Federal authorities in South Dakota have charged 16 more defendants in a two-year undercover investigation into the illegal
trafficking of eagle parts.
U.S. Attorney Randy Seiler announced the indictments Friday in Rapid City.
They come on top of indictments he announced against 15 people in April for illegally trafficking in eagles and other migratory birds.
The new defendants include operators of pawn shops in Rapid City and Mobridge, two actual pawn shops and other individuals from South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska and Idaho.
The case offers a window into the black market for eagle carcasses, feathers and other parts, which are often used in Native American-style handicrafts.
Federal law limits possession of eagle feathers and other parts to enrolled members of federally recognized tribes who use them in religious practices.