A Louisiana business, its CEO and two associates have been indicted on charges of illegally smuggling deer into Mississippi.
The Sun Herald reported that the accused men smuggled whitetail deer from Louisiana to wildlife enclosures they managed in Mississippi for the purposes of breeding and trophy buck hunting, which is illegal under the Federal Lacey Act.
Both federal and state law prohibits smuggling deer into Mississippi from out of state to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis. Both diseases can wreak havoc on deer populations.
More Stories About CWDCheck out these articles about the threat of chronic wasting disease in deer populations throughout the US.
Omni Pinnacle, an emergency response services company that responds to natural disasters throughout the US, is the company at the center of the criminal charges. Its CEO, Brian R. Reine, and his associates Ronald W. Reine and Bruce A. Swilley, Jr. are the three men accused of smuggling deer. They were arraigned on Wednesday, and released on bonds of $25,000 each.
From Jan. 2011 to Dec. 2012, the Reines smuggled whitetail deer from Louisiana, Kentucky, Illinois and Pennsylvania into wildlife enclosures in Mississippi’s Pearl River and Lamar Counties. The deer were used for breeding and trophy hunts for some of Omni Pinnacle’s business gatherings and public relations meetings.
If convicted, Omni Pinnacle faces a $500,000 fine, and the men face up to five years in prison and $250,000 fines for each charge. They are scheduled on March 17 for a hearing in a U.S. District Court in Gulfport, Miss.
Chronic wasting disease isa deadly disease that affects the nervous system of deer. Both the federal and state governments throughout the US have strict laws intended to prevent the spread of the disease among deer populations. Smuggling deer across state lines can spread the disease to untainted deer populations.