A fifth letter written by another Ohio Division of Wildlife officer has come to light that likewise supports defrocked former state wildlife officer Allan Wright.
And just as did the other four letters documented in a blog posting made here yesterday, this latest known missive also encourages Federal Court Judge Michael R. Barrett to show compassion when sentencing Wright on July 17 for violating a federal wildlife law.
Revealed as the latest known letter writer is Eric Lamb, state wildlife officer assigned to Brown County, replacing Wright.
In Monday’s blog it was revealed that Wildlife Division officers James Carnes, Chris Gilkey, Rick Rogers and Michael Ohlrich also sent letters on Wright’s behalf with Ohlrich using agency letterhead/stationary to make his pitch to the jurist.
All of the five known letters were sent over a seven-day period beginning Feb. 16 and each strongly requests leniency for Wright.
In February Wright agreed to plead guilty in federal court for violating the Lacey Act, specifically by trafficking in and making false records regarding an illegally harvested white-tailed deer. He originally faced felony charges but those were not included in the Feb. 24 decision.
Wright admitted that he used his authority as a wildlife officer to seize deer antlers from a hunter who had illegally killed the buck in 2009, said the U.S. Department of Justice in February.
Rather than disposing of the antlers through court proceedings, as required by Ohio law, Wright “knowingly supplied them to another individual who transported them from Ohio to Michigan,” the Justice Department said in a press release.
While Lamb did not close his letter with a signature mention of his employment title he does include in the document’s body that he is a state wildlife officer.
“Your Honor I am a State Wildlife Officer that works for the Ohio Division of Wildlife and am writing this letter to you in regards to the relationship that I have with Allan Wright.,” Lamb’s letter begins.
And as is noted in the other letters to Judge Barrett, Lamb stresses that Wright is an up-standing family man who goes “...out of his way to accommodate other Officers allowing them to stay at his home and feeding them at his table with his family.”
Lamb then asks Judge Barrett to “...allow Allan and his family to try and to begin rebuilding their lives and let their losses they have endured serve as punishment enough.”
On Monday the parent Ohio Department of Natural Resources indicated that it has launched an examination into the officers sending letters to the federal courts, indicating whether any agency rules or policies may have been breached.
“We are reviewing the documents in conjunction with the department’s policy and will make a determination,” a Natural Resources Department spokeswoman replied to an inquiry and posted here Monday.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn