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April 11, 1997
Contact: Madonna Luers, (509) 456-4073

Grand jury indicts three Colville men in endangered caribou poaching

SPOKANE -- A federal grand jury in Spokane yesterday indicted three Colville men in the poaching of an endangered caribou last December.

The indictment means the three men will be summoned to Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno's court within a couple of weeks to be charged with violations of federal law.

Narron Drury, 28, of Colville, will be charged with killing a caribou, a violation of the Endangered Species Act. Drury will also be charged with illegal transport of an illegally-killed animal, a violation of the Lacey Act.

James Sgueglia, 31, and Larry Krotzer, 42, both of Colville, will each be charged with the same violation of the Lacey Act.

All charges are class A misdemeanors. The Endangered Species Act violation carries a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail and/or up to $20,000 in fines. The Lacey Act violation carries a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail and/or up to $10,000 in fines.

Mountain caribou are the most endangered large mammal in the United States. The last remaining population of about 70 animals is in the Selkirk Mountains of northeastern Washington, northern Idaho, and southern British Columbia.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is currently leading an interagency effort to boost the population with capture of caribou in northern British Columbia for transplant to the Selkirks. Last month 13 caribou were released in Pend Oreille County. Last year 19 were transplanted.

The poached adult cow caribou was one of last year's 19, all of which wore radio telemetry collars for regular monitoring. In early December WDFW personnel found the caribou's radio collar about one mile northwest of Northport in Stevens County. Since the caribou had substantial antlers (both sexes are antlered) and the collar could not have slipped over its head, the found collar indicated that the animal was killed and the collar removed.

In mid-February WDFW publicized rewards of up to $1,000 available to anyone who could provide information leading to the conviction of the caribou poacher. Within a week, WDFW and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service enforcement officers received information that led to an investigation of the three men indicted yesterday.