A Pennsylvania man has been charged with attempting to smuggle more than a half dozen tropical birds into the United States from Canada.
Federal prosecutors in Vermont said that, on Dec. 30, 2019, Jafet Rodriguez of Hazelton, Pa., walked across the Canadian border into Stanstead, Quebec, where he retrieved a black duffle bag containing seven birds from a parked car. He was arrested after crossing back into the U.S. at Derby and entering a vehicle with Pennsylvania plates.
Border agents retrieved five yellow-headed amazon parrots and two white-bellied parrots. Both species are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, and cannot be imported without a permit. The birds were turned over to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and quarantined at the New York Animal Import Center in Rock Tavern.
Rodriguez, 39, was charged Thursday with violating the Endangered Species Act and the federal anti-smuggling statute. He is due back in court for a preliminary hearing Feb. 28, 2020.