AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – Richard Kazmaier, an associate professor of biology at West Texas A&M University and a Canyon resident, has been federally indicted for numerous counts of violating the endangered species act, according to court documents from the United States District Court Northern District of Texas Amarillo Division.
According to the documents, which were filed Thursday in Amarillo Federal Court, Kazmaier was indicted on three total counts: one count of smuggling goods into the United States, one count of violating the Endangered Species Act, claiming that Kazmaier “did knowingly import and fail to file required declarations and reports for wildlife, and an additional count of violating the Endangered Species Act, claiming that Kazmaier “knowingly engaged in trade and possessed wildlife specimens… that had been traded contrary” to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora treaty (CITIES).
The Endangered Species Act, according to the court documents, requires that all wildlife imported into the country be presented to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service while going through customs. The CITIES treaty helps regulate “international trade in species whose survival was considered threatened by trade or that may become threatened by trade if it is not regulated.”
According to court documents, Kazmaier allegedly imported various wildlife items between March 2017 and February 2020. A news release from the United States District Court Northern District of Texas goes on to specify that the items included skulls, skeletons and taxidermy mounts from the following animals listed in the indictment:
- March 2, 2017 – Golden jackal;
- March 5, 2017 – Caracal;
- May 6, 2017 – Eurasian otter;
- May 18, 2017 – Vervet monkey;
- July 24, 2017 – Red-billed leiothrix;
- Aug. 11, 2017 – Chinese hwamei;
- Oct. 8, 2017 – Crab-eating fox;
- Nov. 4, 2017 – Masked palm civet;
- Feb. 1, 2018 – Mountain weasels;
- Feb. 5, 2018 – King bird-of-paradise;
- Feb. 5, 2018 – African harrier hawk;
- Oct. 28, 2018 – Greater naked-tailed armadillo;
- Aug. 8, 2019 – Horsfield’s treeshrews;
- Nov. 11, 2019 – Eurasian lynx.
The indictment comes after an investigation from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement in Redmond, Washington, the release states.
The release stresses that an indictment is an allegation and Kazmaier is “presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.” If Kazmaier is convicted, he faces a maximum of 21 years in federal prison and a $350,000 fine.
MyHighPlains.com reached out to West Texas A&M University for comment regarding this indictment and officials from the university said that they will not comment about active court cases.