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Two men charged with killing, selling eagles

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FLATHEAD RESERVATION — Two men have been indicted on charges of killing some 3,600 federally-protected birds, including bald eagles, for profit. 

According to court documents, Simon Paul and Travis John Branson are accused of killing and selling eagles on the black market between 2015 to 2021. Paul, who lived near Ronan, was the alleged “shooter” and “shipper” of bald and golden eagles for Branson who would allegedly meet, help kill, transport and ship the birds for sale on the black market. 

The men face 15 counts in total that include the unlawful trafficking of bald and golden eagles and willful violation of the Lacey Act which prohibits trading in wildlife that has been illegally taken, possessed, transported or sold. They are set to be arraigned in federal court in Missoula in January 2024.

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