June 28, 2008

Men Get Prison in Meth, Poaching: ‘Operation Stone Duck’ Nets Four

By Robin Fitzgerald, The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss.

Jun. 28--Two Coast men were sentenced to prison in a federal probe of illegal deer kills by spotlighting and poaching.

Both men pleaded guilty to charges that include selling methamphetamine to undercover agents in an ongoing investigation known as Operation Stone Duck.

U.S. District Judge David C. Bramlette on Thursday sentenced Mark "Scope" Necaise of Kiln to 10 years and a month. Necaise pleaded guilty to selling meth and four wildlife violations. The judge sentenced Samuel Necaise of Picayune to three years and 10 months for selling meth and two wildlife violations.

Both were sentenced in Natchez.

The Necaises and a third man were arrested after a raid in October 2007 turned up 80 firearms and 55 mounted whitetail bucks. Some of the deer had been hunted out of season.

Federal prosecutors said the investigation involves poaching at John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County and the Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Sharkey and Yazoo counties.

John W. Cuevas Jr. of Pass Christian was sentenced April 22. He pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a firearm at Stennis and five wildlife violations. He received three six-month prison terms, a year of probation and a $3,500 fine.

A fourth man, Neal Necaise of Picayune, will be sentenced July 10 on a guilty plea also entered in April. He was indicted on charges of manufacturing and possessing illegal machine guns.

U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton and U.S. Fish and Wildlife agent Robert T. Oliveri said the sentencings serve as a warning that selling drugs, illegal wildlife kills and poaching won't be tolerated.

Operation Stone Duck also targets the illegal taking of migratory game birds in Mississippi. Other agencies involved in the probe are the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.


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Copyright (c) 2008, The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss.

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