Louisiana Alligator Outfitter Sentenced to Prison For Lacey Act Violations


Published: August - 2012

Louisiana alligator outfitter Gregory K. Dupont, 38, of Louisiana Hunters Inc., was sentenced in US District Court in Baton Rouge, to serve six months in prison, to be followed by four months in a half-way house and two years of supervised release. That's according to a press release from the US Department of Justice. Dupont was also ordered to pay a $3,000 fine. Dupont's was the first-ever felony conviction and prison sentence resulting from the illegal hunting of American alligators, in violation of the Lacey Act, the Endangered Species Act and Louisiana law.

Continuing subscribers will remember that Dupont's Louisiana Hunters was included in correspondent Michael Bodenchuk's roundup on alligator opportunities in our January, 2012 issue on the strength of a positive hunt report we had received from a subscriber. (See article ID 2783.)

Immediately after that story published, we learned that Dupont had been indicted on September 15, 2010 on three counts of taking alligators illegally. Michael Bodenchuk followed up, and in February we published a report in which Dupont stated that the charges were completely false and his attorney was filing a motion to have them dismissed. (See article ID 2791.)

According to the press release, Dupont pleaded guilty on February 10, right after that second story landed in your mailbox. The press release on Dupont's sentencing was issued on June 22, after our July issue went to press.

One key fact emerged in the press release. Dupont's clients included out-of-state residents who were required to hunt with a licensed resident alligator hunter. Dupont took some of the out-of-state clients to hunt alligators on property where he was not authorized to hunt, according to the US Justice Department. This triggered the Lacey Act, and Dupont eventually pleaded guilty to selling American alligators by providing outfitting and guiding services, and charging trophy fees, knowing the alligators to have been taken illegally, on a hunt in September 2006.

A Lacey Act violation does not necessarily stop at the outfitter. Following up on........(continued)

 
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