Investigation yields over $235,000 in penalties
- Where: Todd County
- Details: Eighteen individuals pleaded guilty and were sentenced in both State and Federal Court to fines, restitution, and civil damages in excess of $235,000 for wildlife violations that occurred at a commercial hunting operation in Todd County. The investigation conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe revealed that the owners of a commercial hunting lodge hosted paying hunting clients from Michigan, Texas, Minnesota and New Jersey for guided deer and pheasant hunts. The investigation documented that the owners, along with several of their hunting clients, unlawfully killed and possessed a minimum of fifty-six (56) deer, hawks, owls, badgers, and turkeys. The value of the unlawfully killed wildlife was documented to be over $70,000.The lodge owner pled guilty in Federal Court to a felony charge of Conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act and multiple counts of Unlawful Possession of wildlife in State Court. He was sentenced to two months in custody and ordered to pay $92,285. His wife pled guilty in Federal Court to violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and unlawfully transferring a hunting license in State Court. She was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay $10,594.
Sixteen other defendants also pled guilty to State and Federal wildlife violations as a result of the investigation and were sentenced to fines ranging from $135 to more than $26,000 per person. Collectively, the defendants in this case had their hunting privileges revoked for thirty nine (39) years and were additionally sentenced to twenty one (21) years of probation.