Three sentenced for illegal big game hunts

    Wrangell, Alaska (KINY) Dale Lackner, 74, of Haines and two others received five years probation and fines for violation of the federal Lacey Act and other federal laws.

    Casey Richardson, 48, of Montana will repay $14,000 in restitution, Jeffrey Harris, 45, of Washington, $26,000, and Lackey, $6,000.

    They can't hunt or assist in hunting for the next five years.

    Each will perform over 100 hours of community service.

    Richardson and Harris will also serve three months in a halfway house and three months on house arrest.  Lackner was sentenced to six months of house arrest.

    Richard pled guilty to misdemeanor conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act and two felony counts of conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act.  Harris pled guilty to one count of felony conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, one count felony Lacey Act False Record, conspiracy to incapacitate game and making false statements.

    Lackner pled guilty to misdemeanor conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act and Lacey Act false record.

    According to court documents, a federal investigation was launched in December 2015 after an anonymous letter was received by the State of Alaska Wildlife Troopers, Wildlife Investigations Unit. The letter indicated illegal hunting activities were occurring at Ptarmigan Lake Lodge (PLL), which is located within Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. PLL is owned by Urban Rahoi and was permitted to operate as a
    concessionaire within Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve to provide sport hunting guide services.

    Richardson and Harris are not Alaska residents nor registered guides. Lackner is an Alaska resident and was a
    registered guide beginning in 2015.

    During the 2014 and 2015 hunting seasons, out-of-state hunters illegally hunted and killed Dall Sheep at PLL without being accompanied by a registered guide. In 2014, Harris guided an out-of-state hunter at PLL, with the hunter harvesting a Dall Sheep. Harris falsified the hunt record indicating the hunt was conducted by a registered guide.

    In 2014, at PLL, Harris harvested two brown bears without a guide present and without possessing a harvest ticket or locking tag for either bear. One of the brown bears was harvested out of season and the hunt record was falsified. Also in 2014, Richardson conspired with Lackner to harvest a Dall Sheep at PLL.  Lackner falsified the State of Alaska Sheep Harvest Report indicating he harvested the sheep and later transported the sheep to Montana, to Richardson.

    In 2015, Richardson guided three out-of-state hunters, on three separate hunts at PLL. All three hunters harvested Dall Sheep. Harris falsified two of the hunt records indicating the hunts were conducted by registered guides. Lackner falsified the third hunt record indicating that hunt was conducted by a registered guide.

    In 2014 and 2015, multiple illegal bait site locations were determined to be maintained by PLL and not registered with the State of Alaska. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener which is toxic to canines and birds, was used at the unlawful bait sites to poison wolves and bears.

    On July 5, 2016, the National Park Service suspended Urban Rahoi’s concession contract pending the outcome of the criminal investigation and directed Urban Rahoi to refund all hunt clients that may have been booked for 2016 and 2017 hunt seasons. Urban Rahoi was issued a Federal Violation Notice for an unregistered bait site, surrendered his State of Alaska guide/outfitter license, and made a donation to the National Park Foundation. Justin Field, of Team Fate Outdoors, was issued a Federal Violation Notice for unlawful commercial
    filming, without a permit, of a 2015 Dall Sheep hunt.

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