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Tennessee Man Arrested for Misuse of Pesticide


July 24, 2002

Jim Rothschild, 404/679-7291

On Monday, July 22, Donald Ray Keel, a 57-year-old farm worker from Atwood, Tennessee, was arrested by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Special Agent for his misuse of the pesticide Temik that resulted in the deaths of seven red-tailed hawks and two black vultures.

The arrest follows Keel's indictment on Thursday, July 18, by a Federal Grand Jury in the Western District of Tennessee. Keel is charged with nine counts of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) for unlawful take of the raptors and one count of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Temik is a restricted pesticide that is often used in cotton fields. If convicted of violating the MBTA, Keel faces up to 4 and a half years imprisonment (6 months imprisonment per count) and/or up to a $135,000 fine ($15,000 per count). If convicted of violating FIFRA, he could receive up to one-year imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $100,000.

According to Sam D. Hamilton, Southeast Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, this was the first indictment achieved by the Western Tennessee Environmental Task Force. The task force is a coalition of state, federal and local law enforcement organizations and prosecutors' offices.

"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, and the Environmental Protection Agency were among those involved in the investigation of this case," said Hamilton. "In the future, this task force will continue to investigate and prosecute criminal violations of environmental laws in western Tennessee counties between the Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers."

Other State, Federal, and local agencies and offices participating in The Western Tennessee Environmental Task Force include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Coast Guard, the Corps of Engineers, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Also involved are the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Tennessee, the Tennessee Attorney General's Office, and the District Attorney General for the 30th Judicial District, as well as the Memphis police and fire departments.

Please visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region website at

NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at Our national home page is at:

Atlanta, GA 30345

Phone: 404/679-7289 Fax: 404/679-7286

2001 News Releases

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