9 Charged with Importing, Selling Wild Turkeys in KY

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9 Charged with Importing, Selling Wild Turkeys in KY

Postby Todd » Tue May 26, 2009 1:07 am

9 charged with illegally importing, possessing or selling live wild turkeys

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife conservation officers served summonses today on nine people, seized 15 wild turkeys and 25 wild turkey eggs persons following an eight-month, multi-state investigation which resulted in 421 criminal charges of illegally importing, possessing or selling wild turkeys in Kentucky.

Officers obtained summonses in 11 counties spanning the state from Calloway in far western Kentucky to Pike in far eastern Kentucky. The investigation, termed Operation Toxic Turkey, documented 167 live wild turkeys illegally imported into Kentucky, including eastern and Rio Grande wild turkeys acquired from a New Mexico hatchery.

It is illegal for the general public to possess a live wild turkey in Kentucky, and a wildlife transportation permit issued by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife is required of anyone bringing wildlife into the state.

Investigators were first alerted to possible illegal trafficking in wild turkeys last August, when they heard a broadcast on a Bardstown radio station advertising live eastern wild turkeys for sale. The investigation that followed quickly expanded beyond state lines and turned up similar violations in at least 13 additional states.

New Mexico Department of Fish and Game officers helped trace the eastern and Rio Grande turkeys purchased and imported into Kentucky from Privett Hatchery in Portales, New Mexico. Purchase and shipping records obtained by investigators led to the charges and summonses. The hatchery has a permit to legally sell turkeys.

Those charged include Stanley Hurst, 28, Bardstown, 168 counts of importing, possessing or selling wild turkeys. Others include Margaret Hamilton, 36, Pikeville; Allan Chaney, 45, Irvine; John Hester, 23, Henderson; and Thomas Murdock, 51, Murray, each charged with 30 counts of importing and possessing wild turkeys. Additional charges of importing or possessing wild turkeys were placed against Jeremy Ginn, 32, Mt. Sterling, 40 counts; Caroline Cox, 50, Turners Station, 20 counts; Elizabeth Patrick, 41, Cave City, 14 counts; and Julie Saling, 26, Bowling Green, two counts.

Wildlife biologists say importing wild turkeys into Kentucky puts the state
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