A Dallas mystic shop owner has pleaded guilty to trafficking dried hummingbird carcasses in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.
Cynthia Macias-Martinez, 48, pleaded guilty to the sale of wildlife taken in violation of federal law before United States Magistrate Judge Renee H. Toliver on Tuesday.
According to court documents, Ms. Macias-Martinez, owner of a Dallas mystic shop, admitted to selling dried hummingbird carcasses known as “chuparosas” without a valid permit or authorization. “Chuparosas” are believed by some to have mystical benefits and are commonly used as amulets or charms.
The hummingbird, a migratory bird, is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Pursuant to Federal regulations, it is illegal to take, possess, import, export, transport, or sell a hummingbird, or its parts, nests, or eggs, except under the terms of a valid permit.
Ms. Macias-Martinez admitted the dried hummingbird carcasses she acquired were illegally imported and smuggled into the United States from Mexico. Without a valid permit or authorization, Ms. Macias-Martinez offered the dried hummingbird carcasses for sale in her store.
She further admitted to both possessing and selling dozens of dried hummingbird carcasses of different species each of which are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Ms. Macias-Martinez faces up to 5 years in federal prison, a$250,000 fine, and restitution for her crimes. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, IRS-Criminal Investigations, and Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant U.S. Douglas Brasher is prosecuting this case.