GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (CN) - A Colorado big-game outfitter and his assistant are charged with "illegally capturing and maiming mountain lions and bobcats as part of a scheme to make hunting the cats easier for their clients," federal prosecutors said.
Christopher W. Loncarich, 55, of Mack, Colo., and Nicholaus J. Rodgers, 30, of Medford, Ore., were charged Tuesday with conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, interstate felony transportation and sale of unlawfully taken wildlife, and felony creation of false records for wildlife sold in interstate commerce, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.
The 17-count indictment accuses the men of doing this from 2007 to 2010.
Loncarich, an outfitter and hunting guide, operated mainly in Western Colorado along the Utah Border, in the Bookcliffs Mountains.
Prosecutors said in the statement that Loncarich and Rodgers would "would trap the cats in cages prior to hunts and release the cats when the client was nearby."
"In order to keep the cats in the areas of potential hunts Mr. Loncarich, Mr. Rodgers and other guides would sometimes shoot the cats in the paws or legs or attach leghold traps to them," according to the U.S. attorney. "Many of the clients Mr. Loncarich and Mr. Rodgers guided did not have proper tags or licenses to take mountain lions or bobcats in Utah."
Four assistant guides have pleaded guilty in this conspiracy, prosecutors said.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.