News and Press Releases

Men convicted of Wildlife Crimes Involving the Illegal Trafficking of Black Bears

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 29, 2012

United States Attorney James L. Santelle for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced today that John J. Kellogg (age: 48) of Gillett, Christopher Halfmann (age: 41) of Green Bay, Michael Renken (age: 53) of  Merrill, and Mark Barlament (age: 53) of Mint Hill, North Carolina, were convicted of violations of the Lacey Act, Title 16, United States Code, Sections 3372(a)(2) and (4) and 3373(d)(1)(B).  All of the defendants entered guilty pleas to violations of the Lacey Act related to the trafficking of black bears that were illegally killed in Wisconsin. 

According to court records, in September 2009, Kellogg, Barlament, and Halfmann arranged for the transfer of  Barlament’s Class A bear license (allowing for the shooting and tagging of a bear) to an undercover officer, in violation of Wisconsin law.  Kellogg, Halfmann, and others then provided guide services which resulted in a bear being illegally killed and tagged.  Kellogg facilitated the transfer to an undercover officer in another state of meat from the bear as well as a rug made from the bear hide. 

Kellogg, Halfmann and Renken were also charged with a violation of the Lacey Act that had occurred in September 2011.  Kellogg again arranged for the illegal transfer of a Class A bear license to an undercover officer, in violation of Wisconsin law.  Despite having his hunting privileges revoked by the State of Wisconsin, Kellogg illegally guided others on a bear hunt on September 9, 2011.  During the hunt, Halfmann shot and wounded the bear which then attacked him.  Kellogg later killed the bear and Renken illegally transferred his Class A bear license to Kellogg to tag the bear.  Kellogg directed an undercover officer to transport the bear for processing of the bear meat and the creation of a bear rug. 

Kellogg pled guilty to one felony count of violating the Lacey Act and was sentenced on January 23, 2013, to 6 months in prison.  He was also ordered to serve 3 years supervised release and make a $10,000 contribution to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) conservation accounts.  His hunting, trapping, and fishing privileges were revoked for 15 years.  Kellogg also was ordered to forfeit his hunting dogs (which had been used to facilitate these illegal hunts), as well as a truck, dog tracking equipment, and a rifle.
    
Halfmann pled guilty to two of misdemeanor violations of the Lacey Act and was sentenced on January 18, 2013, to 3 years of probation with conditions, including a $5,000 contribution to the WDNR and the USFWS conservation accounts and a 6-year revocation of his hunting, trapping, and fishing privileges.

Renken pled guilty to one misdemeanor count of violating the Lacey Act and was sentenced on January 2, 2013, to 2 years of probation with conditions, including a $3,000 contribution to the WDNR and USFWS conservation accounts and a 5-year revocation of his hunting and trapping privileges. 

Barlament pled guilty to one misdemeanor count of violating the Lacey Act and was sentenced on September 24, 2012, to 1 year of probation with conditions, including a $1,000 contribution to the WDNR and USFWS conservation accounts and a 5-year revocation of his hunting, trapping and fishing privileges.  

The case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney William Roach of the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

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