Colchester Man Charged With Federal Migratory Bird Violations and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition
The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Jeremiah Ruhl, 43, of Colchester, Vermont was charged with the unlawful killing of a crow and woodcock without a license and unlawful possession of a turkey vulture. All three of these birds are “migratory birds” and protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Ruhl was also charged with unlawfully possessing a Stevens .410 shotgun and rifle ammunition after having been convicted of a felony. The indictment, returned by a federal grand jury sitting in Burlington, contains a total of six counts.
Ruhl pled not guilty to all counts on April 26, 2019. The government moved for detention and a detention hearing was held on April 29, 2019. United States Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy ordered that Ruhl be detained pending trial and remanded him to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
If convicted of the firearms violation, Ruhl could face a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000. If convicted of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act violations, Ruhl could face six months imprisonment and a $5,000 fine for each of the three counts. The indictment is an accusation only and that the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. If convicted the defendant’s actual sentence will be advised by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
United States Attorney Christina Nolan stated: “This case represents a firm commitment by my office to work with state game wardens and federal wildlife agents to vigorously investigate and prosecute federal wildlife crimes that undermine state and federal efforts to protect the precious natural resources of our beautiful State.”
Colonel Jason Batchelder of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department stated: “Thanks to our dedicated State Game Warden investigators, and federal agents and prosecutors working in concert, crimes against the natural resources of Vermont and migratory bird species we share with neighboring states, will see an appropriate response.” This case was investigated by the State Game Wardens in the Law Enforcement Division of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, the Colchester Police Department, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Perella. Ruhl is represented by the Federal Public Defenders Office.