NM Trophy Deer Poacher Ordered To Donate $1,000 To Operation Game Thief

New Mexico Game and Fish
New Mexico Game and Fish

MORIARTY, NM –-(Ammoland.com)-  A Mountainair man convicted of poaching a trophy mule deer during the 2013 bow season has been ordered to donate $1,000 to Operation Game Thief for the unlawful killing and possession of the deer.

Jose Chavez, 25, pleaded guilty and was convicted June 26 by Magistrate Steve Jones. He admitted to poaching and criminal trespass on private land in Game Management Unit 38 in Torrance County with a public-land license. Chavez was ordered to donate $1,000 to Operation Game Thief, fined $179 in court fees and was sentenced to 364 days of unsupervised probation.

Chavez’s conviction followed a report by a confidential informant who witnessed Chavez kill and take the deer.

“The public is one of our biggest assets when it comes to catching poachers in New Mexico,” said Conservation Officer Shawn Carrell, the Department’s lead investigator on the case. “A lot of these cases might go unsolved if it wasn’t for the helpful information that the public and concerned hunters provide.”

Chavez also faces $6,000 in civil penalties for killing a deer considered a trophy pursuant to Safari Club International standards and state law that allows civil penalties up to $10,000 for poaching deer that are considered “trophies.”

Three-Time Poacher Sentenced To 364 Days In Jail

CUBA – A La Jara man convicted on his third poaching offense was ordered to serve 364 days in jail and donate $1,500 to Operation Game Thief.

Diego Morales, 56, pleaded guilty and was convicted May 30 of unlawful hunting or fishing and unlawful possession of game without a license by Sandoval County Magistrate Fred Kenneth Eichwald. Morales admitted to killing a deer Oct. 10, 2012. Morales also faces $2,000 in civil penalties for the state’s loss of the deer.

Morales’ first offense was in 2010, when he pleaded guilty to unlawful killing and possession of a deer, and was fined $1,394 and sentenced to 364 days of unsupervised probation. His second offense was in 2011, when he was found guilty of unlawful possession of elk meat and unlawful parts picked up in the field. He was fined $1,626 and ordered to serve 728 days of unsupervised probation in that case.

“This sends a strong message to individuals who have multiple wildlife offenses,” said Chris Chadwick, captain of the Northwest Region Field Operations. “Anyone considering stealing New Mexico’s valued wildlife should consider the consequences before taking these animals.”

The Department encourages anyone with information about violations of New Mexico's wildlife laws to call Operation Game Thief toll-free, (800) 432-GAME (4263), or to visit www.wildlife.state.nm.us. Callers can remain anonymous and earn rewards if information leads to charges being filed.

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