Montana Fur Buyer Sentenced to 3 Months in Jail

John Hughes, 49, of Roundup, Mont., convicted of five counts of illegally buying and transporting raw fur across state lines, was sentenced Oct. 15 to three months in a halfway house. He also received a $10,000 fine.

Hughes, a fur buyer who has travels to many western states to buy coyotes, bobcats and other wild fur, was found guilty in July of violating the Lacey Act. The act regulates the trade, transportation and possession of wildlife.

The Montana man bought fur in South Dakota in January 2004 without having an out-of-state fur buyer’s license in his possession, then transported the pelts to his home state.

Hughes held a South Dakota fur buyer’s license prior to 2004, and had applied for the 2004 license. However, his application was denied. Hughes maintained that he was not notified of the rejection before he bought fur that led to the charges.

South Dakota did not have record of when Hughes’ application was rejected, according to attorney John Murphy. Hughes’ application was returned with an adhesive-backed note attached, he said.

In addition to the house arrest and fine, Hughes was ordered to pay $500 in court costs and $4,039 in restitution to South Dakota for the value of the furs he purchased.

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