DENVER - A Colorado man pleaded guilty Friday to illegally capturing and maiming mountain lions and bobcats as part of a scheme to make hunting the cats easier for their clients.
Christopher Loncarich, of Mack, was indicted earlier this year on charges including transportation and sale of unlawfully taken wildlife.
Loncarich is a big game outfitter who operated in Colorado on the Utah border.
Loncarich trapped the cats and released them when clients were nearby. Authorities said guides sometimes shot the cats in the paws or legs or attached leg-hold traps to hold them.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, and is being prosecuted by the Environmental Crimes Section of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division.
A sentencing hearing for Loncarich is set for Nov. 20, 2014.
(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)