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Mississippi deer smugglers sentenced

Two Louisiana men have been sentenced for smuggling deer into Mississippi.

75-year-old Edward L. Donaldson Jr. and 42-year-old John Jared Oertling, both residents of Pearl River, Louisiana, were sentenced on charges of conspiring to smuggle live white-tailed deer into Mississippi.

According to U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, Donaldson and Oertling were charged for smuggling deer from other states onto a 1,031-acre high-fenced enclosure in Forrest County.

As a result of the sentencing, the property, owned by Donaldson’s daughter and Oertling’s wife, will be quarantined by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks for five years. During that time, the white-tailed deer on the land will be subjected to chronic wasting disease testing.

Donaldson and Oertling will pay for the testing, which will cost $120,000, and they’ve also received a one-year hunting ban. Oertling was also sentenced to serve 6 months of house arrest under location monitoring.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent in Charge Luis Santiago stated that this type of crime is potentially dangerous to the state’s wildlife.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, considers the potential spread of disease caused by the illegal commercialization of wildlife resources a high priority, and we will continue to work closely with our State partners to assist them in these important investigations,” he said.

In addition to the hunting ban and the testing fees, Donaldson and Oertling will each serve three years of probation and pay a fine of $10,000,

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