Pair face prison sentencing, heavy fines, suspension of hunting privileges
WICHITA — On March 16, James Bobby Butler Jr. and Marlin Jackson Butler — both of Martinsville, Texas — pleaded guilty in federal court in Wichita to felony conspiracy and wildlife trafficking charges stemming from the illegal sale of guided deer hunts in southern Kansas. On Tuesday, June 21, James Bobby Butler, Jr., will be sentenced in the federal court at 10 a.m. At 1 p.m., Kansas U.S. attorney Barry Grissom will hold a press conference regarding the case at the Great Plains Nature Center, 29th and Woodlawn in Wichita.
Butler, Jr., 42, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, one substantive Lacey Act count, and one count of obstruction of justice. Marlin Butler, 36, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act and one Lacey Act count. Marlin Butler will be sentenced June 24. Charges for others involved in the case are still pending.
The Lacey Act is a federal law that makes it illegal to knowingly transport or sell in interstate commerce any wildlife taken or possessed in violation of state law or regulation. The maximum penalty for a felony violation of the conspiracy statute and the Lacey Act includes as many as five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for the obstruction charge against James Butler includes as many as 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine. According to the plea agreements, the prosecution agreed to recommend sentences of 41 months in prison for James Butler and 27 months in prison for Marlin Butler, in addition to fines, restitution, and three years of supervised release during which time both Butler brothers would be prohibited from all hunting and guiding activity.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The case is being jointly prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas and Environmental Crimes Section of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.
For more information, phone the U.S. Attorney's Office at 316-269-6481.