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New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Media contact: Ross Morgan, (505) 222-4707
Public contact: (505) 476-8000
ross.morgan@state.nm.us 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, JULY 1, 2013:

THREE-TIME POACHER SENTENCED TO 364 DAYS IN JAIL

CUBA – A La Jara man convicted on his third poaching offense was ordered to serve 364 days in jail and donate $1,500 to Operation Game Thief.

Diego Morales, 56, pleaded guilty and was convicted May 30 of unlawful hunting or fishing and unlawful possession of game without a license by Sandoval County Magistrate Fred Kenneth Eichwald. Morales admitted to killing a deer Oct. 10, 2012. Morales also faces $2,000 in civil penalties for the state’s loss of the deer. 

Morales’ first offense was in 2010, when he pleaded guilty to unlawful killing and possession of a deer, and was fined $1,394 and sentenced to 364 days of unsupervised probation. His second offense was in 2011, when he was found guilty of unlawful possession of elk meat and unlawful parts picked up in the field. He was fined $1,626 and ordered to serve 728 days of unsupervised probation in that case.  

“This sends a strong message to individuals who have multiple wildlife offenses,” said Chris Chadwick, captain of the Northwest Region Field Operations. “Anyone considering stealing New Mexico’s valued wildlife should consider the consequences before taking these animals.”  

The Department encourages anyone with information about violations of New Mexico's wildlife laws to call Operation Game Thief toll-free, (800) 432-GAME (4263), or to visit www.wildlife.state.nm.us. Callers can remain anonymous and earn rewards if information leads to charges being filed.

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