Office of Law Enforcement
Conserving the Nature of America in the Southwest Region
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Southwest Region Office of Law Enforcement

 

Stories


No hunting sign at a Southwest Region refuge. Credit: USFWS.

The Southwest Region covers the States of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma and shares over 1,650 miles of border with Mexico. The Region contains diverse fish and wildlife resources, including over 250 species of fish, wildlife, and plants that are federally protected under the Endangered Species Act. It encompasses habitats that range from lowland deserts and seemingly endless plains to gulf coast beaches and towering mountain peaks.

Wildlife law enforcement efforts are coordinated with State game and fish agencies and with Federal counterparts; new partnerships include increased liaison with the U.S. Marshals Service in the Southwest. Special agents and wildlife inspectors in the Region provide law enforcement support to more than 40 National Wildlife Refuges, 27 National Parks, 20 National Forests, over 30 million square miles of other Federal and State land areas, over 100 distinct Native American tribal areas, and 24 Customs ports of entry.

Challenges in the Region range from protecting endangered Mexican wolves to foiling interstate trafficking of wildlife ranging from freshwater fish to big game species. Enforcement work includes promoting compliance under Federal wildlife laws by oil and gas producers and other industries whose activities affect protected birds; inspecting wildlife imports and exports at two designated ports (Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston) and four border crossings (Nogales, Arizona, and Brownsville, El Paso, and Laredo in Texas); and partnering with Service biologists to address issues affecting protected species and their habitat.

Law Enforcement News

Department of the Interior, Indian Arts and Crafts Board Special Agent badge.
California Man Arraigned on Federal Indictment Charging him with Scheme to Fraudulently Create and Sell Jewelry as Native American-Made Trade

April 2018
Robert Haack, 51, of Los Angeles, Calif., was arraigned on April 27, 2018 on a federal indictment charging him with violating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act (IACA) by fraudulently creating and selling jewelry as Native American-made. The indictment, which was filed by a federal grand jury sitting in Albuquerque, N.M., on March 28, 2018, was the result of a federal investigation led by the U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement.

Read the News Release

 

 


Ruby-throated hummingbird on cardinal flower. Credit: Bill Buchanan, USFWS.

Illegal Hummingbird Trade

April 2018
Hummingbirds are critically important pollinators, found only in the Americas. Their center of origin is in the tropics, and there are 18 species that migrate into the US. They can live for up to 12 years or more, and tend to return to the same places, they are quite intelligent, and teach their young how to return to locations and forage for nectar in the same areas. The hummingbird family, Trochilidae, was listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 1987, including an estimated 328 species. Appendix II allows commercial trade, but the species must be accompanied by a permit that signifies it was obtained sustainably and legally. The CITES listing (read the CITES listing at https://www.cites.org/sites/default/files/eng/cop/06/prop/proposals/E06-Prop-32_Trochilidae.PDF ) was proposed by Ecuador because of a growing pet trade - apparently much of it illegal! A quick look at the CITES trade data for this family indicates that international trade is dominated by specimens or bodies for scientific purposes. There seems to be little international trade in live animals - legal trade that is!

Read the April issue of National Geographic, Inside the Black Market Hummingbird Love Charm Trade, on illegal hummingbird trade in Mexico and the US.

 

 


The injured male golden eagle will spend the rest of its life in captivity. Credit: USFWS.
Eagle Shootings Under Investigation in New Mexico
Reward offered for information

March 2018
NEW MEXICO - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is investigating the shootings of a bald eagle and a golden eagle found at the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry (NAPI) in the Navajo Nation.

The bald eagle was found shot with no tail feathers on March 13, 2018 in area seven of NAPI. The bald eagle later died due to its injuries. The Service’s Wildlife Forensics Laboratory will conduct a necropsy to verify the cause of death.

Read the news release.

 

 

 


Bald eagle. Credit: USFWS.

Bald Eagle Death Under Investigation in Oklahoma
Reward offered for information

January 2018
McCurtain County, OKLAHOMA- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is investigating the death of bald eagle found adjacent to a rural county road, approximately seven miles west of Broken Bow in McCurtain County, Oklahoma.

The eagle was discovered by a local rancher who notified the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The eagle carcass exhibited indications it was shot with a high-powered rifle. Additional evidence was recovered at the scene. The Service’s Wildlife Forensics Laboratory is conducting a necropsy to verify the cause of death.

Read the news release.


Southwest Region Archived News Releases

Search additional archived news releases for the Southwest Region

Search Department of Justice archived Case Summaries.

 

 
Case study of Southwest Law Enforcement working with industry
 
A Forensic Lab Solves Crimes Against Animals
 
Bowie County Man Sentenced for Federal Violations
 

Law Enforcement Accomplishments Reports

Accomplishments Annual Report 2016
 
Accomplishments Annual Report 2015
 
Accomplishments Annual Report 2014
Last updated: May 4, 2018