Skip to main content

Sting Reveals Illegal Wildlife Sales

Sting Reveals Illegal Wildlife Sales
Alligator snapping turtle (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department photo)

The four-day investigation into illegal wildlife sales in Texas led to charges for sale and possession of threatened species, sale of migratory duck parts, sale of live American alligators, and more.

From Texas Parks and Wildlife

HOUSTON – Trading on the internet can be a wild experience with deals on practically anything and everything one can imagine just a click away. Some online sellers in the Houston area learned that illegal sales of wildlife products can become high ticket items.

Texas game wardens made multiple criminal cases this week against individuals attempting to sell online various threatened and protected wildlife species, as well as state and federally regulated natural resources. Investigators navigated through internet forums and online marketplaces where trade in both live wildlife and wildlife parts are known to occur,


Wardens were able to negotiate undercover transactions with willing sellers to purchase things like a 100-pound alligator snapping turtle and a timber rattlesnake, both threatened species in Texas, as well as live alligators, illegal Gulf shrimp and raptor parts.

"Our focus was on identifying subjects attempting to sell or trade protected, prohibited, invasive, threatened or endangered species and setting up undercover buys as the enforcement strategy," said Game Warden Maj. Chris Davis, whose Criminal Investigation Division coordinated the covert operation with Houston area wardens. "The illegal sale and exploitation of wildlife resources is a global problem that has a direct negative effect on the State of Texas and could lead to the loss of Texas native species, either through the harvest of native species or introduction of non-indigenous invasive species."


Alligator snapping turtle (© Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)

During the four day operation, game wardens made multiple cases, including seizures of illegally obtained and possessed wildlife. Appropriate citations were issued and live native species were released back into their natural habitat. Citations included charges for sale and possession of threatened species, sale of migratory duck parts, sale of live American alligators, Illegal sale of aquatic product (Gulf shrimp), no retail / truck dealer's license, and failure to possess non-game dealer permit. All citations issued were class C misdemeanor violations punishable by fine from $25 — $500.

Federal laws regulating the sale of wildlife include the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; the Endangered Species Act (which bans the interstate or international sell of listed species and most products made from them); and the Marine Mammal Protection Act (which limits the sale of most marine mammal parts and products, other than those crafted by Native Alaskans).

Additional covert wild web operations are being considered elsewhere around the state, however, the public is urged to help augment game warden efforts by notifying Operation Game Thief at 800-792-GAME about possible illegal online wildlife trade activity or contact your local game warden office. A list of game warden offices can be found on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department web site.




Timber rattlesnake (© Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)(

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Popular Videos

DIY Garage Bow Mechanic: List of Tools and How to Get Started

DIY Garage Bow Mechanic: List of Tools and How to Get Started

Wanting to tune, tinker, and test your archery equipment without taking a trip to the pro shop? Great. Here's a list of tools you'll need and how to get setup to become a DIY bow mechanic in your garage.

Get on Board: Species for Beginner Anglers

Get on Board: Species for Beginner Anglers

With so many people turning to fishing as a way to escape the stress and challenges that have arisen in recent months, we've teamed up with the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation and the National Marine Manufacturers Association to explore some of the freshwater fish species you can target if you're just getting on board with fishing. #TheWaterIsOpen #GetOnBoard

Changing to the Chassis

Changing to the Chassis

Instead of being bedded in a one-piece stock, the Lupo's barreled action is secured to an aluminum chassis. It's one of the Lupo's most obvious departures from conventional deer rifle design. Why did Benelli choose a chassis? Learn about the benefits in episode five of Beyond the Rifle.

See All Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now