American poachers charged after killing thousands of birds


Two men in the United States have been indicted after allegations that they illegally killed 3,600 birds, including Bald Eagles, before selling some on the black market.

Simon Paul and Travis John Bransom were indicted by a federal grand jury in Montana earlier this month on one count of conspiracy, multiple counts of unlawful trafficking of Bald and Golden Eagles and one count of violating the Lacey Act, an American law which prohibits trafficking of unlawfully taken wildlife.

The pochers are said to have illegally sold Bald Eagles (Steve Bell).

Investigators found messages from Branson in which he talked about killing eagles, saying he was "on a killing spree" to capture eagle feathers and at one point told someone he was "out [here] committing felonies", according to the indictment.

Also per the indictment, the two men "and others" hunted and killed thousands of birds on Confederated Salish and Kootenai peoples' lands and other locations, and sold parts of several eagles on the black market "for significant sums of cash across the United States and elsewhere".

The indictment also says the alleged conspiracy between Paul and Branson to kill and traffic the birds happened between January 2015 and March 2021.

Initial violations of the eagle trafficking statute carry a year in prison upon conviction, but subsequent violations carry two-year prison penalties. The conspiracy and Lacey Act violation counts carry penalties of five years in prison for each and large fines.