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Utah man fined for illegal Nevada trapping

Today: June 08, 2007 at 13:55:6 PDT 

RENO, Nev. (AP) - A Utah man who pleaded guilty to illegally trapping bobcats in Nevada has been fined $7,500 dollars and ordered to forfeit more than 100 pelts valued at $38,000, state wildlife officials said Friday.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife said the arrest and federal prosecution of Cole Steele was a joint investigation by Nevada, Utah and federal wildlife agencies.

Steele, 34, illegally obtained a 2004 Nevada trapping license by claiming to be a Nevada resident. While he bought a house here, his legal residence is in Santaquin, Utah, officials said.

Under state law, only Nevada residents can obtain trapping licenses for bobcats.

In all, authorities said Steele illegally trapped 124 bobcats. Pelts from 106 were recovered.

Steele was selling the pelts to his father, who operates a legitimate fur trading business, officials said. The pelts were being prepared for shipment to European fur markets when they were seized.

Steele pleaded guilty in March to a misdemeanor violation of the Lacey Act, a federal law the prohibits trade in wildlife, fish and plants that acquired illegally.

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