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Colorado Fishing News Back to Colorado Fishing News
Loncarich sentenced for 'one the worst examples of poaching' in Colorado
11/25/2014
Credit:
Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Until his probation has been completed, he cannot hunt, pursue or trap any wildlife and must undergo substance abuse and mental health treatment while on probation. In addition, Loncarich will appear before a Colorado Parks and Wildlife Hearings Officer where he may receive up to a lifetime ban from hunting and fishing in Colorado and 43 Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact states.

Loncarich and his assistant, Nicholaus J. Rodgers, 31, of Medford, Oregon were indicted in January by a grand jury on 17-counts of illegally trapping and maiming mountain lions and bobcats. In August, Loncarich pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to violate the Lacey Act. Rodgers pleaded guilty to the same charge in July and will be sentenced in early 2015.

"The sentence should send a strong message that poaching is a serious crime and will be treated as such by law enforcement agencies and the courts," said Northwest Regional Manager Ron Velarde of CPW. "Our officers and investigators worked hard to bring these criminals to justice and we are satisfied with the outcome."

A three-year investigation by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service revealed what Velarde said was one of the worst examples of poaching he has seen in his 40 plus-year career managing Colorado's wildlife.

According to the indictments, between 2007 and 2010, Loncarich, aided by his daughters Caitlin and Andie Loncarich, assistant guide Marvin Ellis and Rodgers, conspired to capture lions and bobcats then cage them, hold them in leg traps or shoot them in the foot or stomach. Coordinating by radio communication, they released the hindered cats when their client arrived. The goal was to make the cats easier for their clients to kill during excursions along the rugged Book Cliff Mountains in western Colorado and eastern Utah.

Several cats killed in Utah were illegally transported to Colorado where Loncarich falsified documents to obtain the required seals for the hides. The outfitter's clients then transported the illegally taken cats back to their home states in further violation of the Lacey Act.

Loncarich charged 18 clients between $3,500 and $7,500 for each lion hunt and between $700 and $1,500 for each bobcat hunt, sharing his earnings with his assistants. Investigators say approximately 30 cats were killed in this manner.

In what wildlife officials say was a particularly egregious example of their activities, the group captured a mountain lion and fit it with a radio-tracking collar. Aided by the device, they captured the same lion a year later, immobilizing it overnight with a leg-hold trap. The next day, they placed the lion in a cage and took it to Loncarich's residence in Mack where it was held for approximately one week while the outfitters waited for their client to arrive from Missouri. They then placed the lion in a box, transporting it via snowmobile to a predetermined area where it was released for the client to kill. Loncarich charged $4,000 for the outing.

"This was not hunting - it was a crime," said CPW Area Wildlife Manager JT Romatzke. "It was cruel to the animal and contrary to what an ethical, legal hunt should be."

Caitlin Loncarich pleaded guilty to her role in the scheme and was sentenced on two misdemeanor Lacey Act violations on Sept. 30. She received one year of probation, a $1,000 fine as well as sixty hours of community service, thirty of which must be spent with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Hunter Education program. Also pleading guilty, her sister Andie Loncarich was sentenced on a misdemeanor Lacey Act violation, receiving one year of probation, a $500 fine and thirty-six hours of community service, half of which must be spent with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Hunter Education program.

Ellis also pleaded guilty and on June 3, 2013, he was sentenced to three years of probation, six months of home detention and ordered to pay a $3,100 fine.

Loncarich’s 2008 Ford truck and Ellis’ 1995 Dodge truck were seized during the investigation, having been used in the commission of Lacey Act violations. Both vehicles were subsequently forfeited to the government. In addition, three of Loncarich's clients have been issued federal, Lacey Act violation notices. Those clients have paid a total of $13,100 in fines.

"Many of the violations committed by Mr. Loncarich appear to be the result of greed, unlawfully killing and maiming wildlife to increase his profits," said Special Agent in Charge Steve Oberholtzer, who oversees Fish and Wildlife Service enforcement operations in the Mountain-Prairie region. "The dedication and expertise of the state and federal investigators and prosecuting attorneys in bringing these persons to justice was outstanding."

The case was prosecuted by the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice's Environment and Natural Resources Division.

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EDITORS NOTE - For a photo of the individuals involved, go to- www.picasaweb.google.com/110457849494228671387/Loncarich?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCMTokfTMo7fy6wE&feat=directlink

Member comments
by: tbblom on 11/28/2014 7:39:00 AM
They should hold that slob overnight in a leg trap, then shoot him in the stomach.
 
by: Tbubb on 11/29/2014 6:19:00 PM
Wow, Honestly, it never crossed my mind that someone would do something like this on public land. I figured that the 'ranches' did it, but... wow. Sad, but I'm glad that they got him.