Allan Wright, the former state wildlife officer assigned to Brown County and later as an at-large agent, has seen his arraignment set for 1:30 p.m. Aug. 25 before federal magistrate Judge Karen L. Litkovitz in Cincinnati.
Wright has been charged with two felony and two misdemeanor counts for alleged violations involving the federal Lacey Act.
The indictment is based on the independent investigation conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, says Wyn Hornbuckle, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice.
And a Fish and Wildlife Service official said its investigation is not over.
The indictment charges that Wright knowingly sold and provided an Ohio resident hunting license to a South Carolina resident during the 2006 white-tailed deer season.
Also, the indictment alleges that Wright, using his authority as a wildlife officer, seized white-tailed deer antlers from a hunter who had killed a deer illegally during the 2009 white-tailed deer season.
This indictment alleges that, rather than dispose of the antlers through court proceedings, Wright caused the antlers to be transported to another individual in Michigan.
The indictment charges that Wright then filed an official state form which falsely reported that he had personally destroyed the antlers.
The federal Lacey Act makes it a crime for a person to knowingly make or submit a false record, account or label for wildlife which has been transported in interstate commerce.
Two of the four counts charged in the indictment are felonies punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine per count.
Wright’s remaining two counts are misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine per count.
Wright was placed on unpaid administrative leave and thus is denied his annual $54,225 salary.
However, Hornbuckle also says, the indictment only charges and names Wright.
Thus the indictment does not include South Carolina Department of Natural Resources officer Eric Vaughn, who used Wright’s Ohio address to obtain the resident hunting license and later took home three deer that he allegedly shot.
A spokeswoman for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources has not responded to a request as to its position in regards to Vaughn.
Also, a spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said that because his agency was the investigatory organ in the case it cannot comment on any aspect of that work, whether it relates to either Wright or Vaughn.
Charles Traxler, Deputy Assistant Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Midwest Region External Affairs in Bloomington, Minnesota, said his agency “is, has been and was assisting in the investigation.”
“It’s still an on-going investigation and we cannot comment on anything that might happen or could happen,” Traxler said.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn