Arctic Refuge Drilling

An airplane flies over caribou from the Porcupine Caribou Herd on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeast Alaska. The refuge takes up an area nearly the size of South Carolina in Alaska's northeast corner.

A North Pole man was sentenced in federal court last week for filing fraudulent subsistence permit applications and illegally harvesting caribou and moose.

In a plea agreement, Robert Albaugh, 58, admitted that he had violated the Lacey Act and other federal hunting laws, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office, District of Alaska.

Albaugh, who was charged last October, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor level violation of the Lacey Act and another federal law prohibiting false statements on subsistence hunting permit applications.

In the plea agreement, Albaugh admitted that between 2002 and 2018, he and his wife applied for and received 63 federal subsistence hunting permits for Game Management Unit 13 (located south of Delta Junction) which they were ineligible to receive. To obtain the permits, Albaugh and his wife falsely claimed to be rural residents of Delta Junction. In reality, the two resided in North Pole and did not qualify for federal subsistence permits, the release stated.

During the 16 year span, Albaugh and his wife killed and transported a combined 23 caribou and one moose in violation of the Lacey Act and other regulations.

The Lacey Act, passed in 1900, makes it illegal to import or export animals taken in violation of U.S law. Additionally, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 protects the subsistence needs of rural Alaskans, many of whom depend upon hunting and fishing.

Albaugh received a $5,000 fine and was sentenced to 30 months of federal probation. He is banned from hunting, fishing or trapping anywhere in the world during the probation period.

In issuing the sentence, U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline noted the importance of protecting Alaska’s natural resources and “respecting the wildlife in our state.” He also noted the importance of deterring Albaugh and others from similar future violations, the release stated.

Contact reporter Maisie Thomas at 459-7544.