Federal Grand Jury Indicts 10 Men in Big Game Poaching Case

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A federal grand jury indicted 10 men Wednesday, April 13, for 15 alleged violations of federal wildlife laws and federal conspiracy laws, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursday.

The indictment charged the individuals with recruiting clients to come to New Mexico to engage in illegal hunting and killing of big game on the Valles Caldera National Preserve and other public lands in the state.

The individuals named in the indictment are Mike Archuleta, Jeffrey Clem, Wesley McGlothlin, Colin Clem, Eric Garcia, Shawn Hamrick, Ernest Salazar, Vernon McCall, Mark Martinez, and Rudy Valdez. Seven of the individuals named in the indictment are residents of New Mexico and the other three are residents of Virginia. Archuleta is the owner/operator of Mark V. Outfitters and Sierra Taxidermy in Espanola, N.M. Wesley McGlothlin is the owner/operator of Antler Ridge Taxidermy in Amissville, Va. The other individuals are guides employed by Mark V. Outfitters. The defendants would act as guides and outfitters for the hunter clients.

The individuals are accused of providing guiding, outfitting and other services for money, which resulted in the unlawful taking and selling of wildlife with a market value in excess of $350.

The indictment alleged that commercial outfitters and guides charged out-of-state clients to hunt elk and other game in violation of state and federal wildlife conservation laws. This conduct is prohibited by the Lacey Act, a federal statute that forbids the sale, purchase or transportation of illegally taken game. Penalties for violations of the Lacey Act include five years in prison and a $250,000 fine per person and $500,000 per organization.

Law enforcement representatives from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, New Mexico State Police, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of Homeland Security, Immigration Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Marshals Service, Bureau of Land Management, USDA Forest Service, and the Quantico Marine Corps Base cooperated in the investigation.

For more information about the case, contact Norm Cairns, Dept. of Justice, (505) 346-7274, or Elizabeth Slown, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, (505) 248-6909.