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Second man sentenced in Metolius poaching case


A 20-year old Bend man has become the second suspect sentenced to jail on several crimes after a seven-month investigation by Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife Division troopers in Central Oregon into big-game poaching in the Metolius Wildlife Management Area.

Last July, OSP Fish & Wildlife troopers, with the assistance of U.S. Forest Service law enforcement and Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, completed the investigation and identified suspects.

During the investigation, locks were discovered shot off gates leading to critical mule deer winter range habitat. Many of the wildlife animals were killed at night with the aid of artificial lighting., troopers said.

Troopers examined the remains of 20 deer and two elk. Several of the larger bucks’ carcasses were found with the heads removed, and some of the doe deer were shot and left to waste.

With the assistance of the Jefferson, Deschutes and Jackson counties’ district attorney’s offices, charges were filed and two men pleadd guilty and were sentenced.

One defendant, Tyler S. Mitchell, 20, of Gold Hill, Ore., pleaded guilty last November to several charges and was sentenced to six months in jail, plus a lifetime hunting license suspension, restitution and five years probation.

The second defendant, Cole A. Craig, 20, of Bend was sentenced a week ago in Jefferson County Circuit Court and Monday in Deschutes County Circuit Court.

Cole pleaded guilty to a total of 23 counts, mostly wildlife crimes, including one count of aggravated animal abuse related to an intentional act(s) outside of normal and acceptable hunting activities. Sentencing included:

Jefferson County Circuit Court
* 230 days in jail
* Lifetime hunting license suspension
* Lifetime ban on possessing firearms
* 5 years’ probation
* 400 hours of community service
* Pay restitution totaling $13,600
* Potential 30 month prison sentence for any probation violation

Deschutes County Circuit Court
* 4 months in jail concurrent with Jefferson County sentence
* 20 days in Deschutes County Jail
* 36 months’ probation with potential of 28 month prison sentence for a violation of probation terms
* 300 hours community service consecutive with Jefferson County sentence
* $11,971.37 in fines
* Lifetime revocation of hunting privileges

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