Four Louisiana prison guards are accused of illegally killing 26 deer in Mississippi, The Clarion-Ledger reported.
The suspects, two of whom live in Mississippi, and two of whom hail from Louisiana, face fines that could top $62,000, the newspaper reported.
The suspects have been identified as Brian K. Mulvihill, 34, of Natchez; George M. Thorpe, 27, of Natchez; Christie Roberson, 40, of Ferriday, La.; and Timothy J. Neal, 51, of Vidalia, La.
Major Lane Ball of the MDWFP enforcement bureau said the investigation began with a Louisiana sheriff’s investigation of suspected contraband being brought into a prison, the newspaper said.
“These guys work (at the prison),” Ball told the newspaper. “They were being investigated by their employers for bringing contraband into the prison.”
According to the report, the four prison employees surrendered their cell phones and deputies discovered evidence suggesting illegal hunting activities, including shooting deer with the aid of light, had taken place.
The sheriff’s office contacted Mississippi wildlife officials, who began their own investigation with assistance of Louisiana officers, according to The Clarion-Ledger.
Ball said “one thing led to another, and we sent officers over there and they spilled the beans,” the newspaper reported
Ball said the four admitted to killing 26 deer in Jefferson and Adams counties with the aid of a light and gave written statements detailing their actions, the newspaper said.
The foursome face 133 charges including 26 counts of headlighting deer, 26 counts of hunting after hours, 26 counts of hunting from a public road, 26 counts of unlawful possession of illegally taken game, 26 counts of unlawful shot size after legal hunting hours and hunting without a license by non-residents, The Clarion-Ledger reported.
Ball said one admitted to killing 11 deer just across the state line in Mississippi, the news outlet said.
He said it appeared the majority of deer were killed in Jefferson County, and many along the Natchez Trace and nearby roads, the newspaper said.
Ball told The Clarion-Ledger the number of charges could increase and federal charges could be considered because some of the deer were taken back to Louisiana.
The federal Lacey Act prohibits transporting illegally harvested game across state lines and carries up to a $100,000 fine.