Las Vegas Resident Sentenced for Illegal Hunting in Southeastern Idaho
Lodge owner also awaiting sentencing
POCATELLO – Peter Balestracci, 49, of Las Vegas, Nevada, was sentenced today before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge at the federal courthouse in Pocatello, announced U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson. Balestracci previously entered a plea of guilty in January to one misdemeanor count of violating the Lacey Act by transporting illegally taken big game out of Idaho. Judge Lodge sentenced Balestracci to three years of probation and suspended hunting privileges in Idaho and states with reciprocity. The judge also ordered $1,200 restitution be paid to the State of Idaho.
The case came to the attention of Idaho fish and wildlife authorities in the process of investigating whether Sidney Davis, the resident manager of the Trail Creek Lodge in Soda Springs Idaho, had engaged in illegal outfitting or guiding operations. An undercover investigation at the lodge led federal prosecutors to charge Balestracci after he was observed attaching his 14-year old son's deer tag to a mule deer Balestracci shot. Balestracci's son was asleep in the lodge at the time Balestracci shot the deer. Balestracci later transported the deer meat to a processor in Wyoming and took the trophy parts of the deer to his home in Las Vegas.
Sidney Davis pleaded guilty to one Lacey Act guiding violation and a bankruptcy fraud charge in May 2011. Davis is scheduled to be sentenced in October. Both Balestracci and Davis have previously been convicted of Lacey Act violations in Southeastern Idaho.
The Lacey Act reinforces federal, state, and tribal wildlife protection laws by requiring accurate labeling of wildlife shipments and criminalizing most types of trafficking in fish, wildlife, and plants that have been taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of a state, federal, or tribal laws.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
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