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How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Ala. Man Pleads Guilty to Selling Bird Feathers


Anhinga bird/istock photo

By Danny Fenster

It ain’t the crime of the century. But it can still land  you in one heck of a lot of trouble. Ask Alexander D. Alvarez.

Alvarez  pleaded guilty to the selling and possessing of illegal migratory bird feathers, the Department of Justice announced on Wednesday.

Alvarez, of Atmore, Ala., entered a guilty plea in federal court to violating the Lacey Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), according to the Justice Department Environment and Natural Resources Division announced on Wednesday. The MBTA protects certain birds from being “killed, sold, bartered, transported or possessed,” with exceptions for some American Indian tribes. Alvarez was charged on the first of the month with two felonies and one misdemeanor, violations which carry a combined possible nine-and-a-half year sentence and up to $785,000 in fines. Sentencing is scheduled for May 22.

Court documents indicate that Alvarez emailed a Louisiana individual regarding the exchange of two Anhinga tails for a crested Caracara tail, a Harris’s hawk tail and $400, then sent 14 sets of Anhinga tail feathers to the individual, asking the recipient to photograph and offer the tails for sale via email. He later received payment for the tails.

Alvarez’s home was searched with a federal search warrant on March 11, 2009, where feathers from several migratory bird species were seized, according to the Justice Department.


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