Lawrence Lanier Jr. of Glendale Accused by Feds of Buying Hawk Feathers in '08

Categories: Crime Blotter

hawk feathers 1.JPG
Image: http://www.lab.fws.gov
Feathers like this can fetch hundreds of dollars on the black market. But buyer very much beware: The transaction is illegal.

Lawrence Lanier Jr. of Glendale admitted to an agent in 2009 that he had purchased hawk feathers the year before, and the feds are finally getting around to prosecuting him.

A complaint was filed against Lanier Jr. on December 21st in Arizona U.S. District Court, alleging that he'd bought several sets of rough legged hawk feathers between January and April of 2008.

Native Americans sometimes use feathers in ceremonies, but no one is allowed to buy and sell them under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

rough legged hawk 1.JPG
Rough legged hawk, with feathers intact.

It's unclear if the case is related in any way to that of Patrick Scott, a Tuba City man who recently pleaded guilty to selling bird feathers to numerous customers between 2007 and 2008. Though the time-frame is about right, Lanier's complaint says Lanier bought his feathers from a Washington seller. Must be more people selling feathers than we thought.

Lanier's being charged with two counts of purchasing migratory bird parts.

The government learned he was a suspect while investigating the Washington man, identified only as "Individual A" in the complaint against Lanier written by U.S. Fish and Wildlife agent Preston Fant. The seller sold Lanier two sets of feathers for $250 per set in the transactions, which were well documented in e-mails between Lanier and the seller.

The rough legged hawk isn't endangered or threatened in the United States. But it probably would be if it were legal to shoot them for their pricey feathers.

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