Montana Man Indicted on Multiple Wildlife Charges

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced that a Hardin, Montana, man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, Lacey Act, and Migratory Bird Treaty Act violations.

Harvey Hugs, age 59, was indicted on May 19, 2022. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daneta L. Wollman on July 18, 2022, and pled not guilty to the Indictment.

The maximum penalty upon conviction is up to five years in custody and/or a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.

The Indictment alleges that at various times between August 20, 2020, and March 3, 2021, Hugs knowingly transported, sold, received, and acquired bald and golden eagles, when Hugs should have known the protected birds were taken, possessed, transported, and sold in violation of, and in a manner unlawful under the laws and regulations of the United States. Hugs further and with wanton disregard for the consequences of his actions, possessed, sold, bartered, and offered to sell and barter a bald and golden eagles and parts thereof.

The charges are merely accusations and Hugs is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan N. Dilges is prosecuting the case.

Hugs was released on bond pending trial. A trial date of September 20, 2022, has been set.