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Gainesville Man Indicted for Importing Rare Brazilian Bird Feathers

JOINT PRESS RELEASE BY U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 28, 2002

Contact:
Monte Richardson, USDOJ, 850/216-3808
Tom MacKenzie, USFWS, 404/679-7291

Gainesville, Florida – A federal grand jury in Gainesville returned a sixteen count indictment charging Milan Hrabovsky, also known as Milan Harris, with the unlawful importation of endangered wildlife into the United States. Hrabovsky, a resident of Gainesville, owned and operated “Rain Forest Crafts” and “Tribal Arts,” which were businesses that specialized in selling Amazonian tribal artifacts from Brazil to customers in the United States and elsewhere.

Hrabovsky sold tribal artifacts such as Head Dresses and Masks which were comprised of endangered wildlife feathers and animal teeth. The protected species included feathers from Blue and Yellow Macaws, Red and Green Macaws, and Scarlet Macaws.

The Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, (CITES), makes it unlawful to engage in the trade of any specimens, or to possess any specimens traded contrary to the provisions of the Convention. The United States is a member of the Convention and as such works in cooperation with other member countries to regulate and monitor populations which are being commercially exploited. CITES is a treaty among party nations dedicated to protecting fish, wildlife and plants from commercial exploitation and illegal global trade. The United States administers CITES through the Endangered Species Act which is enforced by the Office of Law Enforcement of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Lacy Act makes it unlawful to sell any wildlife taken, possessed, transported or sold in violation of any law, treaty or regulation of the United States.

"We take our responsibility to protect United States wildlife seriously," said U.S. Attorney Gregory R. Miller. "It is equally important that we honor the laws of other countries to help them protect their unique and treasured wildlife resources. The only way to do that is stop illegal commercial exploitation."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. Other agencies that participated in the investigation were the Gainesville Police Department, Alachua County Sheriff's Department, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the Postal Inspection Service and U.S. Immigration.

The case was investigated by Dan LeClair, Special Agent, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Gregory McMahon, Gainesville Division. An indictment is a charging document only and all defendants are innocent until proven guilty.

 



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2001 News Releases

   
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