Wyden Introduces Wildlife Anti-Trafficking Bill
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today introduced legislation that would toughen federal penalties for illegal wildlife trafficking and international conservation violations.
Wyden said his Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act would classify wildlife trafficking operations under federal racketeering and organized crime statutes, enabling U.S. prosecutors to administer substantial fines and prison time to violators.
“These brazen wildlife traffickers deserve much tougher penalties for their cruel devastation of threatened species around the globe,” Wyden said. “This bill would give U.S. law enforcement the tools it needs for this crackdown on international criminal organizations that leave behind a path of destruction.”
In addition to applying racketeering and organized crime statues to these crimes, the legislation also would establish procedures to secure valuable, useful information from whistle-blowers and would empower federal wildlife agents to operate abroad. And the bill would expand the Marine Turtle Act of 2004 to include U.S. territories and increase its scope to cover marine and freshwater turtles as well as tortoises.
The House companion to Wyden’s Senate bill is sponsored by U.S. Delegate Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam)
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