Family mulls guilty pleas in Wyoming illegal hunting operation
March 16, 2012
By Jeremy Pelzer, Casper Star-Tribune
CASPER, Wyo. — Several members of a ranching family near Ten
Sleep may soon plead guilty to charges that they allowed
out-of-state hunters to tag wildlife with their Wyoming landowner
hunting permits, according to the prosecuting attorney and court
Richard “R.C.” Carter, owner of Big Horn Adventure
Outfitters, allegedly took more than a dozen hunters out on his
family’s property from 2003 to 2009 to kill elk, deer and
antelope, according to a federal indictment issued last July.
Richard Carter Sr. and Mark Carter — R.C.’s father and younger
brother, respectively — allegedly used their own tags on the animals
shot and falsely claimed in affidavits that they killed them.
R.C. and Mark Carter then helped to transport the animals back to
the hunters’ homes in other states in violation of federal law, the
Two hunters who hired R.C. Carter as a
guide, Steve Farah and Matt Robinson, were also indicted for
allegedly shooting wildlife without a license and illegally
transporting the animals back to their home state of Oregon.
Robinson was accompanied by his father, James, who was previously
R.C. Carter charged between $3,000 and $7,500 per
hunter and/or per hunt for his services, not including tips,
according to the indictment.
However, the indictment states
that Carter occasionally bartered or exchanged guided hunts for
advertising, client referrals and guided fishing trips.
Carters procured so many landowner tags, the indictment states,
because in 2004 they subdivided their property into eight 160-acre
parcels, so that they and members of their family could receive a
landowner elk and antelope license for each parcel.
request of prosecutors, the trial has been moved from Jackson to
Casper on March 27.
All of the defendants have pleaded not
guilty. However, on Friday, the senior Carter and Farah filed
paperwork to change their plea on at least one of the charges
Their change of plea hearing will be held
Wednesday in Cheyenne.
In addition, Robinson told the court
it appeared that he would be the only one of the defendants going to
trial, according to the judicial order by Judge Nancy Freudenthal
granting the request to move the trial to Casper. Darrell Fun,
the federal prosecutor in the case, also said Friday that currently
appeared to be the case, though he added that could change by March
R.C. Carter didn’t return a phone call seeking comment
If convicted, R.C. and Mark Carter each
could face up to 55 years in prison as well as fines of up to $2.75
million. Richard Carter Sr. could receive up to five years in
prison, as well as a $250,000 fine.
Farah could receive up
to 15 years in prison, as well as a $750,000 fine, if convicted.
Matt Robinson could face up to 10 years’ prison time and a
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