By Jerzy Shedlock
An international wildlife investigation has resulted in the conviction of a big-game guide from Haines. The veteran guide admitted to multiple illegal hunts, submitting false documents for those hunts and importing animals killed in Alaska to Canada, according to U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler.
Ronald L. Martin, 72, was sentenced in federal court in Juneau on five felony violations of the Lacey Act, which protects wildlife though civil and criminal penalties covering a wide array of violations. Notably, it prohibits the trade of illegally taken fish and game.
Martin, a Haines resident and a guide for 30 years, pleaded guilty and was sentenced on Monday. He admitted to the illegal hunts and importations. A district court judge handed down a sentence that includes four years of probation and a $40,000 fine.
The hefty fine is the result of “Operation Bruin,” a joint U.S.-Canada wildlife investigation, the release says. Officials documented 10 illegal brown bear hunts, three illegal black bear hunts and four illegal mountain goat hunts together valued at $189,000. Martin reportedly hid horns and meat in a trailer to smuggle them into Canada.
Haines, a town of 1,800 residents, sits close to the Canadian-U.S. border on Alaska’s Panhandle.
Martin avoided prison for his crimes, infractions that are typically detested among Alaska guides and hunters. During his four years of probation, Martin cannot hunt in the United States; he is banned from hunting anywhere in the world for two years. He will not get back any of the game seized during the investigation or the 27-foot trailer he used to export the prize kills, according to a press release from Loeffler’s office. More....