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Louisiana guide charged with hunting threatened alligators

By Terry Frieden, CNN Justice Department Producer
  • Gregory Dupont could be sentenced to 15 years if convicted
  • The American alligator is protected by U.S. and international regulations

(CNN) -- A licensed Louisiana alligator hunter and guide who took clients on sport hunts has been indicted on three counts of violating federal laws protecting the threatened American alligator.

Gregory Dupont, owner of Louisiana Hunters Inc., would face up to 15 years in prison if convicted on all counts for allegedly knowing that gators he had "taken, possessed, transported and sold" violated federal laws and regulations.

The Justice Department charged the 36-year-old sportsman from Plaquemine, Louisiana, in federal court in Baton Rouge.

The federal wildlife statute known as the Lacey Act under which Dupont was charged also calls for fines of up to $250,000 for each count.

Government attorneys say in addition to being listed as a threatened species by the United States, the American alligator is listed in an international agreement on trade involving endangered species. That pact requires each gator to be tagged after it is killed. The tag has to stay with the skin until it is manufactured into a final consumer product.

The grand jury indictment says the alleged violations occurred in 2005 and 2006.