Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers have charged seven people after uncovering a big-game meat trafficking network operating near Lac Ste. Anne in central Alberta.

Officers seized 322 packages of moose and elk meat — worth an estimated $6,500 on the black market — along with $1,105 in cash and a 2013 Ford F-150 truck.

Following tips, the undercover wildlife enforcement officers posed as potential buyers and sellers online to sniff out the wildlife traffickers.

“Any unregulated trade in wildlife will help fuel a demand for the meat on the black market and that could lead to more poaching and more pressure  on these animals' populations," said Brendan Cox with Alberta Justice and the office of the Solicitor General. 

The seven individuals have been charged with 23 counts under the Wildlife Act.

According to a message posted to the Alberta Justice and Solicitor General’s website, selling the meat is illegal but processing big game meat and mounting animal heads is allowed.