Deer meat business has a high overhead
Wardens with the California Department of Fish and Game arrested Thongseuth Khounchanh, 58; Ti Sila, 51; and Bounleuna Sysenglath, 59; all from Stockton, as they returned from an all-night poaching trip in El Dorado County.
Three Stockton men were selling deer meat as fast as they could kill and butcher the animals, says the California Department of Fish and Game.
But the enterprise had a flaw: Selling any deer meat in California, whether taken legally under a recreational hunting license or killed illegally, is a crime.
Now the poaching entrepreneurs are facing prison and jail terms, heavy fines, a forfeited vehicle and destroyed firearms for conspiring to kill and sell deer for profit, the DFG says.
In June 2011, after a three week investigation, wardens with the California Department of Fish and Game arrested Thongseuth Khounchanh, 58; Ti Sila, 51; and Bounleuna Sysenglath, 59; all from Stockton, as they returned from an all-night poaching trip in El Dorado County.
The investigation showed the three were making multiple poaching trips per week, including killing everything from bucks to pregnant does. The poachers sold the deer meat as fast as they could get it to an established network of buyers, the DFG says.
The department says Mr. Khounchanh was convicted of felony conspiracy to possess deer for sale, in addition to being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to 16 months in state prison and was ordered to forfeit his vehicle.
Messrs Sila and Sysenglath were each convicted of three misdemeanor deer poaching-related offenses and were sentenced to 120 days in county jail, fines and penalties totaling $13,500 and three years formal supervised probation, according to DFG.
All weapons used in the poaching crimes were forfeited and will be destroyed.
The three also have to pay restitution in the amount of $100,270.04.