FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
TUESDAY - March 11, 2008
FIVE PLEADED AND SENTENCED FOR BAITING AND KILLING
ELIZABETH CITY - United States Attorney George E. B. Holding announced that in federal court JAMES E. JOHNSON, JR., 71, of Virginia Beach, Virginia pled guilty to taking or attempting to take migratory game birds by aid of baiting and killing the migratory birds and unlawfully failing to retain the birds; ABLE L. BRAND, 70, of Supply, North Carolina and JOHN T. RAGLAND, 69, of Weston, Connecticut, both pled guilty to killing the migratory birds and unlawfully failing to retain the birds; and TROY R. GODWIN, 37, of New Bern, North Carolina and RAYMOND H. RHODEN, 58, of Hobucken, North Carolina, both pled guilty to conspiring to violate provisions of the Migratory Bird Treaty. United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle took their pleas and handed down their sentences.
JOHNSON received one year probation with no hunting during this period and a $7,500.00 fine was imposed. RHODEN and GODWIN each received one year probation with no hunting during that period and a fine of $500.00 was imposed. BRAND and RAGLAND were each fined $1,000.00.
For the 2006/2007 hunting season JOHNSON purchased more than 20 tons of corn. On January 12 and 14, 2007, using a boat owned by JOHNSON, GODWIN and RHODEN, employees of JOHNSON’s, placed corn in Porpoise Creek, Pamlico County, North Carolina. On January 16, 2007, GODWIN and RHODEN transported JOHNSON, RAGLAND, and BRAND to a waterfowl hunting blind in Porpoise Creek. From the position of the blind, JOHNSON, RAGLAND and BRAND shot several scaup ducks. JOHNSON then contacted GODWIN and RHODEN, who had previously left the area, to return to the blind to retrieve the freshly killed ducks. Once the ducks were retrieved, JOHNSON, RAGLAND and BRAND then resumed hunting.
Investigation of the case was conducted by agents with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Assistant United States Attorney Barbara Kocher served as prosecutor for the government.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.