Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Hunting the Hunters

"When I look at the evidence in this investigation, I find it disturbing that these majestic animals were taken for the mere sake of greed and ego."
Fresh news reports out of Wisconsin this morning suggest that "the hunting guide accused of taking out-of-state hunters on illegal deer and turkey hunts" agreed six months ago to become a prosecution witness against his customers, including 18 Pensacola residents charged with illegal deer and turkey hunting.

Apparently, the plea bagaining session went like nothing on "Law and Order." It was more like "Breakfast at Tiffany's."

According to the defense attorney for Wisconsin hunting guide Adam Lawinger, after more than two years of undercover investigations, "game wardens arrived in Blue River early May 2 ... . Lawinger sat them down, cooked them breakfast, and proceeded to give them a 13-hour statement in which he confessed to everything ... ."

"He spilled his guts," the defense lawyer said. "He admitted to everything."

Law enforcement officers talked about the case with Wisconsin reporters late last week while displaying "a wall of confiscated hunting weapons, mounted turkeys and trophy bucks."
Randy Stark, state Department of Natural Resources chief warden, said this was likely the largest case in Wisconsin involving a hunting guide and clients. He called it "a theft of a resource owned by all Wisconsin citizens" and decried the emphasis on "trophy hunting."
In addition to Escambia County administrator George Tuart's unexplained involvement in the case, as noted in today's PNJ article, there is another outstanding mystery.

According to a Madison, Wisconsin, television station"Throughout the court documents there is mention of an unindicted co–conspirator, someone who co–owned the lands and helped run the guide service with Lawinger. Officials would not comment on who this person was or why they haven't been charged."

Charged with violating hunting laws in Wisconsin are 46 people from 11 different states, but nearly 40 percent of all defendants come from Pensacola.

No comments: