Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
New Mexico’s Nicholas Chavez Honored with Prestigious National Law Enforcement Award

March 30, 2018


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

Headshot of Nicholas Chavez

Special Agent in Charge Nicholas Chavez Credit: USFWS

Albuquerque, NEW MEXICO – Special Agent in Charge for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), Southwest Region, Nicholas Chavez, has been named the 2018 Guy Bradley Award federal recipient. Chavez was selected for his superior federal law enforcement career accomplishments in the protection of wildlife and natural resources.

Named after the first wildlife law enforcement officer to be killed in the line of duty in 1905, Guy Bradley, this national award is presented by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) each year to one state and one federal agent for outstanding lifetime achievements in wildlife law enforcement.

“Special Agent in Charge Nicholas Chavez is a distinguished leader who is committed to protecting imperiled species for future generations. His exemplary professionalism and dedication to wildlife conservation makes him an ideal recipient of this award,” said Edward Grace, Acting Assistant Director of the Office of Law Enforcement for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “I would like to thank the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for honoring both a federal and state conservation law enforcement officer for their outstanding lifetime career achievements.”

Chavez has been a wildlife enforcement officer for 30 years. In his current role as Special Agent in Charge for the Southwest Region of the Service, he has investigated complex cases and taken on unique challenges. In addition to overseeing law enforcement operations for the Southwest Region, Chavez also supervises the day-to-day operations of the Indian Arts and Crafts Board (IACB) Investigative Unit. Under his supervision, the largest IACB fraud case in history was initiated, developed and investigated. Known as “Operation Al Zuni,” the case resulted in the seizure of more than $320,000 worth of fraudulent Native American jewelry and six indictments.

Throughout his career, Chavez has logged more than 3,600 hours investigating cases where subjects violated the Lacey Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

“Nicholas Chavez has dedicated his career to protecting our nation’s fish and wildlife, and we are honored to recognize his substantial contributions with the 2018 Guy Bradley Award,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “His devotion and commitment to enforcing the laws that protect our nation’s wildlife and cultural treasures serve as inspiration to those of us in the conservation community.”

Chavez earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in wildlife science from New Mexico State University. He began his career in 1988 when he joined the Service as a cooperative education student, after which he became a wildlife inspector with the Office of Law Enforcement. Chavez has served in his current role as Special Agent in Charge for 11 years. He currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife of 17 years.

To learn more about the Guy Bradley Award, visit To learn more about the Service’s Office of Law Enforcement, visit

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