JACKSON (CBS13) — An owl that had been illegally kept as a pet has been released back into the wild.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife said the owl was found back during the execution of a warrant across several locations in San Joaquin County back in March.

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The owl while being rehabilitated. (Credit: California Department of Fish and Wildlife)

While the investigation was focused on allegations of drug, weapons trafficking and vehicle theft, authorities made a peculiar discovery at one of the locations – a great horned owl being unlawfully held as a pet.

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Badly decaying raptor carcasses were found with the owl. A warden responded and safely seized the bird, which was eventually transported to the Tri County Wildlife Care rehab facility.

On Tuesday, after being rehabilitated for several weeks at the facility, the owl was released back into the wild.

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Charges of possession of a restricted species and suspected illegal take of raptor species have been forwarded to prosecutors to add to the crimes already being investigated in the search warrants, authorities say.