Illegal wildlife trading bust nets 9 guilty pleas for fox penning

Illegal wildlife trading bust nets 9 guilty pleas for fox penning
Nine men pleaded guilty to illegal wildlife purchasing.
Six illegal wildlife pens were wither closed or had their licenses revoked. (Source: Virginia Attorney General)
Six illegal wildlife pens were wither closed or had their licenses revoked. (Source: Virginia Attorney General)

(WWBT) - Nine people have pleaded guilty in an investigation into illegal wildlife trading.

Pens in Buckingham, Lunenburg, Appomattox, Dinwiddie, King and Queen and Brunswick counties were shuttered and their permits revoked for possessing illegal wildlife.

The Animal Law Unit investigated the trapping, penning and use of wild foxes for training hunting dogs, and shut down illegal pens in accordance with a Virginia law that prohibits the creation of new pens after 2014.

One Powhatan man and two men from Dinwiddie were part of the guilty pleas through the investigation.

Brandon Scott McGhee, 33, of Powhatan, pled guilty to one count of purchasing wildlife and was charged with another count. He received a suspended sentence, $50 fine and was forced to forfeit money used to purchase the wildlife.

Joseph Lewis, 84, and John Tucker, 45, both of Dinwiddie pled guilty to one charge of purchasing wildlife. Lewis received a five-year suspended sentence and Tucker received a one-year suspended sentence.

Five additional men and one woman received suspended sentences up to five years in connection with the investigation. Two received a $2,500 fine.

The other guilty pleas were from Herman Burnley, 29, of Wingina; Ricky Burnley, 33, of Wingina; Christopher Powell, 40, of Appomattox; Christopher Harrison, 44, of Jarrett; Robert Verlander, 60, of Gloucester and Sherry Lynn Hurt, 64, of Gloucester.

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