TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A Dallas man was indicted on smuggling charges after authorities say he smuggled dead hummingbirds from Mexico into the United States.
Carlos Delgado Rodriguez, 53, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Friday. According to the indictment, from February 2013 through January 2014, Rodriguez is alleged to have unlawfully imported approximately 61 dead hummingbirds, of various varieties, into the United States for sale.
Rodriguez smuggled 14 Ruby-throated hummingbirds, three black-chinned hummingbirds, 38 female plumaged humming bird, five violet-crowned hummingbirds and one Allen's hummingbird. The market value of the 61 birds was about $351.
The five-count indictment specifically alleges that the importation of dead hummingbirds violates the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Lacey Act, the federal smuggling law, and Texas State Law.
If convicted, Rodriguez faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a large fine.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agents spoke about similar cases they have seen involving hummingbirds. They said the birds are commonly intercepted by agents in the mail and at the nation's airports. Agents say they are dried and sold as good luck charms in some cultures known as chuparrosas, Spanish for 'rose sucker.'