Meeker outfitter sentenced in U.S. District Court

Rodebaugh to serve 41 months in prison for six Lacey Act violations

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“This individual showed grievous disregard for wildlife laws, a considerable lack of ethics and he never expressed remorse.”

Lead investigator Bailey Franklin, district wildlife manager in Meeker, about the sentencing of a Meeker man convicted of six Lacey Act felony violations.

A Meeker resident convicted of six felony violations of the Lacey Act was sentenced last week in U.S. District Court in Denver.

Dennis Eugene Rodebaugh, 72, owner of D&S Outfitters in Meeker, was sentenced to serve 41 months in federal prison, pay $37,390 in restitution to the state of Colorado, and forfeit two all-terrain vehicles and a trailer used in the commission of his crimes, according to a Colorado Parks and Wildlife news release.

The sentence was the culmination of a more than eight-year investigation by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials.

“This individual showed grievous disregard for wildlife laws, a considerable lack of ethics and he never expressed remorse,” said lead investigator Bailey Franklin, district wildlife manager in Meeker, in the release. “It took tremendous resources and man-hours to bring him to justice and we are very satisfied with the sentence.”

In September 2012 a federal jury found Rodebaugh guilty of six Lacey Act violations, a federal law that prohibits the transport of illegally taken animals across state lines.

Rodebaugh used salt to bait big game animals to three tree stands in the White River National Forest, where he would take his out-of-town clients. Baiting big game is illegal in Colorado.

In addition to prison and restitution, Rodebaugh was ordered to shut down his outfitting business and pay for the reclamation of approximately 40 sites in the White River National Forest where salt he used caused damage to the environment.

Rodebaugh also has to present himself before a hearing of state wildlife officials, where he could receive a lifetime suspension of his hunting and fishing privileges in Colorado and 37 cooperating states, according to the release.

“This individual risked the health of wildlife and caused damage to their habitat,” said Ron Velarde, northwest regional manager of Parks and Wildlife. “He willfully violated numerous laws and placed his clients in legal jeopardy. Our officers worked very hard to solve this case and we believe justice was served.”

But justice wouldn’t have been served without the public’s help, Velarde said in the release.

To report a possible wildlife violation, contact a local Colorado Parks and Wildlife office or Operation Game Thief at 800-265-6648. Rewards are available for tips that lead to an arrest or citation.

For more information about Operation Game Thief, visit Parks and Wildlife online.

Joe Moylan can be reached at 875-1794 or jmoylan@craigdailypress.com.

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