Alaskan Taxidermist Pleads Guilty to Smuggling Exotic Birds into the U.S.
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA – Heinrich “Henry” Springer, of Anchorage, Alaska, has pled guilty to conspiracy to smuggle wildlife and other protected species, transporting wildlife in violation of foreign law, and concealing illegally imported merchandise. The guilty plea was announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
Between May 2010 and October 2014, Springer and Anthony Gilyard, of Williston, Florida, conspired to smuggle and trade in endangered, protected, and threatened birds, in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Over the years, Springer collected more than 5,000 bird specimens through hunting, purchase, and trade. He traveled internationally to obtain them, acquiring birds from Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Africa, Australia, Siberia, and South America.
Springer and Gilyard were taxidermists with an in-depth knowledge of domestic and international wildlife laws. Gilyard unlawfully acquired the birds from foreign sellers and traders, and Springer then smuggled the birds into the United States.
For the conspiracy charge, Springer faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. For the wildlife transportation charge, he faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $20,000 fine. For the smuggling charge, he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Springer is scheduled to be sentenced on August 28, 2017, at 2:00 p.m.
The case was investigated by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory P. McMahon.
The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access available public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.