"Twisp Trio Sentenced for Endangered Species Related Crimes"
Spokane – Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced
that William D. White, age 62, Tom D. White, age 37, and his wife, Erin J. White, age 37, all of Twisp,
Washington, were sentenced today for endangered species and other wildlife crimes.
By way of a plea agreement, William D. White earlier pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Take Endangered
Species, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 and 16 U.S.C. § 1538(a)(1)(B); Conspiracy to Export Endangered
Species, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 and 16 U.S.C. § 1538(a)(1)(A); and Unlawful Importation of Wildlife, in violation of 16 U.S.C. § 3372(a)(2)(A). He was sentenced to: a three-years term of probation, subject to six months of home detention and a hunting prohibition; a $5,000 fine for each offense ($15,000 total); and $20,000 in restitution to be paid jointly and severally with Tom D. White to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. As a condition of his plea agreement, William D. White paid $3,500 in previously unsatisfied fines assessed in connection with a Canadian case in which he pleaded guilty to using another person's resident license to take an antlered moose and the unlawful possession of wildlife (a moose). As a further condition of his plea agreement, William D. White is required to enter guilty pleas to two state offenses: Hunting Bear with Dogs, in violation of RCW 77.15.245(2) and Hunting Big Game in the Second Degree, in violation of RCW 77.25.410(1).
Tom D. White, who also entered a plea agreement, earlier pleaded guilty to two charges of Killing Endangered Gray Wolves, in violation of 16 U.S.C. § 1538(a)(1)(B). He was sentenced to: a three-years term of probation, subject to three months of home detention and a hunting prohibition; a $5,000 fine for both offenses ($10,000 total); and $20,000 in restitution to be paid jointly and severally with William D. White to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. As a condition of his plea agreement, Tom D. White is required to enter a guilty plea to a state offense: Hunting Bear with Dogs, in violation of RCW 77.15.245(2).
Erin J. White, who earlier pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Export an Endangered Species, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 and 16 U.S.C. § 1538(a)(1)(A), and Unlawful Export of an Endangered Species, in violation of 16 U.S.C. § 1538(a)(1)(A), was sentenced to: a three-years term of probation and a $5,000 fine. This case arose in 2008 from a 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 leaking blood. The package had been shipped by a woman who identified herself as "Alison," and provided a non-working telephone number for a contact number. She also falsely labeled the shipment as containing a rug. When the shipper and police officer opened the box, they observed that it contained a fresh wolf hide. Wolves are protected as endangered species in the Twisp area.
Through investigation, agents identified Erin J. White as "Alison." During a subsequent search of Erin and
Tom D. White's residence, Tom D. White admitted to killing the wolf and Erin J. White admitted to attempting to ship it to Canada. A further search of computer equipment and emails revealed several photographs showing Tom D. White holding up a second dead wolf. Agents also searched William D. White's residence and computer. The agents discovered evidence that revealed William D. White was involved in a conspiracy to kill wolves and to export a wolf hide to Canada. Evidence also revealed that William D. White had illegally killed wildlife in Alberta, Canada, and thereafter imported that wildlife into
the United States in violation of the law.
At today's sentencing hearing, United States Fish and Wildlife Agent Charles Roberts testified that during
interviews conducted in conjunction with search of their residences, both William D. White and Tom D.
White stated that they had had no problems with the wolves living in the area. At today's hearing, the Court found that both William D. White and Tom D. White had engaged in a pattern of similar violations
regarding the offenses to which they had pleaded guilty.
Michael C. Ormsby stated: "This important natural resources case is yet another example of the effective
law enforcement partnerships here in the Eastern District of Washington."
"This case is not just about the illegal killing of wolves. It is about individuals who had utter disregard for
the law and who bragged about violating state, national, and foreign laws," said Pat Rogers, Acting Special
Agent in Charge of Law Enforcement for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service's Pacific Region."The United States Fish and Wildlife Service appreciates the vital assistance provided by its law enforcement partners on the local, state, and international levels."
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 was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Timothy J. Ohms.