By LeaAnne Klentzman
A Missouri City man, convicted last year of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), has now been sentenced.
Illegal possession of a bald eagle; a federal game violation, has cost Missouri City resident Sam Mathew, 53, a fine of $15,000 and three years of federal probation.
According to federal authorities, this case began nearly two years ago when US Fish and Wildlife Service officials learned that a bald eagle and nearby nest had been disturbed. When they arrived at Mathew’s property to investigate, they discovered tree climbing gear, fresh tracks around the nesting tree as well as broken branches. Stories by Mathew did not add up to the federal agents.
Mathew was eventually indicted on charges of violating migratory bird laws. Prosecutors in the case indicated that Mathew was in possession of the bald eagle in an effort to train it in falconry.
Mathew was convicted in December of 2012 and just last week sentenced to the maximum fine of $15,000, three years of probation, 150 hours of community service and anger management classes.
The eagle eventually ended up in a bird sanctuary.