A University of South Carolina trustee is among four men facing charges for illegally trapping and killing hawks in Orangeburg County.
65-year-old Charles Williams was charged with seven counts of killing red-tailed or Cooper’s Hawks on several occasions in 2013 and 2014, according to new indictments released by federal prosecutors Wednesday. The hawks are protected under federal law as migratory birds of prey and hunters may not kill them.
Federal prosecutors said the illegal hunting occurred at Willcreek Plantation, which is owned by an LLC registered to Williams. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service began investigating the plantation after officials said they received a tip on the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Operation Game Thief Hotline in November 2013.
Three months later, wildlife agents executed a search warrant on the property and said they found more than 30 raptor carcasses.
66-year-old John Dantzler, 56-year-old Jimmie Aiken, and 56-year-old Alejandro Renteria Noyola were also charged with a single count of killing a hawk.
Williams is an Orangeburg attorney. He has declined requests for comment.