Feds Hit Trio for Importing Deer Illegally

Three men and a corporation have been cited in Mississippi with a 13-count federal indictment alleging the illegal transportation of white-tailed deer into the state for breeding and killing.

handcuffsRonald W. Reine, 67, Brian R. Reine, 44, Bruce A. Swilley Jr., 27, and Omni Pinnacle, LLC, all of Slidell, La., were charged with various violations of the Lacey Act for importing live white-tailed deer into Mississippi.

The indictment alleged that the defendants unlawfully brought the deer into Mississippi for breeding and killing trophy bucks. Federal authorities said defendants bought and illegally transported deer into Mississippi from Indiana and Pennsylvania in 2011 and 2012.

“The illegal importation of white-tailed deer into Mississippi is a growing problem with the potential for a devastating impact on our native deer herd” said U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis in Mississippi. “This indictment is the beginning of our efforts to combat the illegal importation of white-tailed deer and we will continue to partner with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks to identify, investigate, and prosecute people who have chosen to violate the law on importing white-tailed deer.”

According to officials, Brian Reine and Ronald Reine operated hunting enclosures in Lamar and Pearl River counties in southern Mississippi.

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The defendants were arraigned in U.S. District Court at Gulfport, Miss., and each was released on $25,000 bond. A trial is scheduled for March 17 before U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine on each count. Omni Pinnacle, LLC faces a maximum fine of $500,000.

Cory Gray, AGFC’s deer program coordinator, said, “This case in Mississippi points out what we are working hard to prevent in Arkansas. Bringing deer and other wildlife in from other areas is inviting the spread of a major disease epidemic.”

More information on importing deer and other wildlife into Arkansas can be found at tinyurl.com/AGFCcaptivewildlife.