Gila National Forest
Contact: Andrea Martinez, (575) 388-8211
agmartinez@fs.fed.us

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Contact: Dan Williams (505) 476-8004
dan.williams@state.nm.us

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, MARCH 5, 2008:

RESERVE-AREA RESIDENTS FINED MORE THAN $7,000 FOR ILLEGAL OUTFITTING, GUIDING

LAS CRUCES -- Two outfitters and a guide from the Reserve area will pay more than $7,000 in fines for violating special-use regulations while outfitting or guiding hunters in the Gila National Forest.

U.S. Magistrate William P. Lynch sentenced the three brothers on charges resulting from a joint investigation by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and the Gila National Forest. Violations included non-compliance with federal and state special-use permit requirements for commercial operations. Citations were issued in 2007.

"The permits provide guidance and direction on commercial recreation activities, which affords the public a quality recreation experience and protects the forest's natural resources," said Craig Cowie, Recreation Staff Officer on the Gila National Forest.

Defendants and fines included:

Forest Service Patrol Captain Steve Edwards and Department of Game and Fish District Wildlife Supervisor Leon Redman stressed that this case demonstrates a commitment from both agencies to work together to enforce state and federal laws affecting outfitters and guides.

"Individuals holding a Forest Service special-use permit, whether for outfitting, guiding or other permitted activities, need to comply with the permit regulations and the New Mexico outfitter-guide requirements to prevent a similar situation from occurring," Edwards said.

For more information about this case or state and federal regulations affecting guides and outfitters, please contact Edwards at (575) 388-8308 or the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish at (575) 532-2100. If you have information about a wildlife-related crime, please call Operation Game Thief toll-free
(800) 432-4263. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for rewards.

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