Dallas man sentenced for trafficking in hummingbird ‘charms’

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Migratory Bird Treaty Act violations are serious business — often paired with charges associated with a variety of other laws involving transport of various species — something one Dallas man in hot water after being found guilty of for trafficking in dried hummingbird carcasses knows all too well.

Carlos Delgado Rodriguez Delgado, 53, pleaded guilty to violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in August 2014 after being charged with smuggling dead hummingbirds — referred to as “chuparosas” — from Mexico. Delgado unlawfully imported an estimated 60 dead hummingbirds of various varieties into the United States for sale from February 2013 through January 2014, according to an indictment. The importation of dead hummingbirds also violates the Convention on International Trade in endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the Lacey Act, federal smuggling laws and Texas state law.

Delgado was sentenced in April to four years of supervised probation and ordered to pay $5,000 in fines and restitution for the felonies.

Delgado, who worked in a “botanica” or shop specializing in herbs and charms, met with an undercover U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent in January 2014, with the intent of selling the dried romantic good luck charms, officials said. Delgado sold for $770 35 humming birds of four species that had been captured, killed, dried and preserved.

It is illegal for anyone to take, possess, import, export, transport or sell a hummingbird, or its parts, nests or eggs, except under the terms of a valid federal permit.

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Will Leschper is founder of The Texas Outdoor Digest. He has been recognized for Excellence in Craft by the Outdoor Writers Association of America and the Texas Outdoor Writers Association. He is Conservation Editor of Texas Fish & Game Magazine and is a regular contributor to the Journal of the Texas Trophy Hunters, in addition to writing for plenty of of now-defunct publications.

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