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Six from Iowa charged with swapping deer tags

JONES COUNTY -- Six individuals from Iowa were recently cited for game violations in Jones County surrounding the improper tagging of multiple bucks.

JONES COUNTY - Six individuals from Iowa were recently cited for game violations in Jones County surrounding the improper tagging of multiple bucks.

Corwin Harthoorn, 55, Colton Harthoorn, 25, and Kristi Harthoorn, 25, all of Doon, Iowa; Randall Kats, 53, and Jonathan LeLoux, 23, both of Rock Valley, Iowa; and Jeremy Hilt, 30, of George, Iowa, were cited with criminal charges in July after investigators discovered they were allegedly involved in a series of tag swaps surrounding the shooting of multiple bucks.

According to court documents, an Iowa Department of Natural Resources officer began an investigation in April 2014 after taxidermy records in Doon, Iowa, showed Randall Kats had a mule deer buck mounted on Nov. 23, 2012, but a search of South Dakota's licensing database showed Kats was only issued an "any whitetail" deer tag in 2012.

As the investigation continued, authorities realized the other five individuals were involved in a series of tag swapping that occurred in 2011 and 2012, with another incident in 2015.

Corwin Harthoorn was charged with two counts of transferring a license, in which he allegedly provided big-game licenses to his daughter-in-law, Kristi Harthoorn, in 2011, and to Randall Kats in 2012. He is also charged with unlawful possession of game after allegedly shooting a whitetail buck on his property in Jones County and placing Kats' tag on the deer.

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Colton Harthoorn was charged with two counts of transferring a license by providing his big-game license to Jeremy Hilt in 2011 and to Kristi Harthoorn in 2012. Court documents state Colton was also the person who placed Corwin's tag on Kristi's deer in 2011.

Kristi Harthoorn was charged with two counts of hunting big game without a license, in which she allegedly killed whitetail bucks in 2011 and 2012.

Randall Kats was charged with two counts of transferring a license by providing his big-game license to Corwin Harthoorn in 2012 and to Jonathan LeLoux in 2015, and one count of hunting big game without a license in which he allegedly shot a mule buck in 2012.

Jeremy Hilt was charged with hunting big game without a license by killing a mule buck in 2011. Jonathan LeLoux faces the same charge for allegedly shooting a whitetail buck in 2015.

All the charges are Class 1 misdemeanors, each punishable upon conviction by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine. The individuals are all scheduled to make their initial appearances in court in September.

Illegal immigrant pleads guilty to game violation

In the same month, Victor Lopez-Lopez, 27, of Huron, formerly Guatemala, was charged and sentenced for a game violation in Buffalo County.

According to court documents, Lopez-Lopez was pulled over for speeding on July 4. He didn't have a driver's license and said he has been in the USA for the past 10 years illegally.

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Lopez-Lopez gave the officer a South Dakota resident fishing license for identification, which he should not have had given his illegal immigrant status. Court documents do not explain how Lopez-Lopez was able to obtain a license.

On July 25, Lopez-Lopez pleaded guilty by power of attorney to application for resident license by a nonresident, speeding on a state highway and driving without a license, all Class 2 misdemeanors.

On the same day, a judge ordered Lopez-Lopez to pay $395 in court costs and fines for the infractions. Charges of fraud to obtain a game license and failure to maintain financial responsibility were dismissed.

Related Topics: CRIMEHUNTING
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