WASHINGTON – William James Victor Garrison, a resident of Culpeper, Va., was today charged by federal grand jury with conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act and with making a false statement to a federal investigative agent during the course of an investigation. The indictment stems from Garrison’s participation in illegal elk hunting on the Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico during 2003. The conspiracy charge involving the Lacey Act, a federal wildlife enforcement statute, carries a maximum penalty of up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. The false statement charge carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The Valles Caldera National Preserve is an 8,900 acre property situated inside of a collapsed crater northwest of Santa Fe, N.M. The preserve is home to large populations of big game animals including elk, antelope and oryx. Strict regulations govern the hunting of these animals as they are prized among big game sportsman. The indictment alleges Garrison and members of his hunting party shot and killed bull elk, without permits, in violation of state law. At least one of these elk was then transported through interstate commerce in violation of the Lacey Act.
Federal authorities have already convicted six other hunters in Virginia and two additional hunters and guides in New Mexico related to this investigation.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
The investigation was led by Special Agents of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia, and the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice. Related cases have been prosecuted by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in both the Eastern District of Virginia and the District of New Mexico.