"Twisp Man Pleads Guilty to Endangered Species and Wildlife Crimes"
Spokane – Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington announced today that William D. White, age 62, of Twisp, Washington, entered guilty pleas to three criminal counts for illegal conduct relating to endangered wolves and other wildlife.
William D. White entered a plea agreement with the United States and pleaded guilty to an Information charging him with Conspiracy to Take Endangered Species, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 and 16 U.S.C. § 1538(a)(1)(B) (Count 1); Conspiracy to Export Endangered Species, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 and 16 U.S.C. § 1538(a)(1)(A) (Count 2); and Unlawful Importation of Wildlife, in violation of 16 U.S.C. § 3372(a)(2)(A) (Count 3). Counts 1 and 2 each carry a maximum penalty of up to 1 year in prison and Count 3 carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison. A sentencing hearing has been set for July 11, 2012.
This case arose in connection with a 2008 report of a suspicious package that had been left with a private shipping company in Omak, Washington. The package was addressed to a resident of Alberta, Canada. An Omak police officer responded to the report and observed that the package appeared to be draining blood. The package, which was falsely labeled as containing a rug, was ultimately opened and observed to contain a fresh wolf hide.
The investigation led agents to William D. White. A search of his residence and computer revealed that he was involved in a conspiracy to kill wolves and to export a wolf hide to Canada. Wolves are protected as endangered species in the Twisp area where William D. White resides. Evidence also revealed that William D. White had illegally killed wildlife in Alberta, Canada, and subsequently imported that wildlife into the United States in violation of the Lacey Act.
The plea agreements anticipates that the United States and William D. White will jointly recommend that William White serve a period of three years of probation and to pay criminal fines, restitution, and other penalties totaling $38,500. In addition, William White agreed to forfeit firearms and other items related to the violations.
"The results of this case demonstrate the positive determination and cooperation of all investigative parties involved," said Paul Chang, Special Agent in Charge of Law Enforcement for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Pacific Region. "Without their partnership and professionalism we might not have had this successful outcome." Michael C. Ormsby stated: "The investigation of this case is yet another example of successful law enforcement partnerships."
The case was investigated by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Enforcement Division of the Washington State Department of Fish Wildlife, the Washington State Department of Agriculture, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, Alberta (Canada) Fish and Wildlife Division, and the Omak Police Department. The case is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Timothy J. Ohms.