A grand jury has indicted two men and a juvenile male from Rio Rancho on several counts in connection with the illegal killing of five pronghorn antelope Feb. 10 on the King Ranch near Zia Pueblo.
Michael Yarbrough, 21, Travis Miller, 18, and a 17-year-old are accused of cutting a fence, illegally trespassing on the ranch and shooting two bucks and three doe antelope. The heads of the bucks were removed and all the carcasses were left in a pile to rot. There was no legal hunt occurring at the time.
The suspects were indicted on several misdemeanor charges, including illegal possession of antelope, unlawful killing of antelope and criminal trespassing. The adults also face fourth-degree felony charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. They face numerous fines, possible jail time and loss of hunting privileges.
The Department of Game and Fish investigation was aided by a concerned sportsman who found the dead antelope and a subsequent tip from Operation Game Thief, the agency’s toll-free poaching reporting line. Based on that information, officers were able to secure a search warrant for a residence in Rio Rancho, which provided evidence needed for the grand jury indictment.
Court hearings on the case are expected to be scheduled soon.
Anyone with information about a wildlife crime in New Mexico is encouraged to call Operation Game Thief, (800) 432-4263. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for rewards.