Two White Swan men plead guilty to killing several eaglesPosted: Updated:
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Two men from White Swan pled guilty Monday, to killing several bald and golden eagles and trying to sell their parts.
Alfred L. Hawk, Jr., 23, and William R. Wahsise, 23, pled guilty to killing and conspiring to take and sell eagle parts in violation of federal law.
In March 2009, wildlife agents searched the homes of both men, and seized more than 25 golden eagle tails, 52 golden eagle wings, 21 bald eagle tails, and two bald eagle wings along with assorted feathers.
Hawk Pled guilty to three felony charges and one misdemeanor, while Wahsise pled guilty to one felony and one misdemeanor.
"The indiscriminate slaughter of these protected birds is alarming. The black market sale of eagle parts must be stopped at its source," said James A. McDevitt, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington in a statement.
"The criminal actions of these defendants defile respectful Native American religious and cultural observances, and I hope the community will come together in condemning their behavior, " said Paul Chang, Special Agent in Charge of Law Enforcement for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Pacific Region.
Chang also noted there are legal options to obtaining eagle feathers and parts. He said Fish and Wildlife are committed to helping tribal members acquire them through these methods.
The penalty for a first time violation of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act is up to
one year in prison and a $250,000 fine. The second or subsequent conviction is up to two
years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Penalties for conspiring to take and sell bald and golden
eagle parts is up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
A sentencing hearing for Hawk and Wahsise is set for October 13.