4 Brookhaven, Wesson men charged with federal wildlife crimes

Published 10:28 am Monday, August 31, 2020

Two Brookhaven men and two Wesson men have been charged in a criminal indictment by a federal grand jury with federal wildlife crimes.

Barney Leon Bairfield III, 28, and Dustin Corey Treadway, 27, both of Brookhaven, and Kenneth R. Britt Jr., 51, of Wesson, and Tony Grant Smith, 26, of Wesson, have been charged with killing in excess of the legal limit of wild turkeys in Kansas and Nebraska while unlicensed in those states, and transporting the wild turkeys across state lines to Mississippi, according to U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Col. Steve Adcock of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

According to the indictment, in the spring of 2017 and 2018, the four defendants allegedly traveled to Kansas and Nebraska and hunted wild turkeys, taking more than 25 without the required hunting licenses and in excess of the Kansas limit of two birds per person per season. They then returned to Mississippi with trophy spurs and beards of the illegally-harvested turkeys. Under the federal Lacey Act, it is unlawful for any person to transport across state lines any wildlife taken in violation of state law.

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The indictment also charges Britt with federal felony lying to a federal law enforcement officer, and Smith with killing red-shouldered hawks in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

The defendants appeared for arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge F. Keith Ball in Jackson Thursday. The case has been set for trial on Nov. 2 before Senior U.S. District Jude David C. Bramlette III.

If found guilty of all charges, Britt faces a total of seven years in prison and a $450,000 fine; Smith faces a total of two years and 6 months in prison and a $215,000 fine; Bairfield faces a total of three years in prison and a $300,000 fine; and Treadway faces one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

“The fine sportsmen and women of this state can rest assured that, nationwide, conservation enforcement agencies, along with Agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will continue working together to stop the thievery and abuse of our valuable natural resources,” said Col. Adcock.

An indictment is merely an allegation of wrongdoing and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.