Two sentenced in case of illegal bear hunting on Kupreanof Island

Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Two men have been sentenced for their roles in an illegal bear hunting case on Kupreanof Island that dates back to 2000, the U.S. attorney's office in Anchorage announced this week.

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Alan Veys and James Jairell were running an illegal bear hunting guiding service out of Veys' Pybus Bay Lodge on Admiralty Island, according to the U.S. attorney's office. The guiding was illegal because Jairell lied about his residency and hunting experience for his guide license, the federal government said.

Nine illegal black bear hunts were conducted between 2000 and 2001, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Veys pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of negligent conspiracy and was sentenced to one month imprisonment, five months of home confinement, a $14,000 fine, plus $6,000 restitution to the state. The restitution is split between Veys and Jairell.

Jairell pleaded guilty to two felony violations of the Lacey Act involving conspiracy and false labeling. The act dates back to 1900 and allows the Department of the Interior to regulate restoration of game and wild birds that are scarce or extinct. Jairell was sentenced to one month imprisonment, five months of home confinement, a $10,000 fine, as well as half of the restitution.

"The government's investigation established that Veys and Jairell cooperated together in contracting for and providing illegal guiding for black bears in Southeast Alaska," U.S. Attorney Nelson Cohen said in a statement.

Veys' attorney, Brent Cole of Anchorage, said his client did not know Jairell was improperly licensed.

"This whole experience lies in a misplaced trust of a business partner who wanted to engage in bear hunting," Cole said. "It is very unfortunate that my client came to rely on some of the representations that Mr. Jairell was making."

The federal government contends Jairell is from Laramie, Wyo., and Veys from Longview, Wash. Cole said Veys lives at Pybus Bay and also has a home in Washington.

Cole said the federal government targeted Veys because he had privately owned land on Admiralty Island, a national monument famous for its dense grizzly bear population. Veys focused on sport fish guiding, leaving the bear hunting to Jairell. An undercover investigation of Veys' sport fish guiding service found it complied with all Alaska laws, Cole said.

"Allen Veys, if you met him, you would be genuinely impressed with his integrity, his concern about other people, his attempts to show people a good time," Cole said. "He just loves to provide these fishing guiding services, and when these charges were brought against him, it has been devastating to him. He has had a very difficult time."

Jairell's attorney, Kevin Fitzgerald of Anchorage, could not be reached for comment, but Cole said Jairell was conducting legal hunts at the same time because he did hold a legitimate assistant guide's license.

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