No jail time and losing the right to trap wildlife for a year are the terms in a plea deal for one of two defendants in a massive illegal trapping enterprise on the Iron Range.
Douglas A. Marana, 70, of Chisholm, pleaded guilty Monday in St. Louis County District Court to all four charges against him: illegally taking or possessing pine marten, otter, fisher or wolverine, a gross misdemeanor; failing to tend to snares and making the loops too large, both misdemeanors; and failing to properly place identification tags on the snares, a petty misdemeanor.
The plea agreement with the county attorney’s office calls for Marana to receive a 120-day jail sentence but to have it stayed for two years while on probation. He’ll also have his trapping rights revoked for one year and share with his co-defendant payment of $2,500 in fines and restitution.
At the time that Marana and fellow Chisholm trapper Roderick R. Kottom, 68, were charged in March, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said the men had hatched the biggest illegal trapping operation the region has ever seen.
The case continues against Kottom, who is charged with the same offenses and is scheduled to appear in court July 27. State and federal court records show that Kottom has broken similar laws in the past.
Prosecutors alleged that a DNR conservation officer found a wolf in one of the snares north of Duluth in December 2014.
In January of this year, investigators seized 638 illegal snares on trap lines suspected of being set by Marana and Kottom. The lines were found in a large area of St. Louis County and also in the counties of Itasca, Koochiching and Lake.
Conservation officers located 17 foxes, two fisher, five snowshoe hares and one deer illegally snagged on the trap lines.
The animals are caught for their pelts, which are then sold.