North Dakota man pleads guilty in bald eagle deaths

North Dakota man pleads guilty in bald eagle deaths

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BISMARCK, N.D. — A Flasher, N.D. man has pleaded guilty to three federal charges in the death of six protected bald eagles and the misapplication of nearly 20 tons of prairie dog bait on his Corson County, S.D., ranch.

David Meyer, 58, owner of the Meyer Buffalo Ranch on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, was charged on Jan. 16 with taking a bald eagle, taking a migratory bird, and unlawful use of a restricted use pesticide. He pleaded guilty on Jan. 30, according to Ron Parsons, U.S. attorney in South Dakota.

The terms of a plea agreement on file show that Meyer has agreed to pay $58,000 in restitution to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and pay a $50,000 fine. Prosecutors have agreed to recommend he be placed on probation with the length and terms to be decided by the court. He will be sentenced on April 2. The plea agreement must be approved by the court. Meyer could face up to a $100,000 fine and a year on supervised probation.

Meyer supervised the misapplication of 39,000 pounds of the pesticide Rozol on 5,400 acres of land, authorities say. Officials from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed during the 2016 investigation that six bald eagles died from the poison.

More than a dozen workers told investigators that they were supposed to put the poison in prairie dog holes but got sloppy and did not dispense the poison as required -- putting it on the ground near holes instead of down the holes -- because of the amount to be used and the large tract of land, court documents show. An EPA emergency response team oversaw cleanup of the ranch.

Meyer's attorney, Brad Schreiber of Pierre, S.D., did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com

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