Feds target 60 hunters in Kansas hunting probe
WICHITA, Kan. (AP)—The Justice Department is targeting more than 60 hunters across the nation for allegedly poaching deer during guided hunts at Camp Lone Star in Kansas, a court document shows.
The scope of the grand jury investigation, believed to be one of the largest criminal prosecutions involving the illegal taking of deer, was made public in a court filing Monday in the federal government’s case against the camp’s owner and his brother, both of Martinsville, Texas.
James Bobby Butler Jr., 41, the owner and operator of the hunting club in Coldwater, Kan., and his brother Marlin Jackson Butler, 36, who worked as a guide, are charged with conspiracy and the unlawful sale and transport of wildlife. James Butler is also charged with obstruction of justice in the 23-count indictment filed May 25 in U.S. District Court in Wichita.
If convicted and given maximum sentences, they could face lengthy prison terms. Jim Cross, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas, said in an e-mail that it was the biggest case of its kind prosecuted in the state.
However, James Butler’s attorney Kurt Kerns calls the legal action “ridiculous.”
“The state of Kansas has paid out over $100,000 to independent contractors to thin the Kansas deer herd for management purposes,” Kerns said in an e-mail. “And now our tax money is being spent making federal cases out of alleged rednecks who supposedly harvest an extra deer...”
The obstruction of justice charge carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, while the other felony charges carry a maximum five-year prison term and $250,000 fine. The government is also seeking a $148,250 forfeiture against both men.
Justice Department must have nothing else to worry about. Unreal.