Miami men charged in rare deer theft pleads not guilty

deer trunk keys

Two South Florida men accused of hog-tying three endangered Key deer in the middle of the night last month in the Lower Keys now face federal charges in addition to the state charges they were already facing.

Erik Damas Acosta, 18, of Miami Gardens and Tumani Anthony Younge, 23, of Tamarac were arrested July 2 on Little Torch Key after a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputy pulled them over for a traffic violation and found the deer in Damas Acosta’s four-door Hyundai Sonata, two in the back seat and one in the trunk. One of the endangered Key deer had to be euthanized days later due to a broken leg.

According to what’s called an information charging sheet signed by Acting U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg and Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas A. Watts-FitzGerald, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami Wednesday charged Damas Acosta and Younge with three counts each of violating the Endangered Species Act for knowingly and unlawfully taking protected Key deer. Full Story »