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Ashland lab helps solve record-setting poaching case

A Southern Oregon forensics lab helped lay the groundwork for the prosecution of a California man in what the California Department of Fish and Wildlife described as the state’s biggest known raptor-poaching case.

Richard Earl Parker, 68, of the northeastern California town of Standish, admitted to multiple misdemeanor fish and game violations Thursday in Lassen County Superior Court, records show.

Parker was sentenced Thursday to 90 days in jail, 5 years of probation, and ordered to pay a fine of $75,000, according to a news release from CDFW.

Officers seized more than 150 animal carcasses and spent rifle casings in March 2018 from Parker’s 80-acre property in rural Lassen County.

The unlawfully killed wildlife found in various states of decay included red-tailed hawks, four migratory ferruginous hawks uncommon to the area, two dead bobcats and a taxidermied mountain lion.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory in Ashland did the bulk of the investigative legwork in the case, according to CDFW, determining cause of death for 159 wildlife samples and generating a 400-page report to a California Deputy Attorney General who prosecuted the case.

A CDFW wildlife veterinarian and avian specialist investigated another nine bird carcasses, according to the release.

Parker was charged in January with 88 counts of violating wildlife laws in Lassen County, court records show.

All but five counts were dismissed Thursday with what’s known as a “Harvey waiver,” a legal term allowing a judge to consider dismissed charges at sentencing.

California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife investigators investigating the state's largest known raptor poaching case in March 2018 in northeastern California. CDFW photo
Wildlife investigators found multiple dead protected bird species at the bottom of a roost on Richard Parker's property as part of the largest raptor poaching case in California history. CDFW photo