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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 9, 2007

Contact: Darlene Yuhas (609) 984-1795
Elaine Makatura (609) 292-2994

DEP CONSERVATION OFFICERS CHARGE NEW JERSEY MAN
WITH SELLING WILDLIFE PARTS

(07/07) TRENTON - Undercover wildlife-conservation lawmen bagged an Atlantic County man on charges of peddling more than 200 white-tailed deer antlers including several trophy-class sets, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson announced today.

Folsom Borough resident Melvin Kemmerer, 63, who stood to pocket about $1,000 for the antler collection, now faces three to five years in prison and up to $200,000 in fines for the illegal sale, transfer and possession of wildlife parts.

"There should be no doubt that we are serious about stopping crime against New Jersey's wildlife," Commissioner Jackson said. "Our Conservation Officers are out on the beat, and the public is helping us catch those who have no regard for our wildlife resources and the laws that protect them."

Kemmerer's arrest culminated a two-month investigation by Conservation Officers with the DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife and agents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Acting on a tip that Kemmerer was soliciting buyers for his antlers, a law enforcement officer contacted the suspect by telephone and arranged to purchase the deer parts. Lawmen allege Kemmerer agreed to sell the antlers for $10 a pound.

Immediately after Kemmerer exchanged the 100 pounds of antlers for cash, DEP Conservation Officers and federal agents took him into custody without incident at his home. Kemmerer has two previous convictions for violating New Jersey's wildlife laws, stemming from deer-hunting incidents in 1987 and 1997.

Residents concerned about wildlife crime can help DEP's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Officers apprehend violators by participating in Operation Game Thief. Information on the commercial exploitation of New Jersey's wildlife resources, pollution of wildlife habitat, poaching, illegal trapping, negligent use of firearms and other violations can be offered anonymously to the DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife by calling Operation Game Thief's toll-free number (800) 222-0456.

For more information on Operation Game Thief the program, visit www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/ogt.htm

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