Four Mississippi men are facing a slew of charges following a grand jury hearing for allegedly poaching turkey among other violations. The four are accused of traveling through Kansas and Nebraska on an illegal hunt around 2017 or 2018.
The men, Barney Bairfield, Kenneth Britt, Dustin Treadway and Tony Smith have all been charged with illegally hunting turkey. Britt faces additional charges including lying to a federal law enforcement officer and is accused of killing red-shouldered hawks in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Authorities say the four killed at least 25 wild turkeys when the legal limit was eight, just two per person, in Kansas. This case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, or MDWFP.
“The fine sportsmen and women of this state can rest assured that, nationwide, conservation enforcement agencies, along with Agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will continue working together to stop the thievery and abuse of our valuable natural resources,” said MDWFP Colonel Steve Adcock.
None of the men had permission to hunt in Kansas or Nebraska. It is also a violation of federal law to transport any wildlife taken illegally across state lines under the Lacey Act.
The defendants appeared for arraignment earlier this week before U.S. Magistrate Judge F. Keith Ball. The trial is scheduled to start November 2, 2020. The prosecutor will be First Assistant United States Attorney Darren J. LaMarca.
If found guilty, Britt faces up to 7 years in prison and a $450,000 fine. Smith faces a total of 2 years and 6 months in prison and a $215,000 fine. Bairfield faces 3 years in prison and a $300,000 fine and Treadway 1 year in prison and a $100,000 fine.