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Washington Couple Plead Guilty In Wolf Poaching Scheme

A couple from Twisp, Wash., has accepted a plea deal in a wolf poaching case. Under the agreement with federal prosecutors, Tom White and his wife will not face jail time.

White, his father, and his wife Erin were indicted last year in a conspiracy to kill some of the handful of grey wolves that live in eastern Washington. Police discovered the poaching scheme in late 2008 when the family tried to send a wolf pelt to a tanner in Canada. A business owner in Omak, Wash., reported the FedEx package was bleeding.

Erin White, who sent the package under a fake name, pleaded guilty to charges related to exporting an endangered species.

Her husband Tom White pleaded guilty on two counts of unlawfully taking an endangered species.

Prosecutors are asking for three years of probation and more than $30,000 in fines and penalties. Tom White must also forfeit a rifle and a leg trap the government seized in the poaching case.

White’s father William received a similar sentence at an earlier hearing. Conservation groups expected the son to get tougher sentence because evidence connected him to the killing of two wolves.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Inland Northwest Correspondent Jessica Robinson reports from the Northwest News Network's bureau in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. From the politics of wolves to mining regulation to small town gay rights movements, Jessica covers the economic, demographic and environmental trends that are shaping places east of the Cascades.