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Quebec woman pleaded guilty to selling protected wildlife skulls

Vanessa Rondeau pleaded guilty to trafficking protected wildlife.
Credit: Pixel-Shot - stock.adobe.com

BUFFALO, N.Y. — On Friday it was announced that a woman from Quebec pleaded guilty to charges for trafficking wildlife.

Vanessa Rondeau, 27, of Montreal, faces a maximum penalty of five years and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango, who is handling the case, said that Rondeau agreed to sell a polar bear skull to an undercover U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Special Agent back in January of 2020.

Rondeau entered the U.S. at Champlain with a polar bear skull, which is in violation of the Endangered Species Act. She then shipped the skull to the agent in Amherst, which they received in early February.  

A few days after Rondeau shipped the first skull, she contacted the agent to see if they would like to buy another one for $584.11 USD. The second skull was received by the agent in a package labeled "1 cadre," which is French for "frame."

Prosecutors allege that Rondeau also trafficked other protected wildlife by shipping or bringing them from Canada to the US without declaring to the FWS. It is estimated that Rondeau brought in approximately $37,024 worth of illegally trafficked wildlife.

Rondeau is scheduled for sentencing on June 9.

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