Massive Poaching Investigation Ends With Jail, Fines

A massive investigation into illegal hunting activities has resulted in jail sentences, fines and other penalties for more than two dozen in multiple states.

“Operation Cimmaron” resulted in two outfitters selling hunts in Texas and more than two dozen hunters being prosecuted. The investigation began a decade ago following citations written by Texas wildlife officials and progressed into a deeper probe.

After three years, Texas conservation officials contacted federal wildlife agents with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to request assistance. Hunters from other states were involved, thus involving the federal Lacey Act related to illegally-taken wildlife crossing state lines. According to The Wichita Eagle, state and federal agents began working on the case in 2007 and for two years built enough evidence to secure warrants.

Arrests were made starting in 2009. Federal game warden John Brooks told the newspaper that about 120 sets of antlers or mounted deer heads were confiscated. Brooks also said others could have been prosecuted but were not charged.

“There is a lot more we could have done,” Brooks told the Eagle. “Some went by the wayside because of (the statue of limitations) and sometimes you just have to make priorities.”

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