August 9, 2007
Fort Myers, Florida - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced today that five hunters each
plead guilty for killing over the legal limit of waterfowl and wanton waste for
leaving behind many of the waterfowl they killed while hunting in Hendry County,
These violations are federal misdemeanor crimes under the Migratory Bird Treaty
Act, and carry a maximum fine of $15,000, six months in jail and five years
probation for each count.
United States Magistrate Judge Douglas N. Frazier found Florida residents Javier
Garcia, 35, and Manuel Rodriguez, 37, (both from the Tampa area), Daniel Cruz,
42, Reinaldo Roman, 36, and Juan Perez, 37, (all from the Miami area) guilty for
the violations of federal wildlife law. Each were sentenced as follows; Garcia
received a $6,000 fine, Rodriguez and Cruz each received a $5,000 fine, Perez
and Ramon each received a $4,000 fine and each defendant was ordered to pay
court costs of $70.00.
In addition, each defendant was placed on federal probation for three-and-a-half
years, with a special condition of probation that they may not hunt any wildlife
in the United States during their probation period.
"These folks were greedy," said Jim Gale, the lead special agent in the
Service's Southeast Region. "They are not hunters and they've done a great
disservice to America's hunting tradition.?
Gale went on to say that hunters for decades have paid most of the freight that
has made many of wildlife conservation successes of the past century possible
through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration program, purchasing duck
stamps that benefit land conservation, and supporting of many hunting
"These men showed a shameful lack of respect for wildlife, violating the ethical
standards that true outdoorsmen hold dear,? said Major Brett Norton Commander of
Law Enforcement, South Region, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. ?It was
great to work with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the case. Such partnerships
are crucial to protecting Florida's natural resources."
According to court documents and information provided in court, Garcia,
Rodriguez, Cruz, Perez and Ramon were hunting waterfowl in Hendry County,
Florida when Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officers in the
area witnessed the defendants killing many ducks. As the officers approached,
the defendants continued shooting more ducks, then picked through the ducks,
taking the ones they wanted and leaving the rest behind. In total, the
defendants killed 88 ducks, more than 50 ducks above the legal limit. This
equates to each hunter killing more than twice the legal limit.
The investigation was referred to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service
for further investigation and federal prosecution due to the severity of the
violation and the gross over limit of waterfowl killed.
This case was investigated by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and
the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.