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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of North Dakota

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Geneseo, ND, Man Sentenced for Migratory Bird Treaty Act Violations

Fargo – United States Attorney Drew H. Wrigley announced that on May 8, 2019, United States Magistrate Judge Alice R. Senechal sentenced Jesse James Mertins, age 40, Geneseo, ND, to pay a $15,000 fine and serve five years of probation for violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

In 2017, Mertins set 19 pole traps around an enclosure in which Mertins raised exotic waterfowl to protect his investment in these waterfowl from predatory birds. Agents from United States Fish and Wildlife Service recovered at least 26 migratory birds from in and beneath these pole traps, including ten Great horned owls, one Sharp-shinned hawk, one Cooper’s hawk, one great blue heron, one hooded merganser, seven common grackles, four American robins, and one yellow-headed blackbird. All of these birds are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

U.S. Attorney Drew H. Wrigley stated, “The facts of this case are particularly egregious given the large number of pole traps, the small area in which those traps were placed, and the substantial number of migratory birds killed, including more than a dozen birds of prey. This was an important investigation, and we are committed to investigating and pursuing similar cases up ahead.”

This case was investigated by United States Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Assistant United States Attorney Megan A. Healy prosecuted the case.

Terry W. VAN HORN (701) 297-7458
Updated May 9, 2019