FRANKLIN, Pa., June 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer Mark Allegro, following up on a number of anonymous tips, tracked down the individual who illegally owned a wallaby that was captured on May 30, along King Road near Cambridge Springs, Crawford County.
On June 11, WCO Allegro filed charges against Corry A. Lewis, age 22, of North East, Erie County, before District Judge Lincoln S. Zilhaver, of Saegertown, Crawford County. Lewis was charged with one count of unlawful importation of wildlife, and one count of unlawful possession of wildlife. Both are fifth-degree summary offenses and carry fines of $100 to $200 dollars for each count.
On May 30, the wallaby was tranquilized by officials from the Northwest Region, including Information and Education Supervisor Regis Senko, Crawford County WCO Mark Allegro and Northwest Region Wildlife Management Supervisor Roger Coup, and transferred to a licensed facility, where the animal remains.
Resembling a small kangaroo, a wallaby is a member of the marsupial family, and a native of Australia and surrounding islands.
LUZERNE COUNTY MAN FOUND GUILTY OF POSSESSING MONKEY
DALLAS – Jeffery William Arnott, Sr., 46, of Ashley, Luzerne County, recently was found guilty by District Judge Joseph Halesey, of Wilkes-Barre, of unlawfully possessing a Java Macaque monkey, and ordered to pay a $100 fine, plus court costs.
On May 19, acting on a call from the Luzerne County 911 Center, Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer Gerald Kapral received a call about a monkey that was on the loose. WCO Kapral worked with Arnott to capture the monkey, which was located on a homeowner's porch near Arnott's home. WCO Kapral then transported the monkey to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, where it remains.
Under Game Commission Regulations (Title 58), it is unlawful for an individual to possess any non-human primates in Pennsylvania. The only exceptions are for lawfully permitted facilities or menageries.
THREE NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY POACHERS ENTER GUILTY PLEAS
DALLAS – Pennsylvania Game Commission officials today announced three Northumberland County residents have pled guilty to an array of wildlife violations committed over a two-day period in a three-county area.
Those who pled guilty were Codey Jonathan Bomberger, 18, of Watsontown; and Justin Thomas Munson, 18, and Mathew Jay Stoltzfus, 19, both of Turbotville. District Judge Marvin K. Shrawder presided over the case, and Montour District Attorney Rebecca Warren prosecuted the three individuals.
All violations stemmed from incidents that occurred on the evening of Nov. 23 and the early morning hours of Nov. 24, in Montour, Lycoming and Columbia counties.
An investigation conducted by Northumberland/Montour Wildlife Conservation Officer Ricky A. Deiterich revealed that Bomberger, Munson, Stoltzfus and an unnamed juvenile set out in a silver Ford F-150 on a deer killing spree on the evening of Nov. 23, that started in Turbotville. The group possessed a spotlight and a .243-caliber hunting rifle.
According to the investigation, Bomberger drove the truck while Munson, Stoltzfus and the unnamed juvenile were passengers. From around 11:30 p.m. on Nov. 23, until around 3 a.m. on Nov. 24, the vehicle traveled on several roads in Montour, Lycoming, and Columbia counties, as the occupants shot at deer. Evidence showed that several deer were killed while others were wounded and ran off.
The shooting began on Waltimyer Road in Montour County, where an antlerless deer was killed. Other antlered and antlerless deer were killed or wounded along Fox Hollow, Dennon Hill, Fairview, Muncy Exchange and County Line Roads. Additional deer were killed or wounded in Lycoming County along Ridge Road and G Wagner Road. As the individuals entered Columbia County via G Wagner Road, they shot at more deer on Shetler Road. After traveling back to Montour County, an antlerless deer was shot and killed on Walburn Road.
Munson and the juvenile were eventually dropped off in Turbotville, while Bomberger and Stoltzfus traveled back to Ridge Road in Lycoming County to retrieve one antlerless deer, which was dumped in a ditch in Union County on Thanksgiving Day.
A total of five antlerless and four antlered deer were confirmed killed, while countless others were likely wounded.
Bomberger pled guilty to two counts each of misdemeanor and first-degree misdemeanor violations involving the unlawful killing or taking of big game, and 40 counts of summary violations, including 10 counts each of loaded firearms in vehicles, unlawful use of lights while hunting, restrictions on recreational spotlighting, shooting on or across highways, and hunting through the use of a motorized vehicle. He was sentenced to pay $7,000 in fines for all summary violations, and received two years probation for misdemeanor violations.
Munson pled guilty to two counts each of misdemeanor and first-degree misdemeanor violations involving the killing or taking of big game, and 32 counts of summary violations, including unlawful use of lights while hunting, restrictions on recreational spotlighting, shooting on or across highways, and hunting through the use of a motorized vehicle. He was ordered to pay $4,850 in fines, and received two years probation for misdemeanor violations.
Stoltzfus agreed to plead guilty to two counts each of misdemeanor and first-degree misdemeanor violations involving the killing or taking of big game, and 26 counts of loaded firearms in vehicles, unlawful use of lights while hunting, restrictions on recreational spotlighting, shooting on or across highways, and hunting through the use of a motorized vehicle. He was sentenced to pay $4,200 in fines, and will receive two years probation for misdemeanor violations.
In addition, the three were ordered to pay a total of $7,200 in restitution fees for the deer that were killed, and the firearm used in commission of the crimes was forfeited to the Game Commission by court order. All men face loss of hunting license privileges in Pennsylvania for up to 30 years each.
"This was a senseless waste of Pennsylvania's wildlife recourses," said WCO Deiterich. "We thank District Attorney Warren for her efforts in securing these pleas."
"I would like to thank WCO Deiterich for conducting a thorough investigation which resulted in prompt guilty pleas," District Attorney Warren added. "It is unfortunate that these defendants engaged in such irresponsible and dangerous behavior that placed both wildlife and the public at risk. Our wildlife recourses are to be respected and protected. Killing sprees will not be tolerated and enhanced penalties for violations are in effect, and will be enforced, in Montour County."
VERMONT HUNTERS PLEAD GUILTY TO UNLAWFUL TAKING OF DEER
JERSEY SHORE – Following an 18-month investigation involving four wildlife agencies, seven Vermont residents pled guilty to Pennsylvania charges of illegally killing white-tailed deer in Westfield, Tioga County, and ordered to pay $3,900 in fines, according to Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer (WCO) Rodney P. Mee. Mee noted that each will lose their hunting privileges in Pennsylvania for one year.
An eighth individual set to stand trial in the Tioga County Court of Common Pleas is a convicted felon not to be in possession of a firearm, and faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
On May 8, the Vermont residents who pled guilty were: Ronald Machia, 47, of Sheldon; Dustin Machia, 24, of Swanton; Chad Machia, 26, of Swanton; Jason Giroux, 29 of St. Albans; Jamie Cooper, 26, of Sheldon; Lucien Riggie, 26, of Enosburg Falls; and Harry Williams, 54, of Highgate Center. David Machia, 52, of Sheldon, is facing additional firearms possession charges.
WCO Mee was assisted in the investigation by Vermont State Game Warden Carl Wedin, New York Environmental Conservation Police Officers Daniel Malone and Jeffery Hovey, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agent Patrick Bosco.
In October of 2010, the Vermont residents came to Westfield to hunt deer. The group was successful in killing several deer, but they did not report their kills, and returned in the November firearms deer season to hunt again. The group of eight hunters harvested 11 deer in three-and-a-half days of hunting. Upon the hunters return to Vermont on Dec. 2, they were stopped by New York State Trooper Shawn Murphy, in Roust Point, for a traffic violation. Trooper Murphy observed nine of the deer in the Vermont pickup and notified NY ECOs Malone and Hovey to investigate. The Vermont hunters were released after a short investigation, and WCO Mee was notified and began what was to become an 18-month investigation.
WCO Mee, as a result of the New York stop, visited Vermont to interview the suspects, and was assisted by Vermont State Game Warden Carl Wedin and USFWS Special Agent Patrick Bosco.
"I can't thank enough the local witnesses that came forward to testify, as well as the hard work and time spent on this investigation by my fellow state and federal wildlife officers," WCO Mee said.
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NOTE: Photographs to accompany the first two articles in this news release are available from the Game Commission's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) by clicking on "News Releases" and then selecting "Release #067-12."
SOURCE Pennsylvania Game Commission