Gilbert G. Walks, Jr. Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on February 2, 2012, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, GILBERT G. WALKS, JR., a 49-year-old resident of Crow Agency, pled guilty to unlawfully trafficking in eagles and hawks. Sentencing has been set for May 4, 2012. He is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark S. Smith, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On September 19, 2009, WALKS was hitch-hiking west on Highway 212 between Lame Deer and Billings. He was picked up by an informant with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. As they drove, the men began discussing eagle feathers. WALKS said he had a golden eagle wing and bald eagle tail feathers for sale. WALKS also offered to sell a whole hawk tail. The informant said he was interested in buying the feathers. WALKS told the informant to drive to WALKS' house in Crow Agency. WALKS retrieved the items and sold them to the informant for $150. WALKS told the informant that he had previously been convicted of selling eagle feathers, described where he hunted eagles on the Crow Reservation, and how he "parted out" eagles that were killed by others.
On October 24, 2009, WALKS called the informant and said he had some eagle feathers, talons, and hawk feathers for sale. Later that night, the men met in Hardin. WALKS offered to sell hawk feathers and three eagle talons for $80. The informant bought these items, and some beaded key chains, for $100.
On October 25, 2009, WALKS met up with the informant and retrieved a bag of eagle and hawk feathers from his house. WALKS described how he hunted hawks out toward Pryor with a .22 or a .22 magnum. WALKS offered for sale, and sold the bag of feathers for $40. Later analysis revealed the bag contained two partial eagle wings, 46 miscellaneous eagle feathers, and one hawk feather.
On January 29, 2010, WALKS called the informant and offered to sell three immature golden eagles, for $300 each, on behalf of a third party. Before they could make this exchange, on February 2, 2010, WALKS told the informant the supplier had revised the offer: five whole-carcass dead eagles (three golden and two bald) for $2,000. The informant accepted the deal, paid, and received the eagle carcasses.
WALKS faces possible penalties of 2 years in prison, a $10,000 fine and 1 year supervised release.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.