Twenty one year old James Michael Rogers, Eagar, Arizona, and an unnamed juvenile, have been charged with multiple violations of the Endangered Species Act and Lacey Act in federal court, District of Arizona. Charges were filed on March 6, 2000, against James Michael Rogers and on March 8, 2000, against the juvenile. A summons to appear before a federal court was served on both individuals by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Special Agents this week. James Michael Rogers faces potential penalties of up to $100,000 in fines and one year in prison if convicted of a violation of the Lacey Act and $25,000 and six months in prison if convicted of a violation of the Endangered Species Act special rules.
Investigations by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agents, assisted by the Springerville Police Department and New Mexico Department of Game & Fish, concluded on February 15, 2000. Two firearms, a 7.62 caliber SKS rifle and a .22 caliber rifle were seized and are subject to forfeiture. Investigation determined that Wolf #493 was shot to death near Nutrioso, Arizona, then transported that same night across the Arizona/New Mexico state line in an attempt to conceal evidence of the killing.
Investigations into the illegal killing of three other Mexican gray wolves are still being conducted. A female wolf was killed August 7, 1998, the opening day of bear hunting season in the Williams Valley area near Alpine, Arizona. A male wolf was found dead of a gunshot wound near the Arizona/New Mexico state line on November 7, 1998. Another male wolf was found shot to death on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation on November 23, 1998.
Anyone with information regarding these killings is encouraged to call (480) 835-8289 or the Arizona Operation Game Thief Hotline at 800-352-0700. Callers may remain anonymous.
Additional information regarding the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction program is available on the Internet at http://mexicanwolf.fws.gov/
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System comprised of more than 500 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries, 64 fish and wildlife management assistance offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state wildlife agencies.