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DNR: 2 men to be charged with illegal bear buys

MIDLAND, Mich. (AP) — Two men from Midland have been arrested on charges of illegally buying Michigan black bears and bear parts.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said Thursday a conservation officer learned that one of the suspects was contacting hunters about making the illegal purchases. An undercover officer made a number of transactions with the suspects before the bust.

Detective Lt. Jason Haines says there's a black market for bear parts in Asia, where they are used for medicinal purposes. He says the illegal sales encourage poachers to kill bears out of season, exceed hunting limits and use unlawful methods.

The defendants' names are being withheld until arraignment. Each of the seven counts against them could be punished by 90 days in jail, plus a $1,000 fine and reimbursement costs.

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