Nevadan guilty of violating Endangered Species Act
RENO, Nev. (AP) — A Nevada man has pleaded guilty to violating the U.S. Endangered Species Act after he rammed his ATV into a gate and harmed the federally protected pupfish at the Devils Hole area in Death Valley National Park.
Prosecutors say 28-year-old Trenton Sargent of Indian Hills destroyed surveillance cameras at the park’s Ashe Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Amargosa Valley along the Nevada-California line.
He pleaded guilty in federal court in Las Vegas Wednesday to violating the ESA, destroying U.S. property and felon possessing a firearm. He faces up to 21 years in prison and $550,000 in fines at his sentencing Oct. 25.
Prosecutors say Sargent stepped into Devils Hole, smashing eggs of the pupfish. It’s the only place in the world the species related to fish that once inhabited an ancient lake covering Death Valley is known to exist.