ALBQUERQUE, N.M. – Ruth Grande Olguin, 55, of Albuquerque, pleaded guilty in federal court on April 6 to three counts of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Grande Olguin was sentenced to one year of probation.
In the plea agreement, Grande Olguin admitted that on April 27, 2019, she unlawfully possessed feathers and other parts of the crested caracara. She also admitted that on May 22, 2019, she unlawfully possessed sharp-shinned hawk feathers as well as feathers and other parts of the crested caracara. Finally, Grande Olguin admitted that on November 12, 2019, she unlawfully possessed feathers and other parts of the crested caracara. Both birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. On each occasion, Grande Olguin was in possession of the feathers and other parts in Bernalillo County, New Mexico. These laws prohibit the possession, use, and sale of the feathers or other parts of federally-protected birds, as well as the unauthorized killing of these birds, to help ensure that the caracara, hawk, and other bird populations remain healthy and sustainable.
As part of her plea agreement, Grande Olguin agrees to pay a fine of $2,000 payable to the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund Account. Grand Olguin forfeits any interest in feathers, parts, and products thereof, of bald eagles, golden eagles, sharp-shinned hawks, American kestrels, greater roadrunners, red-tailed hawks, northern flickers, white-winged doves, crested caracaras, Cooper’s hawks, barred owls, turkey vultures, and a falcon seized during the course of the investigation of this case.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with assistance from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Novaline D. Wilson.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges as well as thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts.