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$14,000 Fine for Illegal Alligator Hunting

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (CN) - The owner of an alligator hunting service was fined $14,000 after pleading guilty to a federal charge of transporting an illegally killed alligator.

Clifton Everts, 62, of Caldwell, was sentenced to 1 year of probation and must pay $4,000 to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Operation Game Thief Program, and $10,000 to the Lacey Act Reward Fund.

Everts runs Twisted Fork Outfitters, and has appeared on a cable TV hunting show guiding a professional hunter and killing alligator.

Prosecutors say Everts came under investigation after an article in Texas Fish and Game magazine described him hunting alligators at night, which is illegal in Texas.

"While conducting surveillance on a lake located on a ranch in Wharton County, Texas, agents observed Everts as well as Twisted Forks employee and client bow hunting alligators at night from a boat," prosecutors said in a statement. "The client was observed killing an alligator and where loading the alligator onto Everts' truck when agents approached. After questioning Everts, the agents learned that on May 27, 2010, Everts had killed another alligator and forged the alligator tag by listing his employee as the person who killed it. Everts then drove that alligator to a taxidermist in Sealy, Texas."

Everts was charged with transporting an American alligator that had been illegally killed in violation of the Lacey Act.

The Lacey Act prohibits people from importing, exporting, transporting, selling, receiving, acquiring or purchasing any fish or wildlife or plant taken, possessed, transported or sold in violation of any law, treaty or regulation of the United States or in violation of any tribal law.

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