Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

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Chassel man sentenced for selling parts of bear

Houghton. Mich. — A Chassell man was sentenced to three months of probation and assessed $750 in “probation oversight fees” after he was busted selling bear meat and organs in a year-long undercover DNR investigation.

Houghton County District Court Judge Mark A. Wisti issued Danny Loyd, 56, a one-year delayed sentence after he pleaded guilty to charges of advertising an illegal charter fishing business, operating a taxidermy business without a license, and the illegal sale of wildlife, according to Det. Lt. Jason Haines, head of the DNR’s Special Investigative Unit. 

Loyd initially faced six criminal charges: one count of operating a charter fishing business without the proper inspections, one count of advertising to do the same, one count of using a computer to commit a crime, one charge of illegal sale of wildlife for selling bear gall bladders, one charge of operating a taxidermy business without a license, and one count of illegal sale of wildlife for selling bear and deer meat. 

Three of the charges – running an illegal charter fishing business, illegally selling bear gall bladders, and using a computer to commit a crime – were dismissed last month as part of a plea bargain.

“He was required to pay a $250 fee for each of the (three convictions) for a probation oversight fee,” Haines said. 

The one-year delayed sentence “means if he’s not convicted of any other violations between now and Jan. 12, 2016, it will be as if he was never convicted of these charges,” Haines said. 

“I can say we were disappointed in the overall outcome,” he said. 

Loyd allegedly sold bear meat to undercover agents with the DNR’s Special Investigations Unit, and allegedly took officers on a paid charter fishing trip in a vessel without the proper safety inspections.

Area conservation officers also received complaints about Loyd’s unlicensed taxidermy business. Loyd was arrested and arraigned Nov. 5 after officers searched his home and business and allegedly confiscated illegal items. 

A message left for Houghton County prosecutor Michael Makinen was not returned. 

Haines said the case involved an open and active investigation for over a year, including undercover animal meat and organ purchases and illegal fishing charters. 

“We did invest a lot of resources into it,” Haines said, adding that DNR officials hope to recover some money spent on the investigation at Loyd’s restitution hearing, scheduled for Feb. 9. 

Officials will seek restitution of $1,500 for the illegal bear meat and $1,000 for the illegal deer meat sold to officers, as well as other costs. 

“Any of the money we used … to work our way through this investigation we are going to request that money be returned to Michigan’s Fish and Game Fund, as well,” Haines said. 

That would include the money used to purchase the bear and deer meat, and bear parts, and money spent to take undercover officers charter fishing, he said.

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