BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – An undercover agent in Amherst helped the U.S. attorney convict a Canadian woman of trafficking protected wildlife.
U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross on Thursday announced Vanessa Rondeau, 27, of Montreal was sentenced to one year of supervised released and ordered to pay a $40,000 criminal fine. She also had to pay restitution to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for the purchases made during the sting.
Rondeau allegedly agreed to sell two separate polar bear skulls to the undercover agent in 2020 and 2021, the U.S. Attorney’s office said. In one of the sales, they said, she allegedly entered the U.S. at the Champlain, N.Y. port of entry with the skull, in violation of the Endangered Species Act. She then proceeded to a shipping business to complete the sale.
Rondeau also illegally trafficked in other protected wildlife, the U.S Attorney’s Office said, by shipping and/or bringing wildlife from Canada to the United States without being declared to the FWS. The total value of the wildlife Rondeau was caught illegally trafficking was approximately $37,204, they said.
A photo provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office identified more than a dozen other animal skulls that were confiscated in the case, belonging to the following animals:
- Polar bear (x5)
- Grizzly bear
- Brown bear
- Walrus (x2)
- Harp seal
- Gray seal
- And a hippopotamus tusk
A second photo showed more than two dozen skulls or other animal parts, though they were not identified.