News and Press Releases

Miami Resident Sentenced for Taking Migratory Birds and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

September 5, 2013

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Hugo Barrera, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and David Pharo, Resident Agent in Charge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Office of Law Enforcement (OLE), announce that on September 4, 2013, Jose Valladares, 56, of Miami, pled guilty to charges of taking migratory birds and unlawful possession of a firearm. Valladares was sentenced immediately following his guilty plea by U.S. District Judge Kathleen M. Williams to one year probation and a $125 special assessment.

According to Court documents and statements at the hearing, Valladares established a bird trap on his property which captured a turkey vulture (Cathartes aura), a species of migratory bird protected pursuant to the convention between the United States of America and the then existing Union of Soviet Socialist Republics concerning the conservation of migratory birds and their environment. The case also involved the capture and possession of three painted buntings (Passerina ciris), and four indigo buntings (Passerina cyanea).

During the operation to recover the painted and indigo buntings, Valladares was found to be in possession of a firearm and ammunition. Valladares was prohibited from possessing the same pursuant to a court order issued on or about January 22, 2004, by the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in Miami-Dade County.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of USFWS-OLE and ATF. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Norman O. Hemming, III and Antonia Barnes.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or on

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