Three people have been sentenced for using bait stations to conduct illegal big game hunts near a lodge within the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.

The sentenced men, all Ptarmigan Lake Lodge employees, included Casey Richardson, 48, of Huson, Montana; Jeffrey Harris, 45, of Bainbridge Island, Washington and Dale Lackner, 74, of Haines, according to according to U.S. Attorney for Alaska Bryan Schroder's office. The lodge's concession contract was also suspended as a result of the sentence.

During the investigation, officials found that the lodge operated several bait sites using the artificial sweetener xylitol to poison wolves and bears. The owner of the lodge, Urban Rahoi, surrendered his State of Alaska guide/outfitter license.

Richardson and Harris were not registered guides, but both conducted Dall sheep hunts, according to Schroder's office. Harris was also charged with taking a brown bear out of season. Lackner, who was a registered guide, falsified hunt records according to the statement.

The three men plead guilty to several violations of the Lacey Act and other federal laws.

Richardson's and Harris' sentences include three months in a halfway house and another three months of home confinement. Lackner's sentence includes six months of home confinement. All three were ordered to pay restitution and perform community service as well as sponsor a public service announcement about following hunting laws.

All three men will also be on probation for five years, during which they will not be allowed to hunt.

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