Catron County Man Sentenced for Federal Misdemeanor Wildlife Violation Arising Out of Killing of Mexican Gray Wolf
ALBUQUERQUE – U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson and Acting Special Agent in Charge Phillip Land of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement of the Southwest Region, announced that Craig Thiessen pleaded guilty yesterday to a federal misdemeanor wildlife violation arising out of the taking of a Mexican gray wolf. Immediately after entering the guilty plea, Thiessen was sentenced to a one-year term of probation and was ordered to pay $2,300 in restitution to the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program.
In announcing the guilty plea and sentence, U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson said, “Mexican wolves were listed as an endangered species in 1976, prompting recovery efforts to save the species from extinction. The Justice Department is committed to working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and our other law enforcement partners to protect the Mexican gray wolf and other vulnerable species so they remain on our planet for future generations.”
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works closely with our partners to protect imperiled species both at home and abroad,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Phillip Land of the U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement of the Southwest Region. “This defendant knowingly took a Mexican gray wolf, the rarest subspecies of gray wolf in North America. The defendant's guilty plea should serve as a deterrent to those who choose to knowingly harass and take wildlife unlawfully. We will continue to work with the Department of Justice and others to bring these offenders to justice.”
During yesterday’s proceedings, Thiessen, 46, of Catron County, N.M., entered a guilty plea to an information charging him with the taking of threatened wildlife. In entering the guilty plea, Thiessen admitted that in Feb. 2015, in Catron County, N.M., he intentionally captured a Mexican gray wolf in a trap on his grazing allotment in the Gila National Forest and hit the wolf with a shovel. Thiessen admitted knowing that the animal was a Mexican gray wolf because it bore a tracking collar, which is affixed to all Mexican gray wolves in the area.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement of the Southwest Region, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Balla of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.