Two adults and two juveniles were arrested Monday in Vernal, charged with nearly 60 poaching violations ranging from the shooting of Rocky Mountain sheep to domestic cattle.
At a press conference Monday afternoon in Vernal, Uintah County Attorney Harry Souvall said in most cases the animals were shot and left to rot.He also said the arrests were the result of two separate investigations.
"From information received on the burglary of a (Utah) Division of Wildlife Resources cabin, we issued search warrants that resulted in the discovery of wildlife violations," he said.
Authorities recovered the carcasses of two Rocky Mountain sheep and a golden eagle.
Violations include the killing and wasting of antelope; deer; elk; wild horses; several raptors including owls, eagles and red tailed hawk; and domestic cattle.
According to Souvall, the sheep were taken from Colorado, and the district attorney's office in Craig, Colo., is reviewing the case for possible prosecution.
Souvall called the case one of the worst wildlife violations his office has investigated.
The case involved the DWR, Uintah County Sheriff and Uinta county attorney, agents form the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Mangement, the FBI and U.S. attorney's office.
In Utah, wildlife violations are a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and/or one year in jail.
Souvall said that along with those charges his office will be seeking the confiscation of guns, vehicles and the lifetime revocation of all hunting privileges.
Charges against the juveniles will be filed in Uintah County Juvenile Court. Charges against the adults will be filed in appropriate courts of counties where violations occurred - Uintah and Daggett in Utah and Moffet County in Colorado. Federal charges will be filed in federal court.
Souvall also noted that the investigation is ongoing and that further charges are pending. He also noted that his office is looking for individuals that may have information involving large-scale poaching in the Vernal area.