March 29, 2009: I emailed Tony Davis of the AZ Daily Star with the following information: the AZGFD snares set for their lion/bear project were placed in a canyon known to be utilized by jaguars; that a two week old picture of Macho B was retrieved on Feb, 4 and that BJDP camera site was just a few miles away from the AZGFD snares opened/activated on the same day; I was told to place female jaguar scat obtained from a zoo at cameras and the snare that eventually caught Macho B; Macho B’s tracks were found on Feb. 5 in the canyon where the snares were activated but the snares remained opened for several more days then were closed for a few more and then once again, reopened/activated at which point Macho B was snared a few days later; Macho B was hypothermic at his capture; I described the snare tree and finding pieces of his claws embedded in the bark; and I talked about the snare being referred to as a “kill snare” by experienced trappers (I had spoken with a neighbor whom used to be a professional trapper) because circulation is cut off to the extremity snared, there is no adequate padding on the snare to prevent further injury to that extremity (i.e. cutting into skin) and large mammals are known to exhaust themselves, some to the point of death, to get free.
March 30: I spoke to Tony Davis and Tim Stellar.
March 31: Davis spoke to McCain about my allegations of scat use. McCain and Smith met to conspire about covering up the use of scat in and near the AZGFD snares. At this point AZGFD and USFWS are aware of my statements.
April 1: AZ Congressman Raul Grijalva makes inquiries with USFWS about Macho B’s capture and death. The federal criminal investigation into Macho B’s capture and death is launched. USFWS, AZGFD, and the AZ Attorney General’s Office are all on board for the investigation. Later it would be determined AZGFD would conduct their own, internal administrative investigation, the USFWS, at Congressman Grijalva’s request, would conduct the federal criminal investigation, and the AZ Attorney General’s Office would play no part except, I suppose, as legal counsel for AZGFD. On this day McCain goes to the snaring area and removes all jaguar scat from BJDP cameras close to the AZGFD snares. He does not notice the scat at the capture site. His actions constitute obstructing justice, tampering with evidence, hindering an investigation, etc. but he is never charged with these crimes.
April 2: The article written by Davis and Stellar based on my statements is published in the AZ Daily Star (see blogroll for link, AZ Daily Star article about scat). The article focuses on the placement of scat which becomes a she said/he said scenario when McCain denies it. His lying and denying focuses the investigation on himself and the scat. This gives the AZGFD and USFWS a huge pass on having to explain to the rightfully outraged public about their processes that allowed first, for the employment of McCain on the snaring project. The guy whom had access to all the cameras so he knew where Macho B was and the guy who chose the snare sites and who also happened to be a staunch advocate for collaring a jaguar. Second, for allowing snares to be built and activated in an area known to be utilized by an endangered species. Third, allowing those snares to remain open/active when Macho B’s presence was documented in the snaring area and on the actual trap line. This sort of breather gave the agencies time to come up with a game plan that included amending permits (more on this in a moment), and for AZGFD to come up with the strategy of disowning McCain and creating the talking point that would become their defense: Anywhere in SE AZ presented the possibility of inadvertently capturing a jaguar.
I meet with the USFWS Special Agents (SAs) on seven occasions and talked with the lead SA on the phone a few times. I turned over Macho B’s claw shavings I had collected from the snare tree, BJDP photos from all the camera sites, GPS coordinates for BJDP cameras, emails, the container the jaguar scat was in and leftover scat, the laptop McCain had given me to do BJDP data entry, and McCain’s hard drive that he gave me before he went to Spain that contained even more pictures and documents. I gave the USFWS SAs the names of people to talk to and directions to McCain’s home. I cooperated fully and every time I was asked.
May 6, 2010: I had my last interview with the USFWS SAs and they informed me to seek legal counsel. On May 15, one of the SAs presented me with a summons to appear in the U.S. district court because they alleged I, “placed jaguar scat or was directed to place jaguar scat at snare sites in an attempt to capture and trap an endangered species, to wit, a jaguar.” This constituted an alleged “take” violation of the Endangered Species Act.
May 20, 2010: I entered the Evo A. DeConcini Federal Building and Courthouse in Tucson, AZ. The building is named after a former AZ Attorney General and AZ Supreme Court Justice that according to Bill Bonanno’s book, Bound by Honor, A Mafioso’s Story, was friends with the Bonnano crime family‘s boss, Joe Bonnano. I then entered a courtroom that was packed with shackled men, all alleged to have entered the U.S. illegally on more than one occasion. My lawyer and I waited for my name to be called so I could plead not guilty to the charges presented against me by the AZ U.S. Attorney’s Office. This federal office was then led by AZ U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke. As it turns out, in a small world kinda way, Burke was given a job at the beginning of his career by DeConcini’s son, Dennis, a former senator for AZ. Burke had also worked for the AZ Attorney General’s Office (the lawyers for AZGFD) and for Janet Napolitano when she was Governor of AZ and then when she was appointed head of the Department of Homeland Security. According to McCain, his landlords at the time were friends with Napolitano. Burke would later have to resign his post as the U.S. Attorney for AZ because of his involvement in the Fast and Furious gun walking/smuggling operation. This operation allowed guns to be smuggled from AZ into Mexico in order to “track them” to cartel members. Unfortunately, guns from this operation have been found at murder scenes in Mexico and in AZ, most notably at the scene of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s murder. I would find out later in the press that Burke had tried to discredit the whistleblower whom informed Congress of Operation Fast and Furious.
After court I was taken to the U.S. Marshall’s office to be fingerprinted and have my picture taken for my new FBI file. I then went to Pretrial Services and waited to meet my officer in a room full of people talking about their prison time due to drug charges. I finally met the pretrial officer and he explained what was expected of me while I awaited trial and what I had to do to comply with the terms of my release.
A few days later my lawyer contacted the U.S. Attorneys Office to see if they would do a Diversion Agreement. They said no, absolutely no way. They then offered me a plea deal, three years probation and I couldn’t work on large cat research in the U.S. during that time. I said, no, absolutely no way. Not long after I turned down their plea deal the AZ U.S. Attorneys Office charged me with conspiracy to take an endangered species. Several days later a real conspiracy occurred when the USFWS amended AZGFD’s endangered species permit to authorize future intentional jaguar captures (see blogroll for link to new permit).
July 2010: I attended my first pre-trial hearing. The AUSA was pushing to have my trial scheduled for the following month even though he had yet to provide my attorney the disclosure documents for my case. Disclosure is basically the evidence that is being used against a defendant. The AUSA tried to say that all the calls from the press concerning the case prevented him from getting the disclosure to my attorney and he wanted the judge to place a gag order on myself and my attorney. The judge rebuked that request and gave the AUSA a deadline to meet in regards to turning over the disclosure documents to my attorney so he could begin preparing my defense. Trial was then set for September.