International Wildlife Investigation Results in Charges against Five Canadian Clients for Illegal Take of Wildlife, Filing False Documents, and Wildlife Smuggling
Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that a joint United States-Canadian wildlife investigation has resulted in the filing of charges by the United States Attorney in Anchorage against five Canadian citizens for the illegal take and export of wildlife from Alaska to Canada.
The United States filed charges against Alberta, Canada residents Fred R. Thomson, 54, Ben J. Thomson, 32, Kelly D. Murray, 51, Colby L. Murray, 21 and Jason Clemett 42, for the illegal take of wildlife, concealing the illegal nature and take of wildlife on the guided hunts, and the illegal export of unlawfully taken wildlife.
The guided hunts, and the violations during these hunts, occurred between October 2009 and October 2011, in the Haines, Alaska area.
The charges filed are the result of an extensive joint United States-Canadian investigation. Starting in November 2012, Canada Crown prosecutors in Alberta and Yukon Territory, Canada, charged 17 subjects with 55 violations under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA). These charges arose out of the illegal guided hunts charged above and the illegal import of unlawful wildlife from the United States into Canada. The Canadian trials began in June 2014.
The maximum penalty for violating the Lacey Act as charged is one year imprisonment and a $100,000 fine. Arraignment dates have not been set.
Ms. Loeffler commends the United States Fish and Wildlife Service; Alaska Wildlife Troopers; Environment Canada Wildlife Enforcement; Yukon Conservation Officer Service; Alberta Fish and Wildlife; Parks Canada; British Columbia Conservation Officer Service; and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada for the international cooperation extended in the investigation of these cases.The filing of an Information is only a charge, and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.