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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

TORRANCE: Service Special Agents Assistance to Edwards Air Force Base Results in Poacher Conviction

Region 8, October 11, 2007

A Canoga Park man was convicted in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles Oct. 11 of illegally killing a coyote on Edwards Air Force Base and transporting it off the base to cover up his crime.  A jury found David Phillip Cannon guilty of violating the Lacey Act, a federal wildlife protection law that prohibits the illegal transportation of wildlife taken in violation of state or federal law and regulations.  Edwards Air Force Base regulations prohibit the hunting or trapping of all predators, including coyotes, on base property.  Cannon was hunting with a high powered .223 caliber rifle, which is also prohibited by base regulations.


Cannon will be sentenced by U.S.Magistrate Judge Carla M. Woehrle on December 20.  He faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.


In February 2007, Cannon drove to an area along the western boundary fence near the southwest corner of the base.  Wearing camouflage clothing, including a face mask and gloves, Cannon concealed himself within 100 feet of the base fence line directly in front of one of the base warning signs.  Each sign indicates that beyond the fence is an Air Force installation and that trespassing is prohibited.  Using an electronic calling device that imitates the sounds of a wounded rabbit, Cannon lured a female coyote toward him from the base.  While the coyote was still on base property, Cannon shot it three times, killing the animal.  He then entered base property through a hole in the fence and dragged the coyote off the base and left it near a row of bushes.


As Cannon left the area, he was spotted by two range riders assigned to monitor the base perimeter.  The range riders reported the incident to a special agent of the US Fish & Wildlife Service, who was assisting base security with wildlife enforcement issues.  The agent’s investigation revealed blood pools on the base, drag marks leading off the base, three spent .223 rifle cartridges just outside the fenceline, and tire tracks leading along the western fence boundary.  Cannon was later charged with one count of violating the Lacey Act.  The US Fish & Wildlife Service worked closely with base security forces personnel and civilian contractors during the investigation.


Contact Info: Scott Flaherty, , Scott_Flaherty@fws.gov