KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Eight people face federal charges accusing them of illegally trafficking in paddlefish caviar from western Missouri.
The U.S. Justice Department said Thursday about 100 people were also issued citations in the investigation into the illegal commercialization of Missouri paddlefish and their eggs for caviar. Paddlefish are protected by federal and Missouri law.
The investigation by the Missouri Department of Conservation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spanned nine states, including Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Illinois and New Jersey.
Paddlefish are prized for their eggs, which can be processed into caviar. Conservation officials say a pregnant paddlefish can have about 20 pounds of eggs, and that those eggs can be sold for about $35 an ounce.
The eight men are charged with violating a federal wildlife protection law.