Attorney General Ferguson garners first conviction under animal trafficking act

Friday, November 15, 2019

Genetic testing proved the figure
contained ivory
Photo courtesy Atty General's office

Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Thursday that Donald Frank Rooney of Everett has pleaded guilty to trafficking in species threatened with extinction under a voter-approved initiative banning the sale or transfer of products made from certain endangered species.

Rooney’s plea and sentencing in Snohomish County Superior Court represents the first-ever conviction under the Washington Animal Trafficking Act (WATA). Rooney was sentenced to 15 days in jail, 30 days of electronic home monitoring, and will pay a $10,000 fine and a $4,000 criminal wildlife penalty paid to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to help fund future enforcement.

In addition to three items Rooney sold to Fish and Wildlife detectives that genetic testing confirmed contained ivory, he will also forfeit over 1,500 similar items found in his home.

Ferguson filed the criminal charges against Rooney under WATA in April.

The charges against Rooney were among the first brought under WATA, which was created by voter-approved Initiative 1401. More than 70 percent of Washington voters approved I-1401 in 2015. The law took effect in 2016. 

It is a felony to sell ivory objects
Photo courtesy Atty General's office

WATA makes it a felony to sell, purchase, trade or distribute parts of specific endangered or vulnerable species of elephant, rhinoceros, tiger, lion, leopard, cheetah, pangolin, marine turtle, shark or ray.

In late 2017, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) detectives contacted Rooney after reviewing online listings for items they believed may contain elephant ivory.

The detective went to Rooney’s home, and observed dozens of items that possibly contained ivory. The detective purchased three items believed to contain elephant ivory, which genetic testing confirmed. Officers later executed a search warrant on his home, and, as a result, confiscated more than 1,500 additional items.

The Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the cases at the request of the Snohomish county Prosecutor’s Office. The Attorney General’s Office generally does not have original criminal authority, and cannot prosecute crimes without a request from a county prosecutor or the governor.
Assistant Attorney General Scott Marlow and AAG Brad Roberts with the Attorney General’s Counsel for Environmental Protection handled the case for Washington.

Attorney General Ferguson created the Counsel for Environmental Protection in 2016 to protect our environment and the safety and health of all Washingtonians.



1 comments:

Anonymous,  November 15, 2019 at 8:42 AM  

overzealous

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