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San Diego : Pet Supplier, Son Plead Guilty to Bird Smuggling

November 18, 1987

A Louisiana pet supplier and his son pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges arising from a scheme to smuggle parrots into the United States from Mexico.

The guilty pleas, entered before U.S. District Judge Judith N. Keep in San Diego, are the latest development in a wide-ranging federal investigation into a bird-smuggling ring that allegedly brought hundreds of parrots into the United States from Mexico during early 1987. The concealed birds were allegedly smuggled into San Diego from Tijuana.

In a related case, U.S. authorities earlier this month arrested a Tijuana businessman and one of his employees, charging them with smuggling more than $250,000 worth of baby parrots into the United States. Also, a pet-store owner in South Carolina was convicted of smuggling and other charges after a trial in U.S. District Court in San Diego.

In the latest case, Gregory B. Jones, 61, who operated a distribution center known as Bird World in Lacombe, La., pleaded guilty Tuesday to two felony counts of receiving protected wildlife and making false statements to a federal officer. Each count carries a maximum jail sentence of five years and fines of $250,000.

The guilty plea arose from a single shipment of about 60 baby yellow-naped Amazon parrots received by Jones last March, said Assistant U.S. Atty. Charles S. Crandall. An international treaty protects the birds.

Jones' son, Frederick, 29, pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor count arising from the alleged scheme. He faces a year in jail and a $10,000 fine.

Sentencing for both men is expected in January.

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