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Hunting guide gets probation in alligator scandal

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Released by the U.S. Attorney's Office:

A 49-year-old Kennard, Texas, hunting and fishing guide has been sentenced for transporting an alligator that he knew had been shot in violation of state and federal wildlife laws, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.

Steve Barclay pleaded guilty on Aug. 13, 2013, to the felony offense of transporting wildlife taken in violation of federal law and was sentenced to three years' probation and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine today by U.S. District Judge Ron Clark.

According to information presented in court, Barclay admitted that on May 8th, 16th, and 20th of 2008 he witnessed John A. McCall, a client for whom he was providing guide services, shoot and kill a total of three alligators even though Barclay knew that Texas law limits hunters to one alligator per hunter per season.  Barclay admitted that he transported the alligator killed on May 20, 2008 in Leon County to Sportsman's Memory taxidermy shop in Grapeland, Texas.

The Endangered Species Act prohibits the taking of any threatened species of fish or wildlife in violation of any federal or state regulation pertaining to such species. Alligators are listed as a threatened species pursuant to the Endangered Species Act.  The Lacy Act prohibits the transport, receipt, or acquisition of any wildlife taken, possessed, or transported in violation of any law, treaty, or regulation of the United States.

"Our State partner was essential to the success of this case, and that cooperation remains critical to disrupting wildlife taken in violation of Federal Law," said Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southwest Region Nicholas E. Chavez.  "With our combined efforts, we protect our threatened/endangered listed species, and other wildlife from being exploited in our Nation."

This case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, Houston, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Criminal Investigations Division, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jim Noble and Joe Batte.

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