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Idaho Falls, ID


Date: September 18, 2003
Contact: Gregg Losinski
(208) 525-7290

Operation Doubletree Bears Fruit

IDAHO FALLS - After months of undercover investigations and subsequent months of legal discussions, the scales of justice have finally come to rest regarding the primary subjects of IDFG's Operation Doubletree investigation.   Bonneville County Prosecutors have announced out-of-court settlements with Idaho Falls residents John Bendixsen and Mikal Erickson.

Operation Doubletree was an undercover investigation that took six months to probe numerous suspected wildlife violations of Bendixsen's outfitting business.   Erickson was Bendixsen's primary guide and the other major subject of the investigation.   A coordinated multi-location raid conducted last September brought the undercover portion of the investigation to a close. The large volume of evidence seized required careful scrutiny by IDFG conservation officers and county prosecutors during the winter months.   Erickson pled guilty to three of the original charges and Bendixsen five.

Upon receiving the guilty pleas for the numerous violations ranging from multiple unlawful taking of game charges and misdemeanor violations of outfitter regulations, Judges Walker and Cook levied some rather substantial penalties against the pair.    Bendixsen was ordered to pay $5,000 restitution and Erickson $1,000. Additionally, Bendixsen was ordered to pay $1,271 in fines and costs and Erickson another $1,571. According to Regional Conservation Officer John Hanson, "The majority of the restitution money will be used to help defray the costs of the undercover investigation."

In addition to monetary penalties, both men received suspended jail time, Bendixsen 180 days with three years of informal probation, Erickson 270 days with two years of informal probation. Because the crimes were wildlife related, the judges also revoked Erickson's hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses privileges for the next four years; Bendixsen had his hunting license privileges revoked for the next five years.   During their probationary periods, neither man is allowed to associate with anyone who is hunting!

Because the wildlife violations occurred while Bendixsen and Erickson were functioning as an outfitter and a guide, the Idaho State Board of Outfitters and Guides will be conducting separate hearings to decide upon the professional license status for each individual.




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