Brothers accused of poaching deer
June 21, 2012
Two brothers are facing charges they illegally shot a doe pregnant with twin fawns.
Jesus Cossio-Pitones, 37, is charged with possession of a deer killed without a valid tag, a gross misdemeanor.
His brother, Gonzalo Cossio, 33, is charged with killing a deer without a valid tag, a felony.
The incident took place March 24 near where the brothers live in Holbrook Junction.
According to reports, authorities were alerted to the illegal kill by a call to the Nevada Division of Wildlife Operation Game Thief.
As game warden Brian Eller was investigating the tip, he saw the suspects’ red pickup leaving the area.
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The vehicle was stopped, and Eller saw the deer hide and guts wrapped in clear plastic. He said the suspects’ clothes were covered with blood.
The suspects appeared before East Fork Justice Tom Perkins on Wednesday with an interpreter.
Perkins appointed Derrick Lopez to represent Gonzalo Cossio, and Kris Brown to represent Jesus Cossio-Pitones.
He set their next hearing July 18. The suspects are free on bail.
“Do I have to tell you no fishing or hunting without a license?” Perkins asked. “If you get caught, I’ll revoke your bail and you’ll sit in jail.”
He also advised the brothers a conviction could jeopardize their status in the United States.
Nevada Department of Wildlife spokesman Chris Healy said in an interview Tuesday deer poaching can be a crime of opportunity.
“Nevada urban areas butt up into the wildland interface, so often times, people just go out and look at opportunities to poach. It’s a nagging problem because no one wants it to happen. We want strong law enforcement, but we don’t have a lot of wardens,” he said.
Healy encouraged residents to use Operation Game Thief, an anonymous tip line offered by the wildlife division.
“We do have a lot of people interested in wildlife. If they see something happen, they are able to report it,” Healy said.
Healy said the doe would have delivered her fawns between late May and mid-June, which may cause a judge to attach civil penalties for three deer.
“These cases are not taken likely because there is such strong support for wildlife. It’s such a senseless crime, a doe and the potential of two healthy fawns,” he said.
Healy said the suspects possibly did not know the deer was pregnant.
“They may not have known that. But they certainly had to have been born in a closet and stayed there not to know if it was open season,” Healy said.
OPERATION GAME THIEF
Operation Game Thief was established to protect Nevada’s diverse wildlife resources. Report wildlife violations to the Nevada Department of Wildlife, 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week. Callers remain anonymous, and are assigned a unique case number which allows the tipster to obtain status reports on the case. The number also allows for collection of a reward if offered. Call 1-800-992-3030 to report a wildlife violation.