Wamego hunters charged with Lacey Act violations on Fort Riley

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Three men, including a pair from Wamego are facing federal charges for illegally hunting whitetail deer in off-limit areas of Fort Riley where explosives are discharged for tranining exercises.

U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said Wednesday that 55-year-old Gregory Frikken and 32-year-old James Nunley, both of Wamego and 55-year-old Michael J. Smith of Watertown, New York violated the federal Lacey Act while hunting white-tail deer on the grounds of the Army base over the past few years. Each is charged with multiple counts of violating the act, which bans trafficking in illegal wildlife. (Charges are listed below.)

Investigators recovered evidence including deer mounts, antlers, phone data and equipment allegedly used to harvest eight whitetail deer, three of which are considered trophy class. An affidavit alleges the hunters ignored posted “off-limits” areas, entering before daylight and leaving after dark.

If convicted, each face a maximum $10,000 fine and a mandatory $25 assessment fee for each Lacey Act violation, that could result in a loss of hunting privileges.

Gregory J. Frikken, 55, Wamego, Kan., one count of criminal trespass, two counts of conspiracy to commit criminal trespass, four counts of Lacey Act violations, one count of conspiracy to commit Lacey Act violations.

James C. Nunley, 32, Wamego, Kan., five counts of Lacey Act violations, one count of criminal trespass and one count of conspiracy to commit criminal trespass.

Michael J. Smith, 55, Watertown, N.Y., one count of criminal trespass, one count of conspiracy to commit criminal trespass, three counts of Lacey Act violations, one count of conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act.

Investigating agencies included the Directorate of Emergency Services, Fort Riley Conservation Law Enforcement Officers, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and the New York State Environmental Conservation Office. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Robin A. Graham is prosecuting.

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Brandon Peoples

KMAN News Director and host of In Focus. Contact Brandon at Brandon@1350KMAN.com

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