WICHITA, KAN. An Oklahoma man was sentenced Wednesday to a year on federal probation for selling feathers from eagles and hawks covered by a federal law protecting migratory birds, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said.
Brian K. Stoner, 33, Ponca City, Okla., pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of violating the federal Lacey Act regarding the commercialization of illegally taken wildlife. In his plea, he admitted that on Feb. 26, 2009, he was in Lawrence, Kan., where he met with an agent of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who was working undercover. Stoner offered to sell the agent parts of a Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), a Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) and a Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway). Stoner also offered to sell the agent a Native American dance bustle made of rough-legged hawk and ferruginous hawk feathers (Buteo lagopus and Buteo regalis).
While Native Americans are allowed under proper circumstances to have such feathers, the commercialization of such is never allowed. Federal law (Title 16, United States Code, Section 703) prohibits taking, killing or possessing migratory birds.
Feathers seized in the case will be sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Eagle Repository in Colorado. The repository provides eagle feathers to Native Americans for use in Indian religious and cultural ceremonies.
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Grissom commended the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy Hendershot for their work on the case.