License Fraud Costs Former Citizen $5,516
Illegal hunting of elk and oryx in 2002 on two fraudulently procured New Mexico resident licenses cost a former Idaho man more than $5,500 in fines and civil damages.
Mark A. Arana, 32, formerly of Twin Falls, finally settled an accumulation of charges that landed him in three different courtrooms in New Mexico. Arana began the journey shortly after completing graduate work in wildlife biology at New Mexico State University in December 2001, said Mike Robertson, investigator for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. Arana returned to Idaho where he purchased an Idaho resident hunting and fishing license. Using his old Las Cruces address, he drew for both an elk license and an oryx depredation license, certifying he was a New Mexico resident.
Hunting in the Gila National Forest, he bagged a 4x4 elk and later killed an oryx on White Sands Missile Range, both with New Mexico resident licenses. Cited into Santa Fe Magistrate Court on two charges of illegal application for resident licenses, he received a conditional discharge and paid $400 on each count plus $82 in court costs. He also paid $1,000 in civil damages to the Department of Game and Fish. As part of his plea agreement, Arana will not be able to purchase a license in New Mexico or 17 other states that are members of the Wildlife Violator's Compact.
Arana also was cited into Catron County Magistrate Court for illegal killing and illegal possession of elk. The court gave him a conditional discharge on the illegal possession of elk and fined him $1,000 and $67 in court costs. The Department of Game and Fish assessed $500 civil damages for the state's loss of the elk. The charge for illegal killing of elk was dismissed by the district attorney's office.
Aranas' next stop was January 28 in Dona Ana County Magistrate Court to face illegal killing and possession charges on the oryx. Here again, the district attorney dismissed the charge for illegal killing. He was found guilty of illegal possession of oryx and fined $1,000 plus court costs of $67. He also paid $1,000 in civil damages for the oryx.
The grand total on all fines, assessments and costs came to $5,516.
"Would have been a whole lot cheaper to buy the right licenses," Robertson mused.
Arana also forfeited the oryx head, cape and elk antlers to the department.
Arana now lives in Utah, according to Idaho Fish and Game enforcement bureau officials. His hunting privileges have been revoked in Idaho, which is a member of the Wildlife Violators Compact.