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Plea Agreements Reached in Campbell and Johnson County Poaching Cases

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A multi-year poaching investigation by Wyoming Game and Fish Department Law Enforcement officers recently concluded following plea agreements approved between Florida resident Jeb Rou and county attorneys in Campbell and Johnson counties. The investigation and subsequent plea agreement resulted in more than $137,000 in fines and restitution among three individuals.

According to information from the Wyoming Game and Fish, on December 5, 2019, North Gillette Game Warden Kristen Strom responded to a poaching call from an anonymous member of the public. The reporting party informed a local landowner that a deer had been shot and he saw three individuals hiding the deer on the landowner’s property. Later that night, with help from the landowner, Strom caught Gillette resident Eric Sorensen and Georgia resident Justin Price attempting to retrieve the illegally killed deer. Rou fled the scene and was not apprehended. As the investigation began, multiple wildlife violations for all three suspects were discovered dating back to December of 2018, including eight buck mule deer and one bull elk taken out of season or wantonly destroyed.  

Evidence showed the majority of violations occurred at night with Rou, Price and Sorensen using thermal imaging rifle scopes and spotlights to find and poach mule deer and elk in Campbell and Johnson counties. However, in one daytime poaching instance, the trio shot and killed a buck mule deer in a Gillette subdivision, shooting long distance over a church playground, two roads and two homes. The animal was left to waste.The investigation also uncovered wildlife violations in six other states, some of which were past those states’ statute of limitations and so could not be charged.

As violations were discovered during the investigation, Price and Sorensen made multiple court appearances in 2020 and 2021 in Campbell County.  Sorensen received $15,640 in fines and had his hunting, fishing and trapping privileges suspended for 20 years. He also served 30 days in jail. Price received $40,165 in fines and had his hunting, fishing and trapping privileges suspended for 23 years. He also served 30 days in jail. Although Rou had returned to Florida in December 2019, Strom and Wyoming Game and Fish Department investigators worked with Campbell County prosecutors to issue nationwide extraditable warrants for Rou. After three years, Rou was apprehended in January 2023 following a high speed vehicle pursuit with officers in Florida. He was arrested and extradited back to Wyoming by the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office on wildlife warrants.

In November 2023, Rou agreed to plea agreements for taking big game out of season and wanton destruction of big game in Campbell and Johnson counties. He received a total of $31,505.80 in fines and his hunting, fishing and trapping privileges were suspended for 27 years. He also recently completed a 60-day jail sentence in the Campbell County Detention Center. Rou, Price and Sorensen will also jointly pay $50,000 in restitution for the wildlife they killed.

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