Louisiana –-(Ammoland.com)- The U.S. District Court Judge in Baton Rouge sentenced a Plaquemine man to six months in a Federal Jail on June 21 for alligator violations.
Judge Brian Jackson also ordered Gregory Dupont, 38, to pay a $3,000 fine, serve four months in a halfway house and two years of probation. Dupont’s sentencing was the first ever felony conviction and prison sentence resulting from the illegal hunting of American alligators.
On Feb. 10, 2012 Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents wrapped up a five and a half year investigation into the illegal taking of alligators when Dupont pled guilty to one felony Lacey Act violation. Dupont was the sole owner and operator of an alligator guide and outfitting business known as Louisiana Hunters Inc. The Lacey Act is the federal wildlife statute that makes it illegal to transport, sell, receive, acquire or purchase illegally taken wildlife.
The investigation uncovered that between 2006 and 2011 Dupont and six other individuals took at least 26 alligators illegally while guiding non-resident alligator sport hunters. The majority of the illegal alligators taken were between 10 to 12.5 feet in length with an estimated value of $143,000 to the guide.
In September of 2006, Dupont guided his clients to an area that was unapproved, which is an area for that he did not have the required alligator tags. During this illegal hunt, one of his clients killed an American alligator. Dupont tagged the alligator illegally with a tag for another property.
Past convictions and penalties associated with this case are as follows:
Travis Dardenne and Jeffrey Brown, both of Plaquemine, were sentenced on Feb. 4, 2010 and ordered to pay a $2,000 fine and serve one year of probation for violations of the Lacey Act. Dardenne and Brown had connections to Dupont’s guiding services. As part of their punishment, they are prohibited from hunting or guiding anywhere in the world during their probation.
On Sept. 8, 2006, Dardenne, a licensed alligator hunter, and Brown, a licensed alligator helper, guided an out-of-state alligator sport hunter to an area for which Dardenne and Brown did not have appropriate state authorization to hunt. The sport hunter killed a trophy-sized alligator in the unapproved area.
On Sept. 13, 2011 Clint Martinez and Michael Martinez, both of Plaquemine, were sentenced to serve a three year term of probation during which they will be prohibited from hunting as follows: for one year of the probation the defendants will be prohibited from engaging worldwide in all hunting activities, including guiding, with any kind of weapon; for the remaining two years of probation the defendants will be prohibited from engaging worldwide in all commercial alligator hunting activities, including guiding. In addition, each defendant will pay a $5,000 fine and serve 200 hours of community service.
The Martinez brothers guided out-of-state alligator sport hunters who were clients of Dupont’s, to areas for which they did not have appropriate state authorization to hunt. In October 2005, the clients killed a 10 foot, two-inch trophy-sized alligator. In September 2006, clients killed a 10 foot and a 12 foot, six-inch trophy-sized alligators.
On Aug. 10, 2011 Larry Dees Sr., and Larry Dees Jr., both of Maringuoin, were sentenced to three years of probation during which they will be prohibited from hunting as follows: for one year of the probation the defendants will be prohibited from engaging worldwide in all hunting activities, including guiding, with any kind of weapon; for the remaining two years of probation the defendants will be prohibited from engaging worldwide in all commercial alligator hunting activities, including guiding. Dees Sr. was also fined $3,000.
The father and son guided out-of-state alligator hunters who were Dupont’s clients to unapproved areas on Sept. 10 and 24-25 of 2009. On Sept. 10, 2009, the clients killed a 9 foot 4 inch trophy-sized alligator.
The Dupont case was prosecuted by Shennie Patel and Susan L. Park of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice.
Participating in the case were LDWF case agents Sgt. Dusty Rhodes, Lt. Darryl Moore, Sgt. Ronald Hebert and Senior Agent Jerry Stassi. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Philip Siragusa and LDWF’s Noel Kinler and Lance Campbell in the LDWF Alligator program also assisted in the case.