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Pilot sentenced in interisland animal smuggling case

By Nelson Daranciang

POSTED:
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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