GRAND JUNCTION — A 31-year-old guide accused of illegally capturing and maiming mountain lions and bobcats to make hunting the cats easier for clients has pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy charge.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports ( ) Nicholaus Rodgers, of Shady Cove, Oregon, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to violate the Lacey Act, which governs the interstate sale of wildlife taken in violation of state regulations.

Federal prosecutors say Rodgers and his co-defendant, 55-year-old outfitter Christopher Loncarich, of Mack, Colorado, trapped the cats near the Colorado-Utah border from 2007 to 2009 and released them when clients were nearby. They are accused of sometimes shooting the cats in the paws or legs or attaching leg traps to hold them.

Loncarich has pleaded not guilty and is set to go to trial Aug. 15.


Information from: The Daily Sentinel,