Father, son plead guilty in black market eagle trafficking

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) – A father and his adult son have pleaded guilty in South Dakota to federal charges in a case that offered a glimpse into the illegal trafficking of eagles and other protected birds.

Troy Fairbanks and his son, Majestic Fairbanks, were among 30 people and pawn shops indicted in 2017 as part of a two-year investigation into the black market trade of eagle carcasses, parts and feathers.

Prosecutors say they found more than 100 eagle carcasses or parts in the Fairbanks’ Rapid City home. Investigators say they purchased protected bird parts from suspects in South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska and Iowa. The Fairbanks entered their pleas Friday. 

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