Kentucky Man Charged With Illegal Trafficking of Bobcats and Hawks
A Breathitt County man was arraigned in federal court earlier this week on four felony charges alleging violations of the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Danny Gayheart, 32, of Noctor, pleaded not guilty to the charges on Monday, July 18. The charges were filed May 5 in a federal indictment, following a 17-month undercover investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and conservation officers with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
According to the federal indictment, in March of this year, Gayheart tried to sell a red-tailed hawk, a federally protected species under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
State conservation officers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents arrested Gayheart on Wednesday, July 6. His trial on the federal charges is set for Sept. 20 in U.S. District Court in Lexington.
Kentucky conservation officers also charged Gayheart with 46 violations of state wildlife law.
Kentucky conservation officers allege that Gayheart illegally sold seven live bobcats and three live red-tailed hawks to undercover officers, beginning in February 2010. State conservation officers said they purchased fox and coyote carcasses from Gayheart as well.
State conservation officers Rufus Cravens and Sgt. David Marques joined state undercover officers and special agents with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in making the arrest.
Gayheart was scheduled for arraignment on the state charges July 25 in Clark District Court.