- Associated Press - Monday, July 7, 2014

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - Three Pearl River, Louisiana, family members and their family-managed business have pleaded guilty in a conspiracy to smuggle 52 white-tailed deer into Mississippi.

The Sun Herald reports (https://bit.ly/1thdqsr) Ronald Reine, 67, his son, Brian Reine, 44, and grandson, Bruce Swilley, 27, and Omni Pinnacle LLC accepted plea agreements Monday in U.S. District Court in Gulfport.

Reine, chief executive of Omni, Brian Reine and Swilley will remain free on bond pending sentencing hearings Oct. 1 before Judge Sul Ozerden.

Brian Reine faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine; while Ronald Reine and Swilley each face up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine. Omni, a disaster debris management business, faces a year’s probation and up to $500,000 in fines.

Omni, a disaster debris management business, provided a 2009 Ford F350 truck to transport deer from other states to wildlife enclosures operated by the Reines from October 2011 through November 2012, a court document said.

The deer, worth about $350 each or a minimum of $110,000, were taken to Hunter’s Ridge in Pearl River County and Half Moon Ranch in Lamar County. The deer were brought from Kentucky, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Louisiana for breeding and hunting.

Court papers show Omni has admitted it allowed the use of its heavy equipment to build facilities at both wildlife enclosures, paid for some of the deer and used the facilities for business development.

A multi-count indictment filed in February accused the men and the business of violating the Lacey Act, a federal conservation law.

State and federal laws prohibit bringing white-tailed deer into Mississippi to protect the state’s deer population from chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis.


Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com

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