Christopher Loncarich, 55, of Mack, Colorado, was sentenced Thursday for running illegal mountain lion and bobcat hunts as a big game hunting outfitter from 2007 to 2010. He will spend 27 months in federal prison.
According to the Denver Post, a three-year investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources found that Loncarich was trapping and caging mountain lions and bobcats. He would then release them to make the chase easier for his clients.
A federal grand jury indicted Loncarich in January. In August, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, a federal law that makes it illegal to knowingly transport or sell in interstate commerce any wildlife that has been taken or is possessed in violation of state laws or regulations, according to the Department of Justice statement.
“Loncarich also admitted that he and his assistants guided several hunters that did not possess a Utah mountain lion or bobcat license on mountain lion or bobcat hunts in Utah,” the statement says. The town of Mack is about five miles from the Colorado-Utah border. Loncarich would take in as much as $7,500 per mountain lion hunt and $1,500 per bobcat hunt.