Three men enter guilty pleas to wildlife charges
Three men entered guilty pleas in relation to wildlife charges at St. Paul Provincial Court on Oct. 15, with Gary Padlesky, Christopher Dumbleton and William Machura all receiving fines as a result.
Padlesky, a St. Paul taxidermist, pled guilty to three charges, including possession of wildlife and exotic animals, for a $3,000 fine; a charge of exporting wildlife for a $15,000 fine; and a charge of false or misleading information, related to a false hunting license associated to a whitetail deer as recorded in a taxidermist record, for a $3,000 fine with an additional $4,000 payment to the province.
All other charges were withdrawn, including possession for purpose of trafficking, unlawful trafficking, using another’s license/whitetail deer license, importing or exporting an animal, possession of an animal and false or misleading information with a false hunting license associated to a whitetail deer.
Dumbleton, a guide from the Two Hills area, received two fines for guilty pleas to a charge of failing to immediately affix a tag, for a $2,000 fine, and a charge of hunting wildlife without a license, for another $2,000 fine. Charges of wasting edible flesh and having a loaded firearm in a vehicle were withdrawn.
Charges against Vilna-based outfitter Machura, for failing to immediately affix a tag, wasting edible flesh, hunting wildlife without a license, and failing to report the kill of a whitetail deer, were withdrawn. Machura did enter a guilty plea to contravening Section 143 (1G) of wildlife regulations for a $1,000 fine. The section deals with regulations for an outfitter guide having to report activities such as the date of the kill, the species and the sex of an animal if a big game animal is killed by a hunter.
All the charges stem from Operation Buckeye, a three-year undercover operation by Sustainable Resource Development that finished in January 2011.
Brendan Cox, a public affairs officer with Alberta Justice and Solicitor General’s Office, said, “Multiple reports were received over three years, alleging that unlawful commercialization of wildlife was occurring in the St. Paul area.” The tips prompted the investigation, and resulted in 10 men, from Goodfish Lake First Nation, Two Hills, Vilna, Edmonton, Saddle Lake First Nation, Andrew, St. Paul and Saskatchewan, being served charges on Jan. 13, 2011. Eight of the men have entered guilty pleas to charges and accepted fines ranging from $230 to more than $20,000. Four of the men charged were acting as guides for Machura when charged, said Cox.
Charges against Diamond Willow Trophy in guiding without a license were dropped, while Lorne Stanley Houle of Goodfish Lake will be in court on Oct. 25 to speak to setting a trial date.
He asked anyone with information about violations to the Fish and Wildlife Act to call the Report a Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800.
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