DOJ SealDepartment of Justice

United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe
Eastern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               CONTACT:  DAVILYN WALSTON
TUESDAY, JUNE 26, 2007                                                                      PHONE: (409) 839-2538
WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe                                                               CELL: (409) 553-9881


TEXARKANA, TX – United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe announced today that a Dallas based Production Company has pleaded guilty to a violation of the Migratory Bird Act Treaty in the Eastern District of Texas

SPINDLETOP DRILLING COMPANY, based in Dallas, Texas, accepted responsibility for committing the offense of Unlawfully Taking Migratory Birds.  The plea was heard before United States Magistrate Judge Carolyn Craven.

 The Migratory Bird Treaty Act criminalizes even the unintentional capture or killing of migratory birds if it occurs without a license or permit.  

According to information presented in court, on September 6, 2006, agents with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service performed an inspection of the company’s “Pewitt D” lease in rural Titus County.  The inspection led to the discovery of approximately twelve dead Northern Mockingbirds and one dead Mourning Dove in an oil sludge pit on the lease.  While Spindletop had originally netted the pit to prevent such an occurrence, over time portions of the net had sunk below the surface.  As a result, Spindletop has agreed to pay $10,000.00 in restitution to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and to be subject to a two-year probationary term.  At the hearing, Spindletop offered photographs and testimony demonstrating that it had already made the necessary repairs to the netting over the oil sludge pit and was implementing additional compliance mechanisms to avoid any future incidents.      
            This case was investigated by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service, Ft. Worth Office.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jim Noble.


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