of an antiques company based in British Columbia has been indicted in New York on conspiracy charges in connection with the smuggling of more than $500,000 worth of rhino horn, elephant ivory and other wildlife products from the United States to Canada. The defendant, who was investigated by the Service and Environment Canada as part of Operation Crash, was arrested last March in the Bronx after buying two black rhino horns from undercover special agents. Photo caption: Both rhino poaching and black market trade have surged in response to increased demand for rhino horn. Photo credit: Yoky/Wikimedia Commons

News Release

Peter Steinberg/Wikimedia Commons

Wildlife Dealer Makes One Deal Too Many

July 3, 2014

A long-time wildlife dealer operating out of Miami pleaded guilty to brokering the sale of a black rhino shoulder mount in Arizona. The buyer paid $60,000 for the mount, then promptly pried the horns off. Photo caption: The booming market for rhino horn in Asia is imperiling rhino species in Africa. Photo credit: Peter Steinberg/Wikimedia Commons

News Release

Operation Crash is an ongoing Service investigation targeting illegal trade in rhino horn. Photo credit: Yathin S. Krishnappa/Wikimedia Commons

Antique Appraiser Pleads Guilty to Smuggling Conspiracy

June 24, 2014

An antiques appraiser in Texas who was investigated as part of Operation Crash pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to traffic in rhino horn and elephant ivory. The defendant was one of three U.S. residents working at the direction of the Chinese businessman who orchestrated the smuggling conspiracy. Photo caption: Operation Crash is an ongoing Service investigation targeting illegal trade in rhino horn. Photo credit: Yathin S. Krishnappa/Wikimedia Commons

News Release

Ivory seized from the defendant included whole tusks and carvings made to look like antiques. Photo credit: USFWS

Ivory Trafficker Headed to Prison

June 04, 2014

Philadelphia businessman Victor Gordon was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, New York, to 30 months imprisonment for smuggling elephant ivory into the United States. The court also ordered Gordon to pay a fine of $7,500 and to forfeit $150,000 along with the approximately one ton of elephant ivory that was seized by agents from his downtown store. Photo caption: Ivory seized from the defendant included whole tusks and carvings made to look like antiques. Photo credit: USFWS

News Release

Rhino horns smuggled out of the U.S. at the defendant's direction were sold to factories in China for use in manufacturing fake antique libation cups. Photo credit: USFWS

Prison Term for Rhino Horn Trafficker

May 27, 2014

A Chinese national investigated by the Service for rhino horn and elephant ivory trafficking has been sentenced to serve 70 months in federal prison and forfeit $3.5 million in proceeds from his smuggling activities. Photo caption: Rhino horns smuggled out of the U.S. at the defendant's direction were sold to factories in China for use in manufacturing fake antique libation cups. Photo credit: USFWS

News Release

Ruby-throated hummingbird. Photo credit: Bill Buchanan

Hummingbird Smuggler Indicted

May 16, 2014

A Dallas resident has been indicted in the Eastern District of Texas for smuggling 61 dead hummingbirds into the United States from Mexico. The hummingbirds, which were destined for sale in this country, included species protected under CITES and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Photo caption: Ruby-throated hummingbird. Photo credit: Bill Buchanan

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African elephants in Tanzania. Photo credit: Nevit Dilman/Wikimedia Commons

Service Suspends Some Elephant Trophy Trade

April 4, 2014

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is suspending the importation of sport-hunted African elephant trophies taken this year in Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Concerns about species conservation and management prompted this decision. Photo caption: African elephants in Tanzania. Photo credit: Nevit Dilman/Wikimedia Commons

News Release
Q & A
Public Bulletin

Operation Crash has secured 17 arrests and nine successful prosecutions to date. Photo credit: K. Stromayer/USFWS

Pair Indicted for Selling Rhino Horns

April 2, 2014

Two California residents have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Las Vegas on felony charges connected with their sale of two black rhinoceros horns to an undercover agent working on Operation Crash -- the Service's ongoing investigation of rhino horn trafficking. The men were arrested on March 19 after closing the deal in a Vegas hotel room. Photo caption: Operation Crash has secured 17 arrests and nine successful prosecutions to date. Photo credit: K. Stromayer / USFWS

News Release
About Operation Crash


Port of Elizabeth, New Jersey. Photo credit: USFWS

On Target

April 1, 2014

The Office of Law Enforcement is expanding its abilities to target illegal wildlife shipments by joining 10 other Federal agencies with border management or import safety responsibilities as a member of the Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center in Washington, D.C. Two Service employees will be part of an interagency group of trade and intelligence analysts at the Center, which facilitates information sharing and collaboration across U.S. border enforcement agencies. Photo caption: Port of Elizabeth, New Jersey. Photo credit: USFWS

News Release

Product made from illegally harvested marine species. Photo credit: USFWS

Store Owner Sentenced for Wildlife Trafficking

March 26, 2014

The owner of a Michigan aquarium store was sentenced to pay a $15,000 criminal fine, forfeit a vehicle, and spend three years on probation after he pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy charges in connection with the illegal harvest and interstate purchase and sale of marine life and other species from Florida. The wildlife included live sea fans, ornamental tropical fish, sharks and alligators illegally collected from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and the Big Cypress National Preserve (an area managed by the National Park Service). Photo caption: Product made from illegally harvested marine species. Photo credit: USFWS

News Release

Birds seized by Service special agents included indigo buntings (shown here), painted buntings, and northern cardinals. Photo credit: Steve Maslowski/USFWS

Songbird Collector to Pay Fines, Restitution

March 19, 2014

A man who pleaded guilty to illegal possession of 34 live songbirds (a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act) was ordered to pay a $15,000 criminal fine and $7,500 in restitution to the Tropical Audubon Society. Photo caption: Birds seized by Service special agents included indigo buntings (shown here), painted buntings, and northern cardinals. Photo credit: Steve Maslowski/USFWS

News Release

Manatees are protected as an endangered species. Photo credit: Gaylen Rathburn/Wikimedia Commons

Men Plead Guilty to Messing with Manatees

March 7, 2014

Two Florida men pleaded guilty under the Endangered Species Act to harassing a female manatee and her calf. The pair helped ensure their conviction when they filmed the incident and posted the video on Facebook. In the film, one is shown luring the manatees toward a dock so the other can "cannonball" onto them. Photo caption: Manatees are protected as an endangered species. Photo credit: Gaylen Rathburn/Wikimedia Commons

News Release

African elephants. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Elephant Ivory "Ban" — Step One

February 26, 2014

The Service has issued a Director's Order tightening controls on the trade of elephant ivory and other products made from protected species. The Order represents the first in a series of administrative actions to further restrict commercialization of elephant ivory as called for in the National Strategy on Combating Wildlife Trafficking. The Order instructs Service employees to strictly implement and enforce the African Elephant Conservation Act moratorium on the importation of raw and worked African elephant ivory and also mandates similarly strict adherence to the criteria established in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for exempting antiques from that statute’s prohibitions on import, export, and interstate sale. Photo caption: African elephants. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Director's Order
Public Bulletin
Questions & Answers

Narwhals surfacing. Photo credit: NOAA

Jury Convicts Narwhal Tusk Trafficker

February 14, 2014

A Federal jury in Bangor, Maine, found a New Jersey man guilty of smuggling narwhal tusks from Canada and related money laundering crimes. Of the four others charged in this joint Service/NOAA/Environment Canada investigation, two have already pleaded guilty and a third awaits extradition from Canada. Photo caption: Narwhals surfacing. Photo credit: NOAA

News Release

Many States prohibit the transport of deer across their borders to prevent the spread of wildlife disease and protect their own wildlife populations. Photo credit: Steve Hillebrand/USFWS

Trio Charged for Transporting Potentially Diseased Deer

February 12, 2014

Three Louisiana residents face a 13-count Federal indictment for bringing live white-tailed deer into Mississippi in violation of State law and the Lacey Act. The group intended to breed the animals for commercial hunting on a wildlife enclosure operated by one of them. Photo caption: Many States prohibit the transport of deer across their borders to prevent the spread of wildlife disease and protect their own wildlife populations. Photo credit: Steve Hillebrand/USFWS

News Release

While the bald eagle is no longer an endangered species, the bird remains protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Photo credit: Forest Wander Nature Photography,

Guilty Pleas in Eagle Poisoning Case

February 12, 2014

Two Wisconsin men pleaded guilty to Federal charges in connection with the unlawful poisoning of bald eagles on their property. The father and son pair used the pesticide Carbofuran to kill predators that prey on wildlife that they enjoyed hunting. Photo caption: While the bald eagle is no longer an endangered species, the bird remains protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Photo credit: Forest Wander Nature Photography.

News Release

White-tailed deer. Photo credit: Ryan Haggerty/USFWS

Illegal Hunting Investigation Secures Over $235,000 in Penalties

February 12, 2014

A Service/State investigation of a commercial hunting operation in South Dakota resulted in the successful Federal and/or State prosecution of 18 individuals and the payment of more than $235,000 in fines, restitution, and civil damages. Those prosecuted were involved in the large-scale commercial exploitation of trophy deer and other wildlife. Photo caption: White-tailed deer. Photo credit: Ryan Haggerty/USFWS

News Release

Species at risk range from elephants, rhinos, and tigers to sea turtles, sturgeon, and tarantulas. Photo credit: Trisha M. Shears/Wikimedia Commons

Elephant Ivory Ban on its Way

February 11, 2014

In sync with the release of the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking, the Service announced plans to move forward with a near-complete ban on commercial elephant ivory trade. This ban, which will be implemented over the coming months through a series of administrative actions, responds to the poaching crisis in Africa that threatens to wipe out that continent's elephant populations. Photo caption: Species at risk range from elephants, rhinos, and tigers to sea turtles, sturgeon, and tarantulas. Photo credit: Trisha M. Shears/Wikimedia Commons

News Release
Learn More About the Ban
Learn More About the Wildlife Trafficking


Species at risk range from elephants, rhinos, and tigers to sea turtles, sturgeon, and tarantulas. Photo credit: Trisha M. Shears/Wikimedia Commons

White House Unveils Wildlife Trafficking Strategy

February 11, 2014

The United States today issued a National Strategy on Combating Wildlife Trafficking that will strengthen U.S. leadership on addressing the serious and urgent conservation and global security threat posed by the illegal trade in wildlife. The Office of Law Enforcement played a critical role in developing this strategy and will contribute to its implementation as well. Photo caption: Species at risk range from elephants, rhinos, and tigers to sea turtles, sturgeon, and tarantulas. Photo credit: Trisha M. Shears/Wikimedia Commons

White House fact sheet
Read the Strategy


Piranha jaws. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Company Pleads Guilty to Importing Prohibited Piranhas

January 29, 2014

A New York tropical fish importer and his business admitted in Federal court that they smuggled nearly 40,000 falsely labeled live piranhas into the country from Hong Kong for sale to retailers in multiple States. Many States regulate the import and sale of these highly aggressive, potentially invasive South American fish. The plea agreement calls for the payment of more than $70,000 in fines and restitution. Photo caption: Piranha jaws. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

News Release


Eastern box turtle. Photo credit:  © Jarek Tuszynski/Wikimedia Commons

Store Owner Sentenced for Two-way Turtle Trade

January 17, 2014

A former reptile store operator in Washington State was sentenced to 12 months in prison and three years of supervised release in connection with a wide-ranging conspiracy to illegally traffic in protected reptile species. This man and five co-defendants operated a two-way smuggling network that was responsible for the illegal export of domestic species and the unlawful importation of foreign reptiles, all via Hong Kong. Trafficked wildlife included Eastern box turtles, North American wood turtles, and Gulf Coast box turtles from the United States; foreign species included a critically endangered Arakan forest turtle, black-breasted leaf turtles, Chinese striped-necked turtles, and big-headed turtles. Photo caption: Eastern box turtle. Photo credit: © Jarek Tuszynski/Wikimedia Commons

News Release


Many States regulate the sale of black bear parts.  Photo credit: USFWS Northeast Region

Bear Parts Dealer Fined, Forfeits Cadillac

January 16, 2014

A former Maine resident and restaurant owner investigated by Service and State officers was fined $5,000 and ordered to forfeit his $70,000 Cadillac Escalade in connection with the unlawful purchase and interstate sale of black bear gall bladders and bear paws. Photo caption: Many States regulate the sale of black bear parts. Photo credit: USFWS Northeast Region

News Release


Nurse shark. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Florida Man & Company Sentenced for Shark Trafficking

January 14, 2014

A Florida marine life dealer and his business both pleaded guilty to Lacey Act charges in connection with buying and selling unlawfully harvested juvenile nurse sharks. Together the defendants must pay $2,000 in criminal fines and $5,500 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for use in marine conservation work in the Florida Keys. Photo caption: Nurse shark. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

News Release


Walrus. Photo credit: Bud Christman/NOAA

Wasting Away

January 15, 2014

An Alaska resident was sentenced to serve 15 months in Federal prison for his actions in connection with the illegal take of a walrus from a state game sanctuary on Round Island in May 2011. He and a co-defendant (who was prosecuted for both firearms and wildlife violations) killed the animal, hacked off its tusks, and left the carcass to waste in violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and other laws. Photo caption: Walrus. Photo credit: Bud Christman/NOAA

News Release


While the American alligator is no longer considered endangered, hunting and other activities are still regulated by Texas and other States to ensure that species populations remain robust. Photo credit: Donald W. DeLoach Jr./Wikimedia Commons

Gator Guide Fined

January 15, 2014

A commercial hunting guide who arranged an illegal alligator hunt for a paying client has been ordered to pay a $5,000 fine. The guide pleaded guilty to violating the Lacey Act in connection with the hunt. Photo caption: While the American alligator is no longer considered endangered, hunting and other activities are still regulated by Texas and other States to ensure that species populations remain robust. Photo credit: Donald W. DeLoach Jr./Wikimedia Commons

News Release


Cliff swallows often build their nests on walls beneath bridges and overpasses. Photo credit: Ingrid Taylar/Wikimedia Commons

Company Pays More than $370,000 for Destroying Bird Eggs, Nests

January 14, 2014

A Service investigation of a Kansas construction company that was responsible for the destruction of 818 cliff swallow eggs and some 1,491 nests at the site of a bridge repair project in Harper County, Oklahoma, has secured the payment of $372,750 to the Service-managed North American Wetlands Conservation Fund. The company agreed to make the payment as part of a non-prosecution agreement. Photo caption:Cliff swallows often build their nests on walls beneath bridges and overpasses. Photo credit: Ingrid Taylar/Wikimedia Commons

News Release

Black rhino in Tanzania. Photo credit: Ikiwaner/Wikimedia Commons

Irishman Gets Prison Term for Rhino Horn Trafficking

January 10, 2014

A member of an Irish crime group who was investigated for rhino horn trafficking by Service special agents working on Operation Crash has been sentenced to 14 months in prison by a Federal judge in Brooklyn, New York. The man was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and forfeit $50,000 in illegal proceeds. Photo caption: Black rhino in Tanzania. Photo credit: Ikiwaner/Wikimedia Commons

News Release

FWS LE agent bage. Credit: USFWS

Pair Indicted for Smuggling Rare Boa

January 8, 2014

The owner of a reptile business in Utah and his sister have been indicted by a Federal grand jury on conspiracy and three other felony counts in connection with the smuggling of a wild-caught white boa constrictor. Offspring of the snake, which was unlawfully purchased from a zoo in Brazil and then smuggled to the U.S. with the help of a veterinarian in Guyana, were being sold to buyers in this country and overseas for tens of thousands of dollars. Photo caption: FWS LE Special Agent badge.. Photo credit: USFWS

News Release

Bobcat on a tree. Photo credit: G. Kramer/USFWS

Outfitter & Guide Charged in Big Cat Hunting Scheme

January 9, 2014

A Colorado big game outfitter and one of his guides have been charged with conspiracy, wildlife trafficking, and creating false records in connection with commercial hunts for which they first captured and maimed mountain lions and bobcats and then released them so waiting clients could easily kill them. The pair are the subjects of a 17-count indictment based on a cooperative investigation involving Service special agents and State wildlife officers from Colorado and Utah. Photo caption: Bobcat on a tree. Photo credit: G. Kramer/USFWS

News Release

Narwhals, which have one extremely long tusk, are protected from commercial exploitation under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Photo credit: Glenn Williams/Wikimedia Commons

Two Plead Guilty to Trafficking Narwhal Tusks

January 7, 2014

Two Tennessee residents who bought and sold at least $1.5 million worth of illegally imported narwhal tusks have pleaded guilty to Federal felony charges of conspiracy and wildlife trafficking. Special agents from the Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration teamed with wildlife investigators from Environment Canada to document this trafficking. Photo caption: Narwhals, which have one extremely long tusk, are protected from commercial exploitation under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Photo credit: Glenn Williams/Wikimedia Commons

News Release


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Last updated: December 09, 2014