Plea deal: Probation in wildlife trafficking case
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A Whitewood man accused of guiding illegal hunting trips on the Pine Ridge Reservation is expected to plead guilty to federal charges of wildlife trafficking.
A plea agreement between the prosecution and defense will ask a judge to sentence Everett Thomas MacKaben Jr. to three years of probation if he pleads guilty to violating the Lacey Act, The Rapid City Journal reported. The law is violated if a state, local or tribal wildlife law is broken while engaging in interstate commerce, federal prosecutor Eric Kelderman said.
MacKaben is accused of breaking two state laws and a tribal one and then selling illegally hunted deer to other states, according to the indictment.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began investigating MacKaben after receiving a tip from a tribal ranger.
The investigation revealed that he had been paid thousands of dollars to guide deer hunts on the reservation for several years without proper hunting licenses. He also prepared meat and taxidermy in a cabin for his clients.
Under the plea agreement, MacKaben would be banned from hunting and guiding during his probation period. He would be forced to pay a $10,000 fine to the federal government and nearly $27,000 — the amount of money he earned as a guide, plus the value of some deer — in restitution to the Oglala Sioux Tribe. He has also agreed to forfeit antlers and two deer he killed on the reservation.
MacKaben is now out of custody on a personal recognizance bond.
Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com