Ohio Wildlife Officer Charged with Lacey Act Crimes
August 17, 2011
USDOJ: Ohio Wildlife Officer Charged with Lacey Act Crimes
WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury in Cincinnati, Ohio, returned a
four-count indictment today, charging Allan Wright, 45, of Russellville,
Ohio, with trafficking in and making false records for illegally
harvested white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in violation of the
Lacey Act. Wright is
employed as a wildlife officer for the Ohio Department of Natural
Resources, Division of Wildlife.
Among other things, the Lacey Act makes it a crime for a person to
knowingly transport or sell wildlife in interstate commerce when the
taken or possessed in violation of state law. The Lacey Act also makes
a crime for a person to knowingly make or submit a false record, account
or label for wildlife which has been transported in interstate commerce.
The indictment charges that Wright knowingly sold and provided an
Ohio resident hunting license to a South Carolina resident during the
white-tailed deer season. According to the indictment, Wright falsely
entered an Ohio address for the hunter in order to obtain a resident
license. Ohio law makes it a crime to procure a hunting license by
deceit, misrepresentation or any false statement. Ohio law also makes it
crime to hunt without a valid hunting license. The indictment charges
that the hunter killed three white-tailed deer using the illegal
license. Wright personally “checked in” the three deer, again providing
the fraudulent Ohio address. The hunter then transported the deer back
to South Carolina.
The indictment also alleges that Wright, using his authority as a
wildlife officer, seized white-tailed deer antlers from a hunter who had
deer illegally during the 2009 white-tailed deer season. The indictment
alleges that, rather than dispose of the antlers through court
proceedings, Wright caused the antlers to be transported to another
Michigan. The indictment charges that Wright then filed an official
form which falsely reported that he had personally destroyed the
Two of the four counts charged in the indictment are felonies
up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine per count. The remaining
two counts are misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in prison and a
$100,000 fine per count.
An indictment is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed
innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case is being investigated by the United States Fish & Wildlife
Service, Office of Law Enforcement. The case is being prosecuted by Trial
James B. Nelson of the Department of Justice’s Environmental Crimes
Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division.
Contact: Department of Justice Main Switchboard - 202-514-2000.
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