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Pilot sentenced in interisland animal smuggling case

By Nelson Daranciang

LAST UPDATED: 12:52 p.m. HST, Sep 13, 2012

A federal judge approved this morning the sentencing agreement between the government and veteran helicopter pilot Thomas Leroy Hauptman, who admitted transporting Axis deer to Hawaii Island and Mouflon sheep to Maui.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin S.C. Chang sentenced Hauptman to one year of probation and ordered him to provide 500 hours of helicopter flight time to agencies, organizations and individuals fighting the spread of invasive species on Hawaii Island.

Hauptman, 63, of Maui, pleaded guilty last month to the illegal possession of game mammals when he transported three deer and 14 sheep between Maui and Hawaii Island in December 2009. The sheep was for his friend and neighbor, Arrow One Ranch owner Jeffrey Scott Grundhauser. 

Grundhauser, 53, admitted letting an undercover U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent hunt deer and sheep on his ranch without a hunting permit. His sentencing is scheduled for next month.

The state is trying to stop the spread of Axis deer on Hawaii Island because of the damage the animal has already done to native habitat on Maui, Lanai and Molokai.

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Jsato wrote:
Wow. It's just amazing how people think they can break the law and no one will notice. Sounds like he got off pretty easy though.
on September 13,2012 | 03:10PM
noheawilli wrote:
There was no intent he was just helping a friend. Read three felonies a day for more on over zealous prosecutors.
on September 13,2012 | 04:43PM
Slow wrote:
One year probation???? Boy, that'll teach him. Is this a deterrent to other Jimmy Plueger-like rapists of our land? How about hyenas, boa constrictors and Pumas? Wouldn't they be a big attraction for all the "big game hunters?" Excuse me, I have to puke.
on September 13,2012 | 04:59PM
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