Wildlife Violators

Wildlife Violators2018-01-10T14:23:50+00:00

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

2017

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:  –

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:  –