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"Operation Rolling Thunder" Deals Blow To Bird Trafficking



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A 2 year covert investigation has dealt a blow to illegal trafficking of eagles and hawks.

Five defendants were indicted in South Dakota, and seven were indicted in Montana. Sentences ranged from 6 months in home confinement to 2 years in prison.

Operation Rolling Thunder was an investigation focusing on unlawful trafficking in federally protected migratory birds, primarily bald and golden eagles. The operation was conducted by agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from March of 2008 through February of 2011 in Montana and South Dakota.

During the investigation there were 43 transactions of protected birds. Those involved in the trafficking ring would sell whole bald and golden eagles, or parts of the birds, to the agents. Over 80 eagles and 30 hawks were involved in the operation.
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