Steven Patrick Garcia, Jr., 36, of San Jose, California, was sentenced today in federal court in Billings, Mont., to 24 months in prison to be followed by one year of supervised release for selling and offering to sell migratory bird parts in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and the Lacey Act, the Department of Justice announced today. Garcia had pleaded guilty to the charge on January 16, 2013.
Garcia admitted by his plea that on Dec. 2, 2008, he offered for sale and sold golden eagle and hawk feathers and that on Feb. 25, 2009, he sold golden eagle feathers knowing that those golden eagle feathers were unlawfully taken and possessed.
“The protection of Montana's wildlife, including migratory birds, is a priority of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Montana. Today's prosecution and sentence demonstrate that individuals that attempt to profit from the unlawful taking of golden eagles, bald eagles, hawks and all other migratory birds will be investigated, prosecuted and punished accordingly,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana, Michael W. Cotter.
Pursuant to the MBTA, the Secretary of the Interior maintains a list of migratory birds which are protected from, among other things, being killed, sold, bartered, transported or possessed, except as otherwise permitted by federal regulation. Enrolled members of federally recognized American Indian tribes may obtain permits to possess eagle and other migratory bird feathers and parts for religious and ceremonial purposes, but federal law strictly prohibits the sale of migratory birds, feathers, or their parts by any person. The Lacey Act prohibits, among other things, the sale of wildlife knowing that the wildlife was taken or possessed in violation of any federal wildlife-related regulation or law. More....