TYLER – An Oklahoma man has been sentenced for federal wildlife violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs.
Dusty Caudill, 37, of Ardmore, OK, pleaded guilty to the transportation of wildlife in violation of state law – a violation of the U.S. Lacey Act – and was sentenced to 12 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Jeremy D. Kernodle on Dec. 19, 2023.
According to information presented in court, in February of 2021 Caudill conspired with co-defendants David Bartlett and Darryl Garcia to transport stolen African elephant ivory tusks from Ardmore, Oklahoma to Tyler, Texas for sale. The tusks had been stolen in the burglary of a residence in Ada, Oklahoma in late 2020. Bartlett negotiated the sale of the tusks with a person he believed to be a resident of Houston, Texas for $10,700.00.
The investigation revealed that on February 17, 2021 Caudill and Garcia removed the ivory tusks from the trunk of Caudill’s car in Ardmore and placed them in Garcia’s car. Garcia then picked up Bartlett and the two of them drove the tusks to Tyler, Texas where they believed they would be meeting with the buyer from Houston. Instead, they were met by federal wildlife agents.
African elephants are a protected wildlife species under the federal endangered species act. The term “wildlife” includes any part of the animal. The U.S. Lacey Act prohibits the transportation of endangered species, valued at more than $350.00 in interstate commerce in violation of federal or state law.
This case was investigated by special agents with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Noble.
Public Affairs Officer/Law Enforcement Coordinator
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Texas