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New Mexico Business Owners Plead Guilty and Are Sentenced for Transporting Mountain Lion Across State Lines

WASHINGTON -- John “Tom” Boyer and his wife Deborah Boyer, owners of Let’s Tree It Outfitters in Reserve, N.M., pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Denver to a criminal information charging each of them with a misdemeanor violation of the Lacey Act, the Justice Department announced today. The Lacey Act prohibits the interstate transportation of wildlife which, in the exercise of due care, the transporter should have known was taken in violation of any state wildlife-related law.

John and Deborah Boyer admitted by their pleas that they participated in the unlicensed hunting and killing of a mountain lion near Hot Sulphur Springs, Colo. in January 2006 and that they later transported the illegally killed mountain lion to New Mexico in violation of the Lacey Act.

John Boyer was ordered to serve three years of probation and to pay a $3,000 fine. During the term of his probation, John Boyer may not hunt or accompany anyone hunting anywhere in the world. As part of his guilty plea, he also agreed to forfeit his ability to apply for or receive a Colorado hunting license for the remainder of his life.

Deborah Boyer was also ordered to serve three years of probation and to pay a $3,000 fine. During the term of her probation, she may not hunt or accompany anyone hunting within the state of Colorado. As part of her plea, she agreed not to accept, receive, or perform any taxidermy services on any wildlife hunted or killed within the state of Colorado.

In addition, the Boyers were each ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution to the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s “Operation Game Thief,” a fund used to offer financial incentives to citizens who provide information which leads to the arrest or citation of a wildlife poacher.

This investigation was conducted by special agents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement, and officers from the Colorado Division of Wildlife. The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney James B. Nelson of the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda McMahan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado.