Readout of Attorney General Merrick B. Garland’s Visit to the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Maine
PORTLAND, Maine: A Massachusetts man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Portland for illegally transporting wild snowshoe hares from Maine to Massachusetts.
U.S. District Judge Nancy Torresen sentenced Jon Rioux, 36, of Attleboro, Massachusetts to one year of probation and imposed a fine of $10,000. Judge Torresen also ordered Rioux to pay $1,843 in restitution to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
According to court records, in January 2021, an investigator received information that Rioux was soliciting Maine residents to live trap snowshoe hares. On four occasions Rioux illegally purchased snowshoe hares in Maine and then transported them to Massachusetts to use for beagle training and field trials. On March 16, 2022, Rioux was arrested by Maine Game Wardens and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agents at the Kennebunk service plaza on the Maine Turnpike after his fifth purchase.
“Illegally trafficking wildlife across state lines not only exploits public resources it threatens wild populations by creating the potential for disease transmission,” said Edward Grace, Assistant Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement. “We’re grateful for our close collaboration with state partners in Maine to help us enforce laws that protect wildlife resources on behalf of the American public."
The Maine Warden Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investigated the case with assistance from the Massachusetts Environmental Police.
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Edited 03/02/23 for clarity
Sheila W. Sawyer, Assistant United States Attorney (207-780-3257)