Texas biology professor charged for illegally trafficking 14 protected wildlife species

Texas biology professor charged for illegally trafficking 14 protected wildlife species

AMARILLO, Texas (ABC4) – A Texas biologist has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly importing protected wildlife items into the country without declaring it or obtaining the required permits.

Dr. Richard Kazmaier, 54, an associate professor of biology at West Texas A&M University, was charged Thursday with smuggling goods into the United States and two violations of the Endangered Species Act, a press release states.

The Endangered Species Act and federal regulations require importers, like Kazmaier, to declare wildlife, including parts and products, to customs and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service when it enters the country.

The indictment charges that, between March 2017 and February 2020, Kazmaier imported wildlife items from around the world into the United States without declaring them. These items included skulls, skeletons, and taxidermy mounts.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) regulates trade in endangered or threatened species through permit requirements, which Kazmaier also did not have.

Kazmaier is charged with importing wildlife items from 14 protected species without obtaining permits, including the Eurasian otter, lynx, caracal, vervet monkey, greater naked-tailed armadillo, and king bird-of-paradise.

The maximum sentence for the felony smuggling charge is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The two Endangered Species Act charges are misdemeanors with a maximum sentence of one-year incarceration and a $100,000 fine.

This article by Kiah Armstrong was first published by abc4.com on 27 January 2022. Lead Image: KINCRAIG, SCOTLAND – DECEMBER 16: Lynx cubs play in a bush in their enclosure at the Highland Wildlife Park on December 16, 2015 in Kincraig,Scotland. Concerns have been raised by Scottish landowners in over proposals to reintroduce Lynx back into the ecosystem in the wilds of Scotland. The Lynx UK Trust has been asking Scottish Land and Estates groups, their views on bringing the wild cat back into trial sites in Aberdeenshire, Argyll, and the Borders. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images).

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