Locals sentenced for illegal hunting and narcotics

Published 3:55 pm Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Picayune resident was among two men who have been sentenced for wildlife crimes after being caught in a federal sting operation called Operation Stone Duck.

Samuel Necaise of Picayune, was sentenced to 3 years on one count of the sale of methamphetamine and two wildlife violations by Senior United States District Judge David C. Bramlette in federal court in Natchez, said Dunn Lampton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi. A press release from Lampton’s office states that Mark “Scope” Necaise of Kiln was sentenced to 10 years and one month on two counts of the sale of methamphetamine and four wildlife violations related to the illegal spotlighting and killing of whitetail deer. Both previously pled guilty to all charges.

The investigation remains ongoing.

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On Oct. 17, 2007, federal and state agents executed numerous federal search warrants and arrested Mark Necaise, Samuel Necaise and John W. Cuevas, Jr. Approximately 80 firearms and 55 mounted whitetail bucks were seized along with three vehicles. Drugs were also found at one location.

On Feb. 26, John W. Cuevas, Jr. pled guilty to one felony relating to illegal possession of a firearm on the premises of John C. Stennis Space Center and five misdemeanor wildlife violations. Cuevas was sentenced on April 22, by Bramlette to three six-month terms of imprisonment, one year of supervised release, and a fine of $3,500.

Lampton said that the sentences should serve as a warning.

“We will do everything we can to put away drug dealers and those who illegally kill wildlife. (The) sentences (handed down last week) should send a strong warning that state and federal agencies are working together to put criminals in prison and keep them there,” Lampton said.

“The sentencing, of the subjects in this investigation today should send a clear message that selling drugs and poaching on a National Wildlife Refuge and other private lands will have serious consequences” said Robert T. Oliveri, resident agent in charge with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Operation Stone Duck is an on going joint investigation involving the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Fireams.

The investigation initially focused on the illegal taking of trophy whitetail deer and migratory game birds in Mississippi. The investigation also uncovered the sale of drugs as well as possession and manufacturing of automatic weapons. Most of the illegal spotlighting of trophy bucks occurred on Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, the John C. Stennis Space Center, private property and other state and federal lands. Many of the whitetail bucks were killed during closed season.