Missouri Resident Charged with Federal Lacey Act Violations
St Louis, MO – CHARLES "SAM" JAMES, Columbia, Missouri, was charged in a one-count federal indictment for violations of the Lacey Act for engaging in conduct that involved the sale of white-tailed deer transported in violation of Missouri and Florida law.
According to the indictment, in October 2013, Charles “Sam” James, co-owner of Timber Hollow Whitetails, transported eleven live white-tailed deer in interstate commerce in violation of state and federal laws from Missouri to a white-tailed deer farm in Florida. The transportation of these animals took place after a Florida state law took effect banning the importation of captive white-tailed deer. The defendant allegedly transported the deer from Timber Hollow Whitetails near Mexico, Missouri, in a rented utility box trailer, to a deer farm near Laurel Hills, Florida.
Federal law makes it unlawful to transport live white-tailed deer out of the State of Missouri or into the State of Florida without proper documentation of the animals and without required animal health records. These health records include certifying that captive-bred animals are free from diseases like chronic wasting disease, tuberculosis and brucellosis.
Chronic wasting disease is the chief threat to wild deer and elk populations in North America. The disease, which ultimately ends in the death of infected animals, is a transmissible neurological disease that produces small lesions in the brain of deer and elk and is characterized by loss of body condition and behavioral abnormalities.
If convicted, this charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both. In determining the actual sentences, a judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.
This case was investigated by agents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Assistant United States Attorney Dianna Collins is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
As is always the case, charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.