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Press Release

North Dakota Man Sentenced for Wildlife Violations involving Bald Eagle Deaths

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Dakota

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Flasher, North Dakota, man convicted of Unlawful Taking of Bald Eagles, Unlawful Taking of Migratory Birds, and Unlawful Use of Restricted Use Pesticide was sentenced on April 2, 2020, by U.S. Magistrate Judge William D. Gerdes.

David Alan Meyer, age 58, was ordered to pay a total of $58,800 in restitution, $9,800 per eagle, a $50,000 fine, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $50.

"Today's sentencing is a testament to the commitment of federal, tribal and state law enforcement agencies to protect our nation's bald eagles," said Edward Grace, Assistant Director of the Office of Law Enforcement. "Illegal poisoning can have a significant impact on their populations. Working with our tribal, state and federal partners, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is dedicated to protect our nation's fish and wildlife resources."  

Meyer was charged on January 16, 2020.  He pled guilty to the Information on January 30, 2020.

In March and April 2016, a joint Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Game and Fish Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Environmental Protection Agency investigation revealed that David Meyer, owner of Meyer Buffalo Ranch on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation had supervised the misapplication of 39,000 pounds of Rozol prairie dog bait, a restricted use pesticide, on over 5,400 acres of his property. 

Over a dozen workers were interviewed and confirmed they were supposed to put the poison in the holes, but due the high demand on the amount of poison that needed to be dispensed and the large land tract, workers got sloppy and the poison was not dispensed as required by the label. Because of the misapplication, the EPA emergency response team was dispatched to oversee the cleanup of the ranch land by Meyer.  During the course of the investigation, six bald eagles were recovered and confirmed to have died as a result of the poison.

“The defendant put the health of workers and wildlife at risk by illegally obtaining and using a restricted-use pesticide,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Lance Ehrig of the EPA’s Denver Area Office. “This case serves as a stark reminder that restricted use pesticides must be applied by certified personnel and as intended. Those who circumvent and ignore the laws that protect public health and wildlife will be held accountable by the EPA and our law enforcement partners.” 

This case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Game and Fish Department, and the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan N. Dilges prosecuted the case.

Updated April 28, 2020