A 19-year-old Beaumont man has been sentenced for federal wildlife violations in the Eastern District of Texas announced Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston.
Trey Joseph Frederick pleaded guilty on May 23 to a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and was sentenced to five years of federal probation by U.S. Magistrate Judge Zack Hawthorn. As part of his probation, Frederick is prohibited from owning or possessing firearms, ammunition or any other dangerous weapon. He is also prohibited from hunting or fishing anywhere in the United States.
According to information presented in court, on Jan. 11, a Texas Game Warden received two calls reporting two whooping cranes had been shot on Blair Road in Jefferson County. Further investigation revealed the defendant had been seen in the area with a hunting rifle and had claimed to be hunting geese. Federal agents contacted Frederick at his home on LaBelle Road where he admitted to killing the cranes.
Whooping cranes are migratory birds and are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act making it unlawful to capture, kill, or attempt to capture or kill in the United States.
“The loss of these cranes is not simply a loss for the species. It is a loss for the community, for taxpayers and for future generations deprived of an opportunity to see these magnificent birds thriving in the wild," said Southwest Region Special Agent in Charge Nicholas E. Chavez of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Moreover, the killing of these two whooping cranes is not an isolated incident. Over the past five years, more than 20 whooping cranes have been shot and killed in the U.S. By bringing criminals who perpetrate crimes against wildlife to justice, we hope to prevent future tragedies like this from occurring.”
Frederick has been ordered to pay restitution to the International Crane Foundation in the amount of $12,907.50 and restitution to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation in the amount of $12,907.50 for a total restitution judgment of $25,815.
Frederick must also perform 200 hours of community service.