Media outlets throughout the country are sharing the disturbing news, released yesterday, that 15 people from four states have been federally indicted in South Dakota for illegally trafficking eagles and other migratory birds.
The news appears to have been generated from an Associated Press article that was covered by a variety of outlets including ABC News.
Local Fox affiliate KEVN reported that the charges were filed following a two-year undercover investigation referred to as Project Dakota Flyer.
SDPB radio further reported that roughly 250 eagles, and over one-hundred hawks and owls had been trafficked during this time.
The alleged perpetrators have been charged with conspiracy to commit wildlife trafficking and violations of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
“There was no cultural sensitivity, there was no spirituality, there was no tradition in the manner with which these defendants handled these birds,” said United States attorney for South Dakota, Randy Seiler who described one moneymaking operation as a chop shop for eagles. “They had eagle feathers stuffed in garbage bags, in Wal-Mart bags—blood all over, transported them in various vehicles and coolers.”