Fruita guide guilty in Arctic hunting case

A Fruita outfitter who admitted to illegally guiding hunters in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge recently was sentenced to five years probation and fined $60,000.

Christopher Cassidy, 51, entered guilty pleas to a pair of federal felonies and 11 misdemeanor charges relating to illegal hunts in the wildlife refuge from 2005 to 2009, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Alaska said in a news release.

Cassidy was sentenced June 3 in federal court in Alaska.

Federal prosecutors said Cassidy provided guide services for a client hunting Dall sheep, but Cassidy guided the client outside Cassidy’s federal special-use-permit area and did not salvage edible meat as required under law, the news release said.

Prosecutors also said Cassidy submitted false documentation to hide the fact he used aircraft to assist during the hunts, a violation of federal law.

During 11 hunts, Cassidy took six Dall sheep outside of his permitted guide area, prosecutors said. Authorities also said Cassidy sold a big-game tag to a hunter, but only after the hunter had killed a grizzly bear.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska wildlife troopers and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Cassidy’s business, Cassidy Outfitters, 1925 L Road, continues to provide professional big-game guides and outfitter services in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, among other areas, according to the business’s website.

As a convicted felon, Cassidy is prohibited from possessing firearms, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.


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