The potential for additional prosecutions may be exacerbated as states are increasingly toughening penalties for hunting and fishing violations and acting to make those violations felonies.
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U.S. law enforcement agencies are conducting thousands of investigations using a law that makes violating state wildlife statutes a federal crime, often ensnaring hunters and fishermen for seemingly minor infractions.
Some even suffer stiff federal prison sentences.
Special agents and wildlife inspectors for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conduct about 2,500 investigative cases a year of violations of the Lacey Act, a 1900 law meant to combat illegal trafficking of wildlife. Additional probes of Lacey Act violations also are conducted by other federal agencies, as well as state and local governments.