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Washington man sentenced for illegal Montana hunt

April 8, 2010

Washington man sentenced for illegal Montana hunt

HAMILTON (AP) - A 46-year-old Washington man accused of taking part in an illegal hunt in Montana in 2003 has been given a five-year suspended sentence.

Alan T. Sweet, of Skagit County, Wash., previously pleaded guilty to a felony charge of unlawful possession of game animals and a misdemeanor charge of accountability for hunting without a license.

Sweet and 25-year-old Brent Mercado were charged in 2007 after Sweet's ex-wife told Washington authorities the men had hunted illegally in Montana. She offered photos of Sweet holding a bighorn sheep's head and other evidence.

Wildlife officials say the men, who did not have licenses to hunt in Montana, killed an antelope in Beaverhead County and a mule deer and a bighorn in Ravalli County.

Mercado will decide in the next two weeks whether to withdraw his guilty pleas after Ravalli County District Judge James Haynes said he would probably reject a plea agreement recommending a deferred sentence.

Mercado and Sweet accuse each other of being the triggerman.

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