Local teen faces federal charges in whooping crane killings

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News release from the U.S. Attorney's Office:

An 18-year-old Beaumont, Texas man has been arrested for federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas, U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced Jan. 14.

Trey Joseph Frederick was arrested today pursuant to a criminal complaint issued by the U.S. District Court charging him with violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.  Frederick appeared in federal court this afternoon on the charges.

According to information presented in court, on Jan. 11, 2016, 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.

If convicted, Frederick faces up six months in federal prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

This case is being investigated by Special agents with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, Office of Law Enforcement and Game Wardens with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph R. Batte.

It is important to note that a complaint, arrest, or indictment should not be considered as evidence of guilt and that all persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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