Thursday, September 17, 2015

Georgia man gets record $1.6M fine for illegally trafficking in live white-tailed deer

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on Wednesday that a Georgia man who "pleaded guilty to three charges of illegally trafficking in live white-tailed deer will have to pay a $1.6 million penalty—the largest fine ever levied for a U.S. wildlife crime," Corbin Hiar reports for Environment & Energy News. "Benjamin Chason, 61, of Climax, Ga., was sentenced by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio and ordered to spend four months on home arrest, perform 150 hours of community service in an Ohio or Georgia state park, publish a statement in North American Whitetail magazine and submit to three years of probation."

Chason, who was convicted of violating the Lacey Act along with two other men—Douglas Wainwright Sr. and Douglas Wainwright Jr.—"admitted on May 1, 2014, to his role in a white-tail smuggling ring that illegally shipped deer that could have been infected with dangerous diseases from Florida and Georgia to Ohio," Hiar writes. "Tuberculosis and brucellosis, two diseases white-tails can be infected with, can be transmitted from deer to cows and humans. Enacted in 1900, the Lacey Act is the nation's oldest environmental law. Among other things, it prohibits such uncertified transportation and sale of wildlife."

"Wainwright Jr. pleaded guilty Feb. 17 to eight charges related to the illegal hunts and was sentenced to four months of house arrest and three years of probation," Hiar writes. "His father admitted to 12 Lacey Act violations, one count of conspiracy and one count of wire fraud" and was sentenced to nearly two years in prison, a $125,000 fine, 200 hours of community service in the park system and was also ordered to submit an article to the Deer Breeders Gazette.

No comments: