Ruidoso Man Sentenced to Five Years Probation for Trespassing in the San Andres National Wildlife Refuge During Oryx Hunt
LAS CRUCES – United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales announced that on February 23, 2011, John D. Hughes, 49, of Ruidoso, New Mexico, was sentenced by United States Magistrate Judge Kea Riggs to five years probation and a $2,500 fine for trespassing on the San Andres National Wildlife Refuge.
According to the criminal complaint, in January 2007, Hughes and an associate were accompanying Georgia resident, James Gladin on an oryx hunting trip on the White Sands Missile Range when they entered the San Andres National Wildlife Refuge. The group, who had been advised by officials that the San Andres National Wildlife Refuge was a closed area, entered and parked their vehicle within the refuge’s eastern boundary near Oñate Peak, located approximately 23 miles north of U.S. Highway 70 along the San Andres Mountains.
Gladin, 51, was issued a citation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and received a $525 fine and forfeited a bull oryx which he had killed during the hunt.
The San Andres National Wildlife Refuge was established on January 22, 1941, for the conservation and development of natural wildlife resources. It currently provides the best habitat for desert bighorn sheep in the state of New Mexico.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Aaron O. Jordan and was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.