January 15, 2014

From WatchNewspapers.com

GRAND JUNCTION – Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources announced last week the indictments of outfitters Christopher W. Loncarich, 55 of Mack, Colo. and his assistant guide Nicholaus J. Rodgers, 30, of Medford, Ore. for allegedly conspiring to lead clients on illegal hunts in western Colorado and Utah between 2007 and 2010.

The pair is accused of illegally capturing and caging mountain lions and bobcats, often incapacitating them by shooting them in the paws or keeping them in place with leghold traps. Then, with the aid of radio communications, the outfitters brought their clients to the area where the maimed or restrained animal was released, ensuring a kill for their clients.

The indictment also states that Loncarich and Rodgers took several clients on illegal hunts in Utah without the proper tags, then would bring cat’s hides back to Colorado to ‘check-in’ with CPW using falsified records to obtain the required seals. Many of the hides were then transported to the clients home state, a violation of the Lacey Act – a felony, federal law prohibiting the transportation of illegally taken wildlife across state lines.

To date, four assistant guides have also pleaded guilty to offenses arising from the conspiracy.

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