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MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — A Coral Gables man accused of illegally possessing 34 birds protected under migratory bird laws accepted a plea deal.

U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams ordered 71-year-old Jose Souto of Coral Gables to pay a $15,000 fine and put him on one month’s probation after his guilty plea. Souto must also make a $7,500 donation to the Tropical Audubon Society for research and education.

Court documents show that the birds Souto possessed included northern cardinals, grosbeaks and buntings. All are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and cannot be taken or possessed without valid permits.

They are among the migratory species whose numbers have dropped recently in the eastern U.S.

Souto’s plea agreement requires that he abandon the birds and a bird trap he had.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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