Patrick Scott, 47, of Tuba City, Arizona, was sentenced in Phoenix today to 30 days in prison, five months home confinement, one year supervised release and a $2,000 fine for illegally selling golden eagle and other migratory bird parts, a felony criminal offense, announced Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division, and John S. Leonardo, U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona.
Scott pleaded guilty in December 2012 to a single felony count of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. According to the plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court in Arizona and accepted by the court today, in January 2008, Scott used the internet to illegally offer to sell a golden eagle fan for $950. A covert law enforcement officer exchanged e-mails with Scott and ultimately agreed on a purchase price of $900. In February 2008, a second undercover law enforcement officer went to Scott’s house and bought the golden eagle fan by making an initial payment of $550 and later deposited the remainder directly into Scott’s bank account in two installments. The court also found today that between July 2007 and February 2009, Scott sold, purchased, and/or offered to sell other migratory bird parts, from species including bald eagle, red-tailed hawk, golden eagle, crested caracara, anhinga and rough-legged hawk.
Golden eagles and other migratory birds are protected by federal laws and regulations. Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, it is unlawful to possess, offer to sell, sell, offer to purchase or purchase any migratory bird or migratory bird part, or any product that consists, or is composed in whole or part, of any such bird or bird part. It is a federal enforcement priority to prosecute those who violate federal laws by engaging in commercial activities involving federally protected bird feathers or other bird parts. The objective of these enforcement efforts is to reduce and eliminate the unlawful taking of federally protected birds by prosecuting not only individuals who kill protected birds but also individuals who seek to profit from the commercialization of federally protected birds or their feathers or other parts. This helps to ensure that golden eagle and other bird populations remain healthy and sustainable.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement in coordination with the Navajo Fish and Wildlife Division of Natural Resources. The case was prosecuted by the Environmental Crimes Section of the Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona.