Jefferson County Man Convicted of Killing Whooping Cranes Headed to Prison After Violating Terms of Probation

Published 5:29 pm Sunday, July 16, 2017

Special to The Leader

BEAUMONT, Texas – A 20 year old Beaumont, Texas man was sentenced to federal prison for violating the terms of his probation in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston on Friday.

Trey Joseph Frederick was sentenced to five years of federal probation in October, 2016 after he pleaded guilty to a violation of the Endangered Species Act. In January, 2016, a Texas Game Warden received two calls reporting that two Whooping Cranes had been shot on Blair Road in Jefferson County. Further investigation revealed that Frederick had been seen in the area with a hunting rifle and claimed to be hunting geese. Federal agents contacted Frederick at his home where he admitted to killing the cranes.

Whooping Cranes are a species of migratory birds in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range, and therefore an endangered species as defined by the Endangered Species Act, making it unlawful to capture, kill, trap, or collect Whooping Cranes, or attempt to engage in such conduct in the United States.

Today, Frederick was back in federal court facing charges that he violated the terms of his probation for, among other things, using an AR-15 assault rifle to hunt from a roadway in Jefferson County, Texas. The terms of Frederick’s probation specifically prohibited him from owning or possessing firearms, ammunition or any other dangerous weapon. Frederick is also prohibited from hunting or fishing anywhere in the United States. During his court appearance today, U. S. Magistrate Judge Zack Hawthorn sentenced Frederick to 11 months incarceration to be followed by a one year term of supervised release.

Acting U.S. Attorney Featherston made the following statement, “Trey Frederick was given the opportunity of probation when he was first convicted of killing two federally protected whooping cranes. Apparently, Mr. Frederick did not appreciate the leniency he was given, and today, he learned the consequences. Mr. Frederick will now have 11 months to contemplate his actions.”

This case was investigated by special agents with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, Office of Law Enforcement and Game Wardens with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph R. Batte.