BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A federal choose issued an arrest warrant Monday for a Montana man who failed to point out up for an preliminary court docket look on prices of killing thousands of birds, together with bald and golden eagles. A second defendant pleaded not responsible.

The 2 males, working with others, killed about 3,600 birds on Montana’s Flathead Indian Reservation and elsewhere over a six-year interval starting in 2015, in response to a grand jury indictment unsealed final month. The defendants additionally have been accused of promoting eagle components on a black market that has been a long-running downside for U.S. wildlife officers.

Justice of the Peace Choose Kathleen L. DeSoto issued a warrant for Simon Paul, 42, of St. Ignatius, Montana, after he failed to look at his scheduled arraignment Monday in U.S. District Courtroom in Missoula.

Travis John Branson, 48, of Cusick, Washington, pleaded not responsible and was launched pending additional proceedings within the case.

The 2 defendants are charged with a mixed 13 counts of illegal trafficking of bald and golden eagles and one rely every of conspiracy and violating wildlife trafficking legal guidelines.

Paul and Branson labored with others who weren’t named within the indictment to hunt and kill the birds, and in at the least one occasion used a useless deer to lure an eagle that was then shot, in response to prosecutors. The boys then conspired to promote eagle feathers, tails, wings and different components for “important sums of money,” the indictment mentioned.

They resist 5 years in federal jail on every of the conspiracy and wildlife trafficking violations. Trafficking eagles carries a penalty of as much as one 12 months in jail for a primary offense and two years in jail for every subsequent offense.

Branson couldn’t be reached for remark and his court-appointed lawyer, federal defender Michael Donahoe, didn’t instantly reply to a message left at his workplace. Paul couldn’t be reached for remark.

Bald eagles are the nationwide image of america, and each bald and golden eagles are broadly thought of sacred by American Indians. U.S. legislation prohibits anybody with no allow from killing, wounding or disturbing eagles or taking any components resembling nests or eggs.

Bald eagles have been killed off throughout many of the U.S. over the past century, due largely to the pesticide DDT, however later flourished beneath federal protections and got here off the federal endangered species checklist in 2007.

Golden eagle populations are much less safe, and researchers say illegal shootings, energy development, lead poisoning and different issues have pushed the species to the brink of decline.

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