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Wash. Hunter Pleads Guilty To Wolf Poaching Conspiracy

April 5, 2012 | Northwest News Network
Tom Banse

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A Washington state man has changed his plea to guilty in a high-profile federal wolf poaching case. As part of a plea agreement, the 62-year-old man will not go to prison. The lack of jail time greatly disappoints a conservation group.

Last year, federal prosecutors filed a dozen charges against Twisp, Wash. resident Bill White and his son and daughter-in-law. The indictment alleged that in 2008 and 2009, the father and son killed at least five federally-protected wolves from the first confirmed pack to reestablish in Washington state.

The poaching conspiracy began to unravel when police intercepted a FedEx package dripping blood. It contained a fresh wolf pelt. Now Bill White has pleaded guilty to three related charges, while nine others were dropped.

Prosecution and defense agreed on a proposed sentence of three years probation, a $38,500 fine, and no jail time. Mitch Friedman, director of the pro-wolf group Conservation Northwest, says he’s dismayed by the lack of jail time.

“It feels like a punch in the gut,” Friedman says.

Federal charges are still pending against the other members of the White family.

(This was first reported for the Northwest News Network.)

© 2012 Northwest News Network
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