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Texas man pleads guilty to poisoning bald eagle

Posted at 7:30 PM, Feb 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-26 23:31:41-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A Bay City resident has admitted responsibility for poisoning a protected species.

According to U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick, 35-year-old Leonard Cornelius said he put about 30 pounds of poison on a segment of his crops to kill birds that were eating his corn.

He pleaded guilty today to violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act which makes it illegal to kill, possess, sell, transport, export or import, any bald or golden eagle, alive or dead, including any part, nest, or egg, unless specifically allowed by permit.

On March 22, authorities found the dead bald eagle among other dead birds and hogs that appeared to be poisoned.

“We work with our state law enforcement partners on information sharing and investigations to effectively protect our nation's wildlife resources,” said Special Agent in Charge Phillip Land of the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) - Office of Law Enforcement. “Through the effective enforcement of state and federal laws, we can conserve those trust species in the State of Texas and across the nation for future generations.

Cornelius will have to serve a year of probation and pay 11,907.50 in restitution to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert D. Thorpe Jr. is prosecuting the case. FWS conducted the investigation with assistance of TPWD.