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La. company, 3 men charged in deer smuggling case

 

The Associated Press

 

GULFPORT -- A Louisiana business and three men have been indicted on federal charges alleging they conspired to import white-tail deer from other states into wildlife enclosures in Pearl River and Lamar counties. 

 

The indictment was made public Wednesday. 

 

The Sun Herald reports those named in the indictment are Omni Pinnacle LLC, and three individuals -- Brian Reine, Ronald Reine and Bruce Swilley. 

 

State and federal laws prohibit importing white-tailed deer into Mississippi to protect the local white-tail deer population and the public from the effects of chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis. 

 

The three men are accused of conspiring to smuggle deer onto wildlife enclosures in Mississippi in 2011 and 2012. They also used the wildlife enclosures, managed by the Reines, to hold deer hunts for business development and public relations for Omni Pinnacle, the indictment says. 

 

The government alleges the men imported deer from Kentucky, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Louisiana to Hunter's Bluff, also known as Oak Investments LLC, a wildlife enclosure under Ronald Reine's control in Pearl River County and Half Moon Ranch, operated in Lamar County by Brian Reine. 

 

Swilley went to the different states to pick up the deer, the indictment said. 

 

Swilley and Brian Reine also are accused of making false statements to the sellers or on Certificates of Veterinary Inspection by claiming the deer were being taken to Louisiana, not Mississippi. 

 

The 13-count indictment includes a forfeiture notice that the government plans to seize all deer brought into Mississippi, a 2009 Ford truck, a breeding trailer and any other equipment used to aid in the alleged conspiracy. 

 

The indictment does not identify the number of deer. 

 

The company and all three men each face a conspiracy charge. 

 

Brian Reine faces 12 counts of related violations. Swilley faces eight additional counts. Ronald Reine faces one additional count.

 

 

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