Southern Utah Man Arrested for Deer Poaching in Utah

A southern Utah man was arrested for an almost three year old deer poaching case out of Nevada.

Poaching of a Mule Buck

USFWS Mountain-Prairie

In November of 2019 a nice sized mule deer buck was taken out illegally near the Utah Nevada border and for a couple years the killing went unnoticed. When Nevada game wardens realized a case of poaching had occurred in their state, they worked diligently with Utah law enforcement to track down the one responsible. Two and a half years and a lot of tax dollars later, they found the person responsible.

Barely an adult

21 year old Brayden Ray Norton of Washington, Utah was arrested for deer poaching, a category E felony in Nevada. At the time of the crime, Norton was a fresh 18 year old that likely had goals in his adult like that didn’t include going to a Nevada jail for a prized deer he tagged. According to Nevada Fish and Game, Norton has never acquired a hunting license in Nevada and therefore would not have been approved for one of their hard to acquire large game tags.

Deer poaching

In Nevada, deer poaching is punishable as a category E felony, punishable by one to four years in prison with a fine as much as $5,000. In Utah, deer poaching is known as illegal taking, possession or wanton destruction of protected wildlife. Section 23-20 4.7 adds that “A person is guilty of habitual wanton destruction of protected wildlife if the person . . . takes a big game animal”. Utah Code 23-20-4.5 notes that punishment for poaching a deer is a restitution amount of $400 to as much as $8,000 for a trophy animal. A person found guilty of deer poaching can also face a third degree felony, punishable but one to five years in prison and an additional fine of up to $5,000.

State borders

Photo by: Ken Lund

Nevada Fish and Game stated that the poaching incident occurred in Lincoln County, Nevada that happens to be the third largest county in Nevada, seventh largest in the nation. The east side of Lincoln county stretches the length of four Utah counties: Millard, Beaver, Iron, and Washington as well as the northwest tip of Arizona, that includes the well-known Virgin River Gorge. Most of this area between Lincoln County and its bordering counties is sparsely populated wilderness, with only a few major highways linking it to Utah. The remaining pathways between the two states on Utah’s southwestern borders are dirt roads, unpaved and possible unmarked. Nevada officials did not elaborate on how close to the Utah border the poaching incident had occurred or whether or not Norton was aware he had crossed into a neighboring state.

Intentional or accidental

Although he was not a licensed hunter in Nevada, Norton has obviously had experience hunting as he was able to bring down that large buck. It is possible Norton had been a licensed Utah hunter, a favorite pastime for many Utah parents and their children.At 18 years old, Norton had probably spent most of his hunting life under the watchful eye of his parents. Game wardens in Nevada claimed that Norton tried to get away with poaching yet, could he have been licensed in Utah and mistakenly crossed into Nevada while navigating back roads? While there are some laws that punish a person for accidentally committing a crime, most punish a person who has knowledge and intent – two things that Norton may not have had in this case. Anyone facing criminal charges in Utah or neighboring states is encouraged to seek legal counsel from a qualified attorney who can help a defendant show defend their mistakes and reveal their true intentions.

Utah Women Arrested for Attempting to Traffic Meth over Southern Utah Border

Two separate incidents within a single week of December have ended in officers arresting multiple women for attempting to traffic meth over the southern Utah border near St. George.

I-15 drug corridor

Photo by: Nancy

I-15 is known as a drug corridor which is evident in two similar cases that happened south of St. George, Utah last month. In one incident, 43 year old Tara Evans of Annabella Utah was stopped for traffic violations in Mesquite Nevada, located about 30 miles south of the Utah border. A search of the vehicle Evans was driving turned up over four ounces of methamphetamine. Although she was only in possession of around four ounces of methamphetamine, she was charged by Nevada law as trafficking a controlled substance. This could be due to her admitting she brought the drugs with her over the border or the charging officer assuming that was the case.

Drug run to Nevada

In another incident that same week, two women from southern Utah were arrested shortly after passing through Mesquite Nevada and crossing back over the border into Utah. A search of that vehicle occupied by 30 year old Ashley Marie Harmer and 21 year old Mackenzie Lee Clark turned up multiple large wrapped packages of methamphetamine along with other instruments used to sell the substance. Harmer and Clark admitted to traveling to Nevada to obtain the drugs to transport back into the state of Utah.

Drug charges in two states

All three women are facing felony drug charges. Evans was arrested in Nevada and faces felony charges for drug trafficking there. Harmer and Clark were arrested in Utah for possession of meth with the intent to distribute. Since Clark is a first time offender, she faces third degree felony charges while Harmer faces first degree charges since this is not her first rodeo with drug trafficking and distribution. While all three women are facing charges in the state they were arrested in, it is possible they could face federal drug trafficking charges as well since they crossed over state lines while in possession of a controlled substance. Whether facing state or federal penalties, anyone facing drug charges are encouraged to refrain from admitting anything to authorities and seeking appropriate legal counsel immediately.

Nevada Hotel Burglary Suspect Arrested in Utah

A Utah woman who was the primary suspect for stealing items from a Wendover, Nevada Hotel and Casino has been arrested on burglary charges.

Scalped hotel reservation

Photo by: Garrett

48 year old Robin Olsen from American Fork, Utah was arrested for burglary after she convinced a couple to purchase her hotel room in Wendover, then proceeded to steal their luggage, person belongings, and a wad of cash from inside it. The couple was able to track their stolen credit card back to Utah, where Olsen was matched to security footage from the hotel and subsequently arrested.

Burglary

Utah Code 76-6-202 defines burglary as when a person “enters or remains unlawfully in a building with intent to commit:

(a) a felony;
(b) theft;
(c) an assault on any person;
(d) lewdness, ( . . . )
(e) sexual battery, ( . . . )
(f) lewdness involving a child ( . . . ) or
(g) voyeurism ( . . . ).”

Code 76-6-202 states: “Burglary is a third degree felony unless it was committed in a dwelling, in which event it is a second degree felony.”

Temporary dwelling

Photo by: Prayitno

Utah County Jail has listed Olsen’s charges as simply “burglary” however, it is likely those charges could be increased to a second degree felony since the crime took place in a hotel room. According to Utah Code 76-6-201, a dwelling is “a building which is usually occupied by a person lodging in the building at night, whether or not a person is actually present.” Since a hotel’s sole purpose is nighttime lodging, that definition of dwelling could apply for any hotel, whether or not the room was vacant or not.

Similar charges across state lines

Olsen was arrested in Utah, however the warrant for her arrest was issued out of Nevada. A second degree felony in Utah is punishable by one to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The same charge in Nevada would be considered a Category B felony, punishable by one to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Since the crime was committed in Nevada, Olsen will likely return there for court and sentencing.