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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Virginia

Monday, June 18, 2012

Nelson County Man Pleads Guilty To Animal-fighting, Bear Poaching, Wildlife, And Marijuana Offenses

David Tracy Davis Faces A Possibly Lengthy Prison Term

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA -- A Nelson County man pleaded guilty this morning in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Charlottesville to multiple federal offenses charging the sale of illegally poached bear organs, the sale of fighting gamecocks, the possession of protected migratory birds, and the distribution of marijuana.

David Tracy Davis, 71, of Roseland, Va., was indicted on multiple charges in February 2012. This morning in District Court, Davis pleaded guilty to one count of illegally selling wildlife (Black Bear gallbladders), one count of selling fighting roosters for the purpose of having the roosters participate in an animal-fighting venture, one count of unlawful possession of migratory-bird talons, and one count of distributing marijuana without compensation.

Davis is presently serving a ninety-day sentence after pleading guilty in the Circuit Court of Nelson County, Virginia, to multiple counts of possessing a firearm while manufacturing, transporting, or selling illegal alcohol and of animal cruelty.

“With today’s guilty plea, Mr. Davis admitted his participation in a crime spree that included trafficking in poached animal parts, breeding and selling fighting birds, and the distribution of illegal drugs,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “The United States Department of Justice will continue to do whatever possible to protect our natural resources like wild animals. When people illegally kill animals to obtain and sell parts or raise fighting animals, we will pursue them vigorously.”

“Not only was Mr. Davis’ behavior illegal and dangerous, it was also inhumane and cruel. He profited from the exploitation of poached game and illegal animals, and left a tragic mark on one of the most beautiful parts of the commonwealth,” said Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

Davis admitted to selling undercover agents black bear gallbladders for profit. Davis also admitted to selling six gamecocks to undercover law enforcement officials for the purpose of later fighting those birds. Davis also told the undercover agent that he would help train the gamecocks to fight and offered advice on certain types of drugs to give the bird in order to enhance their fighting performance.

Davis also admitted to possessing the talons of a Red Tailed Hawk and to giving the undercover agents marijuana seeds.

At sentencing, Davis faces a maximum possible penalty of up to one year in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000 for the marijuana charge, a maximum possible penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $20,000 for the charge related to selling Black Bear parts, a maximum possible penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 for selling fighting roosters and a maximum possible penalty of up to six months in prison and/or a fine of up to $15,000 for possessing the talons of a Red Tailed Hawk.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture, Office of the Inspector General; the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control; the Virginia Animal Fighting Task Force; the United States Forest Service; the National Park Service, Law Enforcement Division; the United States Fish and Wildlife Service; the Virginia Department of Agriculture; the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries; and the Virginia Attorney General’s Office. The Humane Society of the United States assisted in recovering and caring for the animals involved in this case. Special Assistant United States Attorneys Ramin Fatehi and K. Michelle Welch are prosecuting the case for the United States.

Updated April 15, 2015