Window Rock Man indicted for violating Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A federal court on Dec. 1 found Carlos Ortiz, 28, of Las Vegas, New Mexico, guilty of illegally guiding a bighorn sheep hunt in the Carson National Forest. On December 8, the court sentenced Ortiz to a year and a half of probation and fined him $7,600.
According to court records, on Aug. 7, 2020, Ortiz, doing business as Reaper Backcountry Outfitters, was guiding a party to hunt bighorn sheep. Though the itinerary for the hunt stated that it was to take place in the Santa Fe National Forest, the GPS coordinates included in the itinerary were located in the Carson National Forest.
Officers from the U.S. Forest Service and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish encountered the party at their campsite in the Carson National Forest. The officers also had encountered two individuals on horseback who told officers they were helping Ortiz pack out a bighorn sheep killed by Ortiz’s client. The officers confirmed that the sheep had been killed in the Carson National Forest.
At the time, Ortiz was not authorized to conduct any commercial activity in the Carson National Forest and was not authorized to guide bighorn sheep hunts in the Santa Fe National Forest. Additionally, he was not authorized to conduct guided hunts with overnight camping in either forest.
“Those at the Forest Service and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish who enforce our laws to protect and sustain our Nation’s forests and wildlife are stewards of our country’s rich and diverse natural heritage, which includes majestic animals like North America’s bighorn sheep,” said U.S. Attorney Fred Federici. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is fully committed to enforcing our land and wildlife laws so that all Americans, including generations of Americans to come, can enjoy our Nation’s natural resources, and not those who attempt to profit by violating the law.”
“I am very pleased to see this conviction and sentence,” said Special Agent in Charge James Alford from the U.S. Forest Service Southwestern Region. “The national forests belong to every citizen and when someone is willfully violating the law it steals opportunities for others to enjoy our public lands. This is especially true in this case since an outfitter guide was breaking the law for commercial gain. I want to thank our U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officers, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish conservations officers, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys for their outstanding work of protecting America’s national forests and natural resources.”
“I want to thank the U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officers and Conservation Officers for their hard work on this case in New Mexico’s backcountry,” said Game and Fish Colonel Bobby Griego. “It is important for all New Mexico Outfitters to ensure they not only have completed requirements from the Game and Fish Department, but also our federal and state land management partners.”
The U.S. Forest Service and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Louis Mattei and Rumaldo Armijo prosecuted the case.