A Kewa Pueblo medicine man has pleaded guilty to violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, in a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
In a news releases, U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that Martin Aguilar, 47, entered guilty pleas Wednesday to two counts of a four-count indictment filed in November 2010.
Aguilar pleaded guilty to the unlawful taking of a bald eagle and the unlawful possession of a bald eagle. The indictment had also charged Aguilar with the unlawful bartering of a golden eagle and the unlawful possession of a migratory bird, a red-tailed hawk.
Aguilar faces a maximum penalty of one year imprisonment, one year of supervised release and a $100,000 fine on the taking charge and a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment, one year of supervised release and a $250,000 fine on the possession charge. He is not in custody pending his sentencing, which has yet to be scheduled.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office:
In his plea agreement, Aguilar admitted that, on Feb. 6, 2010, when he and his son went to the bosque on pueblo lands to collect wood, they spotted two bald eagles. Aguilar shot one of the eagles and his son shot the other.
Aguilar took the bald eagles to his home where he removed the feathers from the eagles and kept the feathers in his home. On Feb. 12, 2010, Aguilar told agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that he and his son had killed the eagles and that their feathers were located at his house.
Aguilar acknowledged that he had not applied for or obtained permission to kill, take or possess a bald eagle from the federal Interior Department as required by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Aguilar also admitted that he is a medicine man at Kewa, formerly known as Santo Domingo Pueblo, and that he has shot and killed five bald eagles since 1992.
Aguilar entered his guilty pleas conditioned on reserving his right to have the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals review recent orders by U.S. District Judge M. Christina Armijo denying Aguilar’s motions to suppress evidence in the case and to dismiss the charges.