Tuesday October 13th, 2015 5:30PM

Men get federal prison time for poaching bears

By The Associated Press
BRYSON CITY, N.C. (AP) -- A federal magistrate sentenced seven men to prison time for poaching bears and deer and other illegal hunting activities in national forests in North Carolina and Georgia.

U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins from the Western District of North Carolina said Friday that the convictions were the result of a four-year undercover investigation called Operation Something Bruin, in which officers infiltrated poaching circles to document violations.

Ten defendants pleaded guilty and were sentenced this week, with receiving prison terms of up to 30 days.

Officials announced in February at a news conference at the state Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Enforcement Office in Gainesville that the operation had netted 81 people on a total of 980 violations. (See earlier story. Link below.) Charges included bear baiting, the illegal use of dogs, operating illegal bear enclosures and hunting on federal lands without required permits.

Those sentenced are from North Carolina, Alabama and Texas.

('s Ken Stanford and Jerry Gunn contributed to this story.)
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