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North Dakota rancher pleads guilty to misuse of pesticide after 6 bald eagles die

FARGO — A Flasher, N.D., rancher has pleaded guilty to killing bald eagles on his land after improperly using a restricted pesticide, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Dakota said in a statement.

In the spring of 2016, federal agencies found the 58-year-old man, David Meyer, had misused 39,000 pounds of Rozol prairie dog bait, a restricted-use pesticide, on 5,400 acres of his property. Investigators recovered six dead bald eagles from his property, the Meyer Buffalo Ranch on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The eagles had died from poisoning.

Investigators interviewed more than a dozen workers, who said because of the large amount of Rozol that needed to be dispensed, they became sloppy and did not dispense the pesticide as required by the label.

Meyer was charged with unlawful taking of bald eagle, unlawful taking of migratory birds, and unlawful use of restricted use pesticide. He faces a maximum penalty upon conviction of one year in federal prison, a $100,000 fine, one year of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund, the statement said.

Meyer entered his plea Thursday, Jan. 30. He was released on bond and awaits sentencing, scheduled for April 2.