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5 Suspects Charged with Smuggling Endangered Birds to Taiwan

FILE - A macaw greets visitors at the main entrance of the KL Tower Mini Zoo in Kuala Lumpur, March 20, 2017.

A federal court in New Orleans on Thursday indicted five men for allegedly conspiring to smuggle 90 endangered birds to Taiwan.

They included parrots, macaws, cockatoos and corellas. The birds are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

"These indictments demonstrate our commitment shared with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service to investigate and prosecute those engaged in illegal trade of protected animals," acting Assistant General Jeffrey Wood said.

The suspects allegedly packed some of the birds in falsely labeled crates and submitted fake documents to U.S. wildlife officers in New Orleans.

Agents seized some of the birds at the airport in Houston, Texas, before they could be shipped to Taiwan.

The Justice Department calls wildlife trafficking a serious crime that harms endangered species all over the world.