New Mexico hunting guides and taxidermists face fines and
two years probation after reaching plea agreements in a case
charging them with federal violations during a 1998 hunt with
a Fairbanks guide.
Y. Archuleta, 41, and Jeff B. Clem, 30, each pleaded guilty
to misdemeanor charges in a case that saw federal and state
authorities spend three years reconstructing an eight-person
hunt in the Chandalar River area in northern Alaska.
and Clem were part of a crew led by Fairbanks guide David
Bridges on a hunt for moose and brown bear in September 1998,
said Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Cooper. Archuleta and Clem
were charged with transporting to New Mexico two moose trophies
that other clients shot in excess of their bag limit and participating
in efforts to cover up the violation.
trophies eventually were treated at Archuleta's taxidermy
shop, where Clem also works, Cooper said.
A grand jury indicted the men on one count of conspiracy and
one count of sale and transportation of unlawfully taken wildlife.
The charges carry a maximum of one year in jail and a $100,000
in plea agreements, the prosecution reduced the charges to
a lesser form and agreed to less severe penalties. Archuleta
will receive a $5,000 fine and two years probation, while
Clem will receive a $3,000 fine and two years probation.
men entered the agreements while participating in a hearing
via teleconference from New Mexico. Although the plea agreements
already outline the sentence the men will receive, they are
scheduled to be formally sentenced on April 2.
filing of the charges against them in federal court followed
a case brought against Bridges in state court. Bridges, the
guide, was charged with two counts of failure to report a
violation, two counts of falsifying business records and three
counts of committing a violation.
charges relate both to the hunt that Archuleta and Clem participated
in and an unrelated hunt earlier in the summer in which Bridges
was accused of not reporting one of his client's shooting
a sheep that was under the legal size.
records indicate that Bridges pleaded guilty to all the charges
soon after the case was filed. He received a $25,000 fine,
the revocation of his guiding license for a year, one year
of probation and 80 hours of community service.
charging document in Bridges' case states that authorities
began investigating the men when an assistant guide who was
on the hunt mentioned the sheep shooting incident to an Alaska
State Trooper during a casual conversation in 2000.
Fish and Wildlife Special Agent Corky Roberts said the number
of defendants in the case led to the delay in filing charges.
Dan Rice can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 459-7503.