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Ohio Wildlife Officer Charged With Federal Lacey Act Crimes

Jackalope

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Staff member
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SHAZAM ANDY!

If the state doesn't want to prosecute and tries to cover it up, the federal US Fish and wildlife Service is gonna nail his balls to the wall.. Glad to see this POS get his due...

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) today obtained a four-count indictment from a federal grand jury in Cincinnati charging Allan Wright, a state wildlife officer in southwest Ohio, with trafficking in and making false records for illegally harvested white-tailed deer in violation of federal law.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and its Division of Wildlife willingly cooperated in the investigation, providing documents and other information as it was requested by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the DOJ.

Wright will be placed on immediate unpaid administrative leave and required to return all state property in his possession, according to ODNR.

The Lacey Act makes it a crime for a person to knowingly transport or sell wildlife in interstate commerce when the wildlife was taken or possessed in violation of state law. The Lacey Act also makes it a crime for a person to knowingly make or submit a false record, account or label for wildlife which has been transported in interstate commerce.

The indictment charges that Wright knowingly sold and provided an Ohio resident hunting license to a South Carolina resident during the 2006 white-tailed deer season. According to the indictment, Wright falsely entered an Ohio address for the hunter in order to obtain a resident license. Ohio law makes it a crime to procure a hunting license by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or any false statement. Ohio law also makes it a crime to hunt without a valid hunting license. The indictment charges that the hunter killed three white-tailed deer using the illegal license. Wright personally “checked in” the three deer, again providing the fraudulent Ohio address. The hunter then transported the deer back to South Carolina.

Additionally, the indictment alleges that Wright, using his authority as a wildlife officer, seized white-tailed deer antlers from a hunter who had killed a deer illegally during the 2009 white-tailed deer season. The indictment alleges that, rather than dispose of the antlers through court proceedings, Wright caused the antlers to be transported to another individual in Michigan. The indictment charges that Wright then filed an official state form which falsely reported that he had personally destroyed the antlers.

Two of the four counts charged in the indictment are felonies punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine per count. The remaining two counts are misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine per count.

An indictment is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case is being investigated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney James B. Nelson of the Department of Justice’s Environmental Crimes Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division.
 
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Jackalope

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What's ouch is I can't believe the State back last deer seasonnot only dropped the charges in an obvious cover up. They gave him his badge and gun back and put him back in the woods... They thought they had egg on their face before... The feds are involved now..
 

Jackalope

Dignitary Member
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I would like to see his supervisor and the others that helped cover this up drug in on aiding and abetting and cover up. If I Remember correctly the district chief was charged with that and the charges were also dropped. He found out and didn't do anything until almost a year later when someone blew the whistle to the county prosecutor.
 

huntn2

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Super Mod
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Hudson, OH
Joe, by "ouch" I meant the fugger is screwed and now I bet all involved are wishing they had delt with it on the state and local level rather than sweeping it under the rug.

Glad they will probably get what tbey deserve just like the rest of us would.
 

hickslawns

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37,806
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NW Ohio
What a shame. Now if we could figure a way for the rest of the government to be held accountable for their actions we might start getting somewhere.
 

huntn2

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Hudson, OH
What a shame. Now if we could figure a way for the rest of the government to be held accountable for their actions we might start getting somewhere.

Not a terrible sum of money, but here is another $10k the tax payers will be responsible for...City workers racking up tickets in city vehicles and they aren't responsible for their violations....awesome

http://www.cleveland.com/cuyahoga-county/index.ssf/2011/08/former_cuyahoga_county_regime_racks_up_more_than_10000_in_unpaid_tickets.html
 

Milo

Tatonka guide.
8,148
144
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
UPDATED THROUGHOUT: Allan Wright sentenced; no jail time but no hunting/fishing for five years
CINCINNATI - Allan Wright, the defrocked former state wildlife officer, was sentenced in U.S. District Court-Ohio South District July 17, ending a chapter in the history of the Ohio Division of Wildlife that left the agency with a “black eye.”

Federal Judge Michael R. Barrett - in sentencing Wright for violating four misdemeanor charges of the federal Lacey Act - also said that Wright has placed himself at a “crossroads,” a fork in life in which the one-time award-winning, 18-year state wildlife officer could still “turn your life around.”

At the same time, Barrett said that Wright has given wildlife law enforcement in Ohio both a “black eye” and likewise “violated his oath of office.”

Judge Barrett then advised Wright that he should “look into the mirror” and decide if he’ll treat everyone equally as well as follow the laws that are intended to protect fish and wildlife.

“Most people who hunt and fish and do those things are respectful of the woods,” Judge Barrett said.

And then Barrett gave Wright the news: He can keep his new job within the security department of Lincoln Memorial College in eastern Tennessee on the condition that he must leave his weapon on campus, house arrest for three months, and pay a $1,000 fine with the money going to the Wildlife Division’s Turn-in-A-Poacher (TIP) program. Added to this was a $25-per-count court cost.

Wright also is forbidden to buy any hunting or fishing license anywhere in the world for the next five years, the length of his probation.

As is standard court practice, Barrett said that Wright cannot engage in the taking of any illegal drug or alcohol and must meet periodically with a probation officer.

Wright’s legal troubles began more than two years ago. That is when Wright was investigated for allowing a South Carolina wildlife officer to use his Brown County (Ohio) home address in order to obtain a resident hunting license.

This matter escalated to include several other Wildlife Division officials, who themselves are still the target of legal issues.

As for the federal matters, Wright was charged with violating the Lacey Act “by trafficking in and making false records for illegally harvested white-tailed deer,” said the U.S. Justice Department when the former wildlife officer pleaded guilty June 18.

During the 30-minute or so sentencing session, Judge Barrett said that Wright broke the law in part because he “was good at polishing the brass,” a reference to his closeness with higher up officials in the Wildlife Division.

Federal prosecutors were not kind to Wright, either.

James Nelson, the case’s lead federal prosecutor, gave a withering statement against Wright.
Nelson said of Wright that “he abused his badge” and that he also must “understand he’s not special” and that it was wrong for him to “sell hunting licenses to his friends.”

The prosecutor then went on to acknowledge the importance of such laws as the Lacey Act.

“Without these laws there would be no wildlife,” Nelson said.

Nelson continued to scold Wright, saying the former state wildlife officer “knew better.”

Importantly, the Justice Department says as well, that to condone such actions as Wright’s can turn wildlife law enforcement into anarchy with a public so cynical that no one will obey the law, which Wright swore to protect.

“Committing wildlife crimes while on duty as a wildlife officer, Wright not only violated the law but also breached the public’s faith in the integrity of the wildlife program,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant U.S.
Attorney General for the agency’s Environmental Crimes Section.

Moreno is Nelson’s boss and who took an interest in the Wright case.

“In holding Wright accountable for his crimes, the Justice Department reaffirms its commitment to prosecute wildlife law violators in order to protect America’s wildlife resources for the enjoyment of the American people,” Moreno said also.

In seeking leniency for Wright, his attorney, Louis Sirkin, said that while the former wildlife officer showed a lapse in good judgement and that his actions were “a disappointment to the people of Ohio,” Wright has learned a “tough lesson.”

Sirkin also asked that Wright be allowed to possess a weapon while on duty as part of the college’s security detail.

When asked for a quote following the sentencing, Sirkin said that he had no comment.
Prior to Judge Barrett’s sentencing Wright apologized to the court, his family and friends.

“I take full responsibility,” Wright said of his actions that began a chain of legal events that - more than two years later - are still unfolding.

In concluding, Barrett said that should Wright fail during his probationary period he will again appear before the federal court system.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said that it had undertaken its own administrative review of Wright and then “took appropriate actions” after that process was completed.

“It would be inappropriate for (the) ODNR to comment beyond our own actions in regards to Mr. Wright’s conduct,” said Matt Eiselstein, the Natural Resources Department’s deputy chief of communications.

And in the associated matter of the five Wildlife Division officers who sent letters on Wright's behalf to Judge Barrett, Eiselstein said the investigation into this matter is still "ongoing.

"Comment also was sought from Brown County prosecutor Jessica Little, who initiated the first set of charges against Wright and following an investigation by the Ohio Inspector General.

Those charges were later dropped, though Little continues to seek legal action against five current and former Wildlife Division officials as to their administrative actions related to Wright.

However, Little is out of town and thus is unavailable for comment.

-Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischkorn@News-Herald.com
Twitter: @Fieldkorn
 

Milo

Tatonka guide.
8,148
144
I will comment on my concerns as a hunter and fisherman..i am appalled that the court can see how morally important it is for game protectors to be held to a higher standard, yet ODNR does not.. this could get ugly. I don't want this for my state or our wildlife. I sure hope they can right the ship but this apparent legacy of blindness has me concerned
 
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RedCloud

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Somewhere OHIO
I see some more house cleaning before it's all said and done. Just look at how many NEW WO that was just assigned over the last 6-7 months. It ain't over by a long shot and I agree, it will get ugly with the state vs the feds lol.
 

RedCloud

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Somewhere OHIO
The 11 new Ohio wildlife officer and their assignments are listed below:

Jeffrey Berry, 44, Zanesville, state wildlife officer assigned to Muskingum County;
Aaron Brown, 31, Wellington, state wildlife officer assigned to Summit County;
Joshua Elster, 30, Williamsport, state wildlife officer assigned to Pickaway County;
Jesse Janosik, 21, Warren, state wildlife officer assigned to Cuyahoga County;
Augustus Kiebel, 23, Alexandria, state wildlife officer assigned to Clermont County;
Justus Nethero, 22, Dublin, state wildlife officer assigned to Delaware County;
Craig Porter II, 23, Cadiz, state wildlife officer assigned to Jefferson County;
Markus Schemmel II, 22, Saint Marys, state wildlife officer assigned to Adams County;
Ryan Schock, 24, Beavercreek, state wildlife officer assigned to Hamilton County;
Vincent Untied, 23, Granville, state wildlife officer assigned to Morrow County; and
Eric VonAlmen, 26, Columbus Grove, state wildlife officer assigned to Lucas County.


Gotta move people around to start filling holes.
 

MK111

"Happy Hunting Grounds in the Sky"
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SW Ohio
Sorry to say it's just a "good ole boy club". They just protect each other. Look at the last coverup about 4 yrs ago. Nothing much has been done to the ones covering everything up. Shame too.
Frank