Reading man charged with trafficking in endangered animal parts

A Reading man faces multiple charges of illegal wildlife importation and trafficking after allegedly buying, selling and trading more than 100 parts of endangered and threatened animals, including a polar bear skull and a narwhal tusk, officials said.

Adam Bied, 39, was charged last week in U.S. District Court in Boston with two counts of conspiracy to smuggle wildlife parts illegally imported into the country and three counts of he charge of violating the Lacey Act, which prohibits wildlife trafficking, according to a statement from the office. from Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Levy and federal court records.

No attorney was listed for Bied in court records and his next court date was not set.

Between January 2018 and June 2021, Bied allegedly purchased animal parts from Cameroonian and Indonesian sellers known to kill and acquire endangered and protected species, the statement said. Bied then allegedly resold or traded these animal parts to customers in the United States, without declaring them upon importation and knowing that many of the transactions were illegal.

In July 2021, more than 100 animal parts belonging to endangered, threatened or protected species were seized from Bied's home, storage unit and vehicle by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said Levy's office. The U.S. Attorney's Office has since filed a civil complaint for forfeiture of those parts, which include orangutan skulls, leopard skin and an otter skeleton.

Many seized parts cannot be legally imported without a special permit or declaration from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as a commercial import/export license, prosecutors said. Bied allegedly obtained other animal parts in violation of the Endangered Species Act or the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

“This confiscation action sends a clear message that not only will we prosecute those who engage in illegal wildlife trafficking, but we will also take legal action to deprive them of their ill-gotten gains,” Levy said.

Jaguar skin (left) and leopard skin (right) were found in Adam Bied's residence in July 2021.Acting United States Attorney

Through his trafficking, Bied allegedly violated several laws in force to conserve biodiversity, protect endangered species from exploitation and maintain ecological balance, according to Levy. Any trafficking of endangered animals for financial gain significantly threatens global conservation efforts and the well-being of affected species, the statement said.

The restrictions Bied allegedly violated apply to live and dead animals, as well as skins, parts and products made in whole or in part from certain species, prosecutors said.

Bied faces up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 for each conspiracy charge and each Lacey Act violation charge, according to Levy's office.

Lila Hempel-Edgers can be contacted at [email protected]. Follow her on @hempeledgers and on Instagram @lila_hempel_edgers.

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