Monday, June 11, 2007

Utah man fined in Nevada for illegal bobcat trapping

RENO, Nev. (AP) - A Utah man who pleaded guilty to illegally trapping bobcats in Nevada has been fined $7,500 and ordered to forfeit more than 100 pelts valued at $38,000.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife says the arrest and federal prosecution of 34-year-old Cole Steele was a joint investigation by Nevada, Utah and federal wildlife authorities.

Authorities say Steele illegally obtained a 2004 Nevada trapping license by claiming to be a Nevada resident. While he bought a house here, officials say his legal residence is in Santaquin, Utah.

Under state law, only Nevada residents can obtain trapping licenses for bobcats.

In all, authorities say Steele illegally trapped 124 bobcats. Pelts from 106 were recovered.

Authorities say Steele was selling the pelts to his father, who operates a legitimate fur trading business. The pelts were being prepared for shipment to European fur markets when they were seized.

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