A Canadian woman was charged after selling the skull of a protected species, the polar bear, to undercover agents, DOJ says.

Polar bear

According to the Justice Department, the woman sold the skulls of two polar bears to a special agent at the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Reuters / Matthew Berenger

  • A Canadian woman sold a federal-protected wildlife item to an undercover investigator, DOJ said.

  • The strange boutique owner, Vanessa Rondeau, faces multiple crimes, including smuggling.

  • According to the DOJ, she sold polar bear skulls to agents on two separate occasions.

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According to the Justice Department, a Canadian woman was arrested and charged after selling a polar bear skull protected by federal law to an undercover investigator.

26-year-old Vanessa Rondeau, who lives in Montreal, Canada, owns a local company called the Old Cavern Boutique, which sells strange items “mostly composed from wildlife.” Ministry of Justice.

According to the DOJ, a special agent of the US Department of Fish and Wildlife, an undercover investigator, contacted Rondeau in September 2019 about a mountain of crows advertised on her page. When the agent asked about potential problems shipping items to the U.S. because they were “protected seeds,” she said she had no problems before and labeled the item as an “artwork.” ..

The Justice Department also said it sold the skulls of two polar bears to agents. The agent sent a private message to Rondeau on Facebook inquiring about the item. The first skull was sold to agents with shipping costs of $ 750 and $ 30. According to the DOJ, the agent in Buffalo, NY received it in February 2020.

About a year later, the agent contacted Rondeau again about another polar bear skull that was on sale on the business page. According to the Justice Department, the agent has agreed to buy a second skull for $ 685 and pay an additional $ 35 shipping. The agent received the skull in February 2021.

Recently, on Wednesday, she stopped at the US border in Highgate Springs, Vermont, and tried to enter Canada when authorities found with her “a large number of undeclared wildlife.” Associated Press And court documents.

An extensive list of items includes 6 shark jaws, 18 crocodile skulls and heads, 1 sloth, 12 horseshoe crabs, 8 African horseshoe crab horns, 23 raccoon legs, 30 starfish, It contained four puffer fish. According to court documents, a “butterfly-mounted” human skull was also found.

The Justice Department said Rondeau was charged with smuggling, trafficking under the Lacey Act, and false statements under the Lacey Act. She faces up to 20 years in prison and a $ 250,000 fine.She was released on a $ 50,000 bond, a local outlet WIVB report.

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