Wildlife Violators

Operation Game Thief pays rewards to citizens who turn in poachers to a New Mexico Conservation Officers (Fish and Game Wardens).File a secure and anonymous report online to earn rewards when you help us solve these cold cases. Visit the main Operation Game Thief page to learn more about this New Mexico Department of Game and Fish program, which pays citizens who turn in poachers.

Past Offenders

2018

Roy L. Chace II
68, Silver City, NM
Convictions: 1. Hunting without a valid license 2. Unlawful Possession of Game without a license. 3. Illegal ammunition type. 4. Littering.
Plea: Plea: Guilty on all counts. Disposition: Hunting without a license-Deferred, Unlawful possession of game-Conviction, Ammunition type-Deferred, Littering-Conviction. Grant County Magistrate Court 1/14/2018
Penalties: Total fines and court costs:$482.00
Civil penalties: Pending

Case Summary: On January 16, 2018, Officer Jordan Duncan received a report from Operation Game Thief (OGT) that a Roy Chace had possibly shot a deer on his property in The Burro Mountains, with a firearm during archery deer season. Officer Duncan spoke with the witnesses and acquired more information. With the information, Officer Duncan got a search warrant from Judge Laney and served the warrant on January 17, 2018, at the residence of Roy Chace in Silver City, Grant County, New Mexico. Officers recovered several items including one 4×3 mule deer buck with several packages of deer meat and one Smith and Wesson M&P-15 rifle. While interviewing Roy Chace, Officer Duncan obtained a confession that he had shot and killed the 4×3 mule deer without a deer hunting license, with a rifle during the archery only deer hunt. Mr. Chace dumped garbage bags containing the left over deer parts on the Gila National Forest. Charges of Hunting without a valid license, Unlawful Possession of Game without proper documentation, Ammunition Type and Littering were filed in Grant County Magistrate Court.
Operation Game Thief tip? Yes
GMUs’and counties where crimes were committed: GMU 23 Burro Mountain Hunt Area, Grant County
Additional Information:  –

Miguel A. Carreon
36, Deming, NM
Convictions:Unlawful killing of deer, Unlawful possession of deer
Plea: Guilty, Deming Magistrate Court, March 15, 2018
Penalties: $676 in fines and court costs
Civil penalties: $2000

Case Summary: On November 11, 2017, a Concerned Citizen (CC) left a voicemail on Game and Fish Officer Brandon Kempton’s cell phone telling him they thought someone had killed a deer in the wrong unit. The CC believed this, because they saw a picture of a dead buck which locals had been watching near Deming in GMU 25. The picture had several men posing with a trophy quality 3 X 4 mule deer in it. The picture had a caption implying the deer was killed in GMU 26, on the second day of the first rifle deer hunt. Later that same day, Officer Kempton narrowed the list down to a possible suspect (Cesar Sanchez) who lived in Columbus, NM. The CC reported the poachers may have used a black Chevrolet Avalanche. Officer Kempton checked the address of Cesar Sanchez and saw that there was a black Avalanche parked at the Sanchez residence. On November 17, 2018, Officer Kempton investigated the area where the CC said the mule deer buck was last known to be. Officer Kempton found two different kill sites where deer had been killed and dragged to the road. One deer had not been gutted and evidence was gathered which indicated it was the buck in the picture. On January 8th 2018, Officers served a search warrant at the Cesar Sanchez residence in Columbus, New Mexico. While interviewing Cesar Sanchez in his home, officers learned the deer they were looking for was not killed by Cesar Sanchez, but was killed by Miguel Carreon (one of the men in the picture). Cesar said he knew the deer was killed illegally when he helped load and transport the deer in his Avalanche back to his residence. Cesar said Miguel had the deer head and mounted it to a board and likely still had it. Officers Duncan and McClellan left Columbus and drove to Miguel Carreon’s residence where the deer head was found, and Miguel Carreon admitted to killing it illegally in GMU 25 using his GMU 24 deer license. Both Miguel Carreon and Cesar Sanchez pled guilty to their charges in Deming Magistrate Court on March 15, 2018. Mr. Carreon also must pay the department $2000 in civil penalties for poaching the trophy mule deer.

Operation Game Thief tip? Yes
GMUs’and counties where crimes were committed:GMU 25, Luna County
Additional Information:  –

Cesar M. Sanchez
47, Columbus, NM
Convictions: Unlawful possession of deer
Plea: Guilty, Deming Magistrate Court, March 15, 2018
Penalties: $273 in fines and court costs
Civil penalties: –

Case Summary: On November 11, 2017, a Concerned Citizen (CC) left a voicemail on Game and Fish Officer Brandon Kempton’s cell phone telling him they thought someone had killed a deer in the wrong unit. The CC believed this, because they saw a picture of a dead buck which locals had been watching near Deming in GMU 25. The picture had several men posing with a trophy quality 3 X 4 mule deer in it. The picture had a caption implying the deer was killed in GMU 26, on the second day of the first rifle deer hunt. Later that same day, Officer Kempton narrowed the list down to a possible suspect (Cesar Sanchez) who lived in Columbus, NM. The CC reported the poachers may have used a black Chevrolet Avalanche. Officer Kempton checked the address of Cesar Sanchez and saw that there was a black Avalanche parked at the Sanchez residence. On November 17, 2018, Officer Kempton investigated the area where the CC said the mule deer buck was last known to be. Officer Kempton found two different kill sites where deer had been killed and dragged to the road. One deer had not been gutted and evidence was gathered which indicated it was the buck in the picture. On January 8th 2018, Officers served a search warrant at the Cesar Sanchez residence in Columbus, New Mexico. While interviewing Cesar Sanchez in his home, officers learned the deer they were looking for was not killed by Cesar Sanchez, but was killed by Miguel Carreon (another one of the men in the picture). Cesar admitted he knew the deer was killed illegally when he helped load and transport the deer in his Avalanche back to his residence. Cesar said Miguel had the deer head and mounted it to a board and likely still had it. Officers Duncan and McClellan left Columbus and drove to Miguel Carreon’s residence where the deer head was found, and Miguel Carreon admitted to killing it illegally in GMU 25 using his second rifle hunt, GMU 24 deer license which wasn’t even valid the day the deer was killed. Both Miguel Carreon and Cesar Sanchez pled guilty to their charges in Deming Magistrate Court on March 15, 2018. Mr. Carreon also owes the department $2000 in civil penalties for poaching the trophy mule deer.

Operation Game Thief tip? Yes
GMUs’and counties where crimes were committed:GMU 25, Luna County
Additional Information:  –

KYLE B. SCHMIDT
32, ST. PETERS, MO
Convictions: HUNTING WITHOUT A LICENSE, UNLAWFUL KILLING OF ORYX- OUT OF SEASON, UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF ORYX, UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF ORYX.
Plea: OTERO COUNTY MAGISTRATE COURT- ALAMOGORDO, NM (APRIL 24TH, 2018)
Penalties: $3,100.00 CRIMINAL FINES, $432.00 FEES & COURT COSTS, 7 DAYS UNSUPERVISED PROBATION.
Civil penalties: $2,000.00

Case Summary: On October 30th, 2017, NM Department of Game & Fish Officer Armendariz received an Operation Game Thief (OGT) Report about an oryx that may have been unlawfully killed by a soldier on Ft. Bliss-McGregor Range. It was later discovered the soldier, Army Reserve- Staff Sergeant Kyle Schmidt, posted a photograph of the unlawfully killed oryx on his Facebook account. Officer Armendariz discovered that Mr. Schmidt had already returned home to St. Louis, Missouri with the mounted oryx after being deployed to Ft. Bliss Army Base for approximately one year.

Officer Armendariz contacted Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Agent Tim McDaniel to conducted an interview with Mr. Schmidt. Mr. Schmidt confessed to using a .243 Winchester rifle to unlawfully killed the oryx on Ft. Bliss in New Mexico without a license. Mr. Schmidt admitted he had a local taxidermist mount the illegal oryx and he had served the meat to fellow soldiers at an Army Battalion barbecue. The mounted oryx head and the rifle Mr. Schmidt used were seized by MDC Agents. Officer Armendariz also found evidence which showed that a second oryx may have been unlawfully killed by another soldier. Officer Armendariz conducted a follow up interview with Mr. Schmidt and it was learned that he escorted and aided an Army Reserve-Specialist Andy Medeiros on Ft. Bliss to unlawfully hunt for, kill and posses an oryx without a license and out of season. It was learned that Mr. Medeiros, also previously deployed at Ft. Bliss Army Base, had returned to Dallas, Texas. Officer Armendariz contacted Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Game Warden Michael Stephens to assist in locating Mr. Medeiros. TPWD Game Warden Stephens located and arranged to interview Mr. Medeiros. Mr. Medeiros confessed to using a 30-06 Springfield rifle to unlawfully kill the oryx on Ft. Bliss in New Mexico without a license. Mr. Medeiros explained the oryx meat was also served to fellow soldiers at an Army Battalion barbecue. Mr. Medeiros voluntarily forfeited the rifle to TPWD Game Wardens.

On March 21st, 2018, Mr. Schmidt plead Guilty to Hunting oryx without a license, Unlawful killing of oryx- out of season, Unlawful possession of oryx- out of season and Unlawful possession of oryx (Medeiros oryx)- out of season. He was fined $3,100 plus $432 in court costs in the Otero County Magistrate Court.

Mr. Medeiros also plead Guilty to Hunting oryx without a license, Unlawful killing of oryx- out of season and Unlawful possession of oryx- out of season. He was fined $2,100 plus $329 in court costs in the Otero County Magistrate Court.

Operation Game Thief tip? No
GMUs’and counties where crimes were committed: GMU 19
Additional Information:  –

ANDY B. MEDEIROS
27, McKinney, TX
Convictions: HUNTING WITHOUT A LICENSE, UNLAWFUL KILLING OF ORYX- OUT OF SEASON, UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF ORYX.
Plea: OTERO COUNTY MAGISTRATE COURT- ALAMOGORDO, NM (APRIL 24TH, 2018)
Penalties: $2,100.00 CRIMINAL FINES, $329.00 FEES & COURT COSTS, 21 DAYS UNSUPERVISED PROBATION.
Civil penalties: N/A

Case Summary: On October 30th, 2017, NM Department of Game & Fish Officer Armendariz received an Operation Game Thief (OGT) Report about an oryx that may have been unlawfully killed by a soldier on Ft. Bliss-McGregor Range. It was later discovered the soldier, Army Reserve- Staff Sergeant Kyle Schmidt, posted a photograph of the unlawfully killed oryx on his Facebook account. Officer Armendariz discovered that Mr. Schmidt had already returned home to St. Louis, Missouri with the mounted oryx after being deployed to Ft. Bliss Army Base for approximately one year.

Officer Armendariz contacted Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Agent Tim McDaniel to conducted an interview with Mr. Schmidt. Mr. Schmidt confessed to using a .243 Winchester rifle to unlawfully killed the oryx on Ft. Bliss in New Mexico without a license. Mr. Schmidt admitted he had a local taxidermist mount the illegal oryx and he had served the meat to fellow soldiers at an Army Battalion barbecue. The mounted oryx head and the rifle Mr. Schmidt used were seized by MDC Agents. Officer Armendariz also found evidence which showed that a second oryx may have been unlawfully killed by another soldier. Officer Armendariz conducted a follow up interview with Mr. Schmidt and it was learned that he escorted and aided an Army Reserve-Specialist Andy Medeiros on Ft. Bliss to unlawfully hunt for, kill and posses an oryx without a license and out of season. It was learned that Mr. Medeiros, also previously deployed at Ft. Bliss Army Base, had returned to Dallas, Texas. Officer Armendariz contacted Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Game Warden Michael Stephens to assist in locating Mr. Medeiros. TPWD Game Warden Stephens located and arranged to interview Mr. Medeiros. Mr. Medeiros confessed to using a 30-06 Springfield rifle to unlawfully kill the oryx on Ft. Bliss in New Mexico without a license. Mr. Medeiros explained the oryx meat was also served to fellow soldiers at an Army Battalion barbecue. Mr. Medeiros voluntarily forfeited the rifle to TPWD Game Wardens.

On March 21st, 2018, Mr. Schmidt plead Guilty to Hunting oryx without a license, Unlawful killing of oryx- out of season, Unlawful possession of oryx- out of season and Unlawful possession of oryx (Medeiros oryx)- out of season. He was fined $3,100 plus $432 in court costs in the Otero County Magistrate Court.

Mr. Medeiros also plead Guilty to Hunting oryx without a license, Unlawful killing of oryx- out of season and Unlawful possession of oryx- out of season. He was fined $2,100 plus $329 in court costs in the Otero County Magistrate Court.

Operation Game Thief tip? No
GMUs’and counties where crimes were committed: GMU 19
Additional Information:  –

2017

Damon Wayland
41, Albuquerque, NM
Convictions: Unlawful killing of a mule deer, shooting from the roadway, waste of game, negligent use of a deadly weapon
Plea: Plead guilty to all charges on 12/21/17 in the Catron County Magistrate Court
Penalties: $1,932 in fines including court costs
Civil penalties: $250 in civil penalties owed to Game and Fish

Case Summary: On November 13, 2017, at approximately 4:00 PM, during a rifle deer hunt, Game and Fish Officer Adan Jacquez received information from a witness who saw two men poach a mule deer in the village of Mogollon. Allegedly, two men traveling in a small white truck had shot towards a group of deer by the witnesses’ house and killed a spike antlered mule deer then left it in the field. According to the witness the vehicle quickly fled the scene after the two men were approached about the incident.

Officer Jacquez conducted a license plate query using the license plate number given and learned that the vehicle was registered to Jeremiah Charley out of Albuquerque, NM. Officer Jacquez requested all law enforcement officers in Catron County keep a look out for the vehicle, but the vehicle was not located. Officer Jacquez later called Mr. Charley and learned that Mr. Charley had lent his vehicle to his friend/relative Wayland Damon for a deer hunt. Officer Jacquez found that Mr. Damon had purchased a deer hunting license and called him to talk about the poached deer. After speaking with Mr. Damon, Officer Jacquez learned he had shot towards the group of deer near the village of Mogollon but had not checked to see if he had wounded a deer, as required by law.

The following day Sgt. KC Gehrt investigated the crime scene and located physical evidence indicating additional Game and Fish violations had occurred. Sgt. Gerht also obtained witness statements from two new witnesses.

Mr. Damon shot and killed a spike antlered mule deer. Spike antlered deer are not legal to harvest in NM. When he shot, he was standing next to the road rather than getting 40ft off of the road as required by law. Mr. Damon then failed to search for a wounded deer or make any effort to recover any animal he may have hit and as a result he left the carcass of the deer in the field which resulted in waste of the animal. Furthermore,

Mr. Damon was within 150 yards of an occupied dwelling when he shot and killed a deer using a high powered rifle. Mr. Damon was charged with unlawful killing of a mule deer, waste of game, shooting from the road and negligent use of a deadly weapon in Catron County where he was convicted on all 4 charges and was fined $1,932 by the Catron County Magistrate Court.

Operation Game Thief tip? No
GMUs’and counties where crimes were committed: GMU 22 in Catron County near the village of Mogollon
Additional Information:  –

Jonah Z. Madden
35, Silver City, NM
Convictions: 3 counts of unlawful possession of deer parts
Plea: No contest to 3 counts of unlawful possession in Grant County Magistrate on January 12, 2017
Penalties: Between Santa Fe and Chaves County Magistrate Courts, McClure paid $1264 in fines and court costs.
Civil penalties: $900.00 are owed for 3 mule deer and 1 turkey.

Case Summary: On July 19, 2016, Game and Fish Officers were told by Grant County Sheriff Deputies that a vehicle used by Jonah Madden might have a dead deer inside of it. Corporal Adan Jacquez responded to the location of the parked vehicle and did a thorough search of the outside of the vehicle’s body. Blood and deer hair was seen on the body of the vehicle and Deputies stated that during their initial contact on the domestic disturbance call, an acquaintance to Jonah had said he had a deer in the vehicle. Corporal Jacquez obtained a search warrant and a fresh, headless mule deer doe was located inside of the vehicle. Madden had apparently cut the head off of the doe in an attempt to conceal it’s sex even though there is no deer hunting season in July. An arrest warrant was obtained for Jonah, however, he could not be located. During Corporal Jacquez’s investigation he learned of additional deer being kept at a house used by Jonah. An additional search warrant was obtained and parts of two additional deer were found within the residence along with parts of a turkey. On August 4, 2016, Jonah was arrested and booked into Grant County Detention Center on 4 counts of unlawful possession of deer and turkey and 1 count of unlawful hunting. He later agreed to a plea deal and plead no contest to three charges of unlawful possession of deer. As a condition of his agreement, Jonah was ordered by Judge Maurine Laney to spend 15 days in the county jail.
Operation Game Thief tip? No
GMUs’and counties where crimes were committed: GMU 24 and GMU 16B
Additional Information:  –

Louis A. Ortiz
31, Vadito, NM
Convictions:Hunting bighorn sheep without a license, Unlawful killing of bighorn sheep, Unlawful possession of bighorn sheep
Plea: Guilty on all charges; Taos Magistrate Court; Taos, NM; 10/05/2017
Penalties: $5,000
Civil penalties: Fines: $0; Court Costs: $179; 14 days in jail, 1 year of supervised probation, 40 hours of community service.

Case Summary: On December 22, 2016 NMDGF Officers received a tip that a bighorn sheep ram had been shot and killed near the Sipapu Ski Lodge on Highway 518 in Taos County, NM. Officers responded and found tire tracks, boot tracks, bighorn sheep tracks, blood on the snow and a drag mark in the snow where the sheep was loaded into a vehicle. Evidence was collected at the scene and a media release was created and distributed across the state to solicit information regarding the violation. The NMDGF received OGT tips which described Louis A. Ortiz Jr. as the suspect having killed the sheep. The report also described the vehicle used to transport the sheep carcass after the killing and the current location of the vehicle. New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Officers and New Mexico State Police Officers located the vehicle and searched the truck for evidence. The officers found that the truck’s tire treads matched the tire tracks found at the scene of the poaching, and collected bighorn sheep hairs from inside the cab of the truck. NMDGF officers obtained search warrants for 3 different residences and on February 28, 2017 18 Game and Fish officers and 3 State Police officers served the warrants. During the search warrants officers found what appeared to be bighorn sheep hair at the residence of Louis A. Ortiz Sr. and animal parts which appeared to be from a bighorn sheep. The hair and meat were sent to the forensics laboratory to identify the species. Lab results confirmed that the animal parts were from a bighorn sheep ram. Officers got an arrest warrant for Louis A. Ortiz Jr. and he was arrested at his home on June 9, 2017 and charged with hunting bighorn sheep without a license (and out of season), unlawful killing of a bighorn sheep and unlawful possession of a bighorn sheep ram. Louis A. Ortiz Jr. plead guilty to all three charges on October 5, 2017 but received $0 in fines from the Taos County Magistrate Court. As of December 2018, Mr. Ortiz still owes the state $5,000 in civil restitution for the poaching of this bighorn ram.
Operation Game Thief tip? Yes
GMUs’and counties where crimes were committed: GMU 45 Taos County, NM
Additional Information:  –

Daniel Gutierrez
46, Edgewood, NM
Convictions: License Issued to Another, Criminal Trespass, and Unlawful Possession of Big Game
Plea: No Contest to License Issued to Another, Criminal Trespass, and Unlawful Possession of Big Game in Lincoln County Magistrate, Carrizozo, NM on 2/14/17
Penalties: $500 fines plus $229 court fees. Required by the courts to forfeit his Custom Tikka 7mm Long Range rifle and scope to the NM Dept. of Game and Fish.
Civil penalties: $4,000 in civil penalties.

Case Summary: On February 13th, 2016, NM Dept. of Game and Fish Conservation Officer Zach Chavez initiated an investigation into 6 individuals reported to be trespassing on private property where one of them had killed a Barbary sheep. When Officer Chavez arrived on scene, he saw the 6 individuals walking on posted Rio Hondo private property. An individual named Daniel Gutierrez had killed a Barbary sheep on the Rio Hondo private property which was legally posted against criminal trespass. Officer Chavez checked Daniel Gutierrez’s Barbary sheep hunting license and saw that he was using a license belonging to Pat Luna. Daniel had signed Pat Luna’s license and punched a hole in it to tag the sheep. Officer Chavez seized Daniel Gutierrez’s custom Tikka 7 MM Long Range rifle and scope. Officer Chavez also seized the illegally killed Barbary sheep and the license issued to Pat Luna. The other 5 trespassers with Gutierrez were cited and one was arrested on an outstanding bench warrant. NM Dept. of Game and Fish Corporal Tyson Sanders who was assisting with the investigation recognized Daniel from Facebook pictures of him posing with another Barbary sheep he had killed a month earlier in December. Officer Sanders later found a witness who saw Daniel Gutierrez kill the Barbary sheep in December of 2015. On February 16th, 2016, NM Dept. of Game and Fish Conservation Officer John Martsh located a Barbary sheep hide brought into a taxidermy shop in Albuquerque between 11/24/15 and 1/4/16. The shop owner said Daniel called him the night before (Feb 15, 2016) to give him a license number so he could legally possess the Barbary sheep hide. The license number belonged to a third individual who drew the license on the same application as Daniel Gutierrez. When Officer Sanders talked to this third man he said he had not killed a Barbary sheep this year and was planning on going hunting the next weekend. He said he had not brought any Barbary sheep into any taxidermy shops this license year. He also said he had not given Daniel his license number, but Daniel did have access to his account and login information. Daniel later voluntarily surrendered the Barbary sheep head belonging to the Barbary sheep he killed in December. The 5 men with Gutierrez all plead No Contest to one count of Criminal Trespass each and paid court costs of $123. Daniel Gutierrez plead No Contest to using a License Issued to Another, Criminal Trespass, and Unlawful Possession of Big Game. He was fined a total of $500 dollars on these 3 counts and paid $229 in court costs. Daniel Gutierrez was required by the courts to forfeit his Custom Tikka 7mm Long Range rifle to the NM Dept. of Game and Fish. The Barbary sheep killed in December 2015 had a horn length measurement of 28 5/8 and the Barbary sheep killed in February 2016 had a horn length measurement of 27 0/8. These Barbary sheep are considered valuable trophies and are given a value of $4000 each by NM State regulations. The NM Dept. of Game and Fish is subsequently agreed to a voluntary payment of $4,000 in enhanced civil penalties based on the nature of the violations and the Safari Club International horn length measurements.
Operation Game Thief tip? No
GMUs’and counties where crimes were committed: GMUs 38 and 32 in Lincoln County
Additional Information:  –

2016

Patrick A. Stewart
46, Ringling, OK
Convictions: Current License Required (2), Use of Firearms by Minors, Unlawful Hunting, Unlawful Possession, Littering
Plea: No Contest, Lovington Magistrate Court, June 2, 2016
Penalties: $600 fines, $338 court costs, $938 total
Civil penalties: N/A

Case Summary: Patrick Stewart was caught hunting quail in the field with his three sons near Artesia NM. Upon investigation Officers found that two of Patrick Stewart’s juvenile sons did not have current New Mexico hunting licenses and one of the boys had not taken a required hunter safety course. The juvenile boys had killed approximately 30 quail illegally in New Mexico. Based on information received from an anonymous source Officers believed there was much more to the case. Corporal Josh Waldrip contacted the Oklahoma Department of Game and Fish and when an Oklahoma Game Warden inspected the home of Patrick Stewart it was found that he had 190 scaled quail which had all been killed in New Mexico. With two licensed hunters residing at the home, only 60 quail could be possessed. The Oklahoma officer seized 130 scaled quail from Stewart. Patrick Stewart was cited as an accessory for allowing his juvenile sons to hunt quail without a license and for illegal possession of 130 scaled quail. Patrick Stewart was also cited for littering as the party had left shotgun shell boxes and water bottles on NM roadways during their poaching trip.
Operation Game Thief tip? No
GMUs’and counties where crimes were committed: GMU 31, Lea County
Additional Information:  –

Dalton Strain
23, Jemez Springs, NM
Convictions: HUNTING WITHOUT A LICENSE, UNLAWFULLY KILLING OF DEER, UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF DEER
Plea: PLEA: GUILTY ALL CHARGES, CUBA MAGISTRATE COURT, DATE: 06/07/16
Penalties: $1179 and credit for 2 days served in jail.
Civil penalties: NONE

Case Summary: On December 7th 2015, New Mexico Game and Fish Officer Shawn Carrell received an Operation Game Thief report pertaining to a deer unlawfully killed by Dalton Strain. According to the NMDGF records Mr. Strain has never purchased a deer hunting license. On December 11th 2015, several NMDGF Officers executed two search warrants on the residence of Mr. Strain. While conducting the search warrants all remaining parts of the deer were found. Mr. Strain also admitted to hunting, killing and possessing the deer. On June 7th 2016, Sandoval County Judge Bill Mast found Mr. Strain guilty of all charges and ordered him to pay $1179 in fines and gave Mr. Strain credit for 2 days served in jail.
Operation Game Thief tip? Yes
GMUs’and counties where crimes were committed: GMU 6A SANDOVAL COUNTY
Additional Information:  –

Travis L. Torres 
31, Morenci, AZ
Convictions: Exceeding possession limit on trout
Plea: Defendant plead not guilty. On September 12, 2016 a bench trial was held in Grant County Magistrate Court and defendant was found guilty.
Penalties: $150.00 fine with $73 court cost.
Civil penalties: $125 owed for civil damages.

Case Summary: On March 1, 2016, Travis and his brother were contacted by Game and Fish Officer Adan Jacquez during angler patrol at Bill Evans Lake. During the Officer’s contact, he learned Travis and his brother were in possession of 43 trout. A thorough investigation was done and determined that Travis had exceeded his possession limit by 33 trout. His brother was also in possession of the trout but lacked the proper documentation to possess that many fish. 43 trout were seized from their possession. The group Travis was seen talking to was also interviewed and additional citations were issued for exceeding the daily bag limit on trout. Travis was summonsed to Grant County Magistrate for exceeding his possession limit on trout. He was later convicted in court for the violation and ordered to pay $150 in fines and $73 in court fees.
Operation Game Thief tip? No
GMUs’and counties where crimes were committed: Bill Evans Lake
Additional Information:  

Steven A. Ortiz
56, Santa Cruz, NM
Convictions: Hunting without a license, shooting at game from a road
Plea: Defendant pled no contest to both charges in Catron County Magistrate Court on November 22, 2016
Penalties: $100.00 fine with $126.00 court costs
Civil penalties: N/A

Case Summary: On October 30, 2016, Corporal Adan Jacquez, while looking through a spotting scope, saw Steven Ortiz shoot at deer with a muzzle loader while standing on State Highway 159. Ortiz was contacted by Corporal Jacquez and asked to show his deer hunting license but instead presented a bear hunting license. Ortiz didn’t have a deer hunting license and insisted that he was not hunting deer despite having just shot at a deer. Ortiz was arrested for hunting deer without a license and shooting from a road and transported to Catron County Detention Center. Ortiz’s vehicle was released to his wife and the muzzle loader he used was seized. On November 22, 2016, Ortiz plead guilty to both charges and was fined $100 in the Catron County Magistrate Court. Ortiz also had to pay $126 in court costs.
Operation Game Thief tip? No
GMUs’and counties where crimes were committed: 16A
Additional Information:  

2013

Clay R. McClure
30, Jacksboro, TX
Convictions: 2013 Count 1: Fraudulent statements on hunting/ fishing license applications Count 2: Fraudulent statements on hunting/ fishing license applications Count 3: Fraudulent statements on hunting/ fishing license applications Count 4: Fraudulent statements on hunting/ fishing license applications 2014 Count 1: Hunting big game without a valid license Count 2: Illegal take of big game Count 3: Unlawful possession of big game Count 4: Guiding without registration
Plea: Guilty in Santa Fe Magistrate Court on 12/13/13 Guilty in Chaves County Magistrate Court on 5/5/14
Penalties: Between Santa Fe and Chaves County Magistrate Courts, McClure paid $1264 in fines and court costs.
Civil penalties: N/A

Case Summary: Clay McClure was investigated as part of a residency fraud project. McClure was buying resident hunting licenses in both New Mexico and Texas. McClure had illegally applied for or purchased at least 25 New Mexico resident hunting licenses and killed several trophy big game animals in New Mexico. Investigators were able to prove that McClure was not a New Mexico resident and purchased numerous big game hunting licenses illegally. A mule deer buck, bull elk and Barbary sheep were seized from McClure as a result of the investigation. McClure was charged with 25 counts of fraudulently purchasing resident licenses and was convicted on 4 of these in a plea agreement. McClure was caught again several months later and charged with an additional four (4) wildlife crimes, including hunting deer without a valid license, killing a mule deer buck with a resident license procured unlawfully, unlawful possession of deer during season and illegally procuring a resident guide license as a non-resident. McClure was subsequently convicted of all 4 of these charges. In total McClure defrauded the state of approximately $4,003 in license fees by fraudulently applying for and purchasing resident licenses instead of the non-resident licenses he was eligible for.
Operation Game Thief tip? No
GMUs’and counties where crimes were committed: Santa Fe, Colfax, Chaves Counties and GMU’s 57 and 32
Additional Information:  –