Whistling for the Jaguar

The un-redacted story of the jaguar, Macho B's snaring and death.

Archive for the tag “Janay Brun”

Thank you

I wanted to thank everyone who has taken the time to read this blog and become interested in jaguar and/or wildlife conservation. My goal with this blog and my recently published book, Cloak & Jaguar was to provide all the information I have (via a FOIA request) regarding Macho B’s capture and death. What you, the reader, does with that information is, well, up to you. I encourage anyone who is interested in wildlife conservation to become a responsible advocate for the cause. If you choose to volunteer for or donate funds to a group or even hire a guide for a photographic tour of a national park please vet them. It takes a few moments but Google makes it easy. And not just the group as an entity but also the individuals doing research or work on their behalf.

As this blog comes to a close for more information about jaguar conservation please visit Conservation CATalyst, The Jaguar and its Allies, Southwest Jags, Northern Jaguar Project, and Panthera.

A reminder for anyone with information about wildlife and/or wildland crime, WildLeaks is there to help and can be contacted anonymously.

I would also like to thank everyone that has reached out to me over the years and more recently in regard to my book. I enjoy hearing from you and if anyone else wants to get in touch my contact is: cloakandjaguar@yahoo.com

Finally, if anyone has a moment in their busy lives a review of my book on Amazon would be appreciated. It’s easy; just login to your Amazon account and go to the Cloak & Jaguar product page here and click on the Write a Review button. Also, anyone interested in buying a copy of Cloak & Jaguar the paperback is now on sale for $10.95 and the ebook for $5.99.

Many thanks!

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Cloak and Jaguar

I have finally finished the first draft of my book, Cloak and Jaguar.  I am in the process of putting together a proposal to send to agents and publishers as I begin the search for support and a home for my manuscript.  It is just the beginning of a probable long journey of  rejections, re-writes, edits, and “killing my darlings.”

Here is a preview, Cloak & Jaguar

Thanks goes to Dexter Oliver for his edits.

Contact Info

Contact: Janay Brun

Email: whistlingforthejaguar@yahoo.com

OR: cloakandjaguar@yahoo.com

The End

My plan with this blog was to post all the information from the criminal investigation into Macho B’s capture and death that I legally could. I have accomplished that. Unless another intentionally suppressed document emerges from the depths of the AZGFD and/or USFWS or McCain invents another version of “But, I was THE victim!” in an inane attempt to gain back a tidbit of whatever credibility he had I probably will not post again. I left out the personal part of the story in this blog (mostly) so it focused solely on what was uncovered by the USFWS Special Agents during their investigation. I’ll get to the personal in my book. And speaking of personal, that is how I would like to end this blog.

Blowing the Whistle

First, regarding whistleblowers. If there are any future whistleblowers reading this blog please check out: http://www.whistleblower.org (link also under blogroll) for helpful information and advice before you come forward. Speaking the truth is not always perceived as the respectful, decent, moral, or right thing to do. As a whistleblower be prepared for the emotional, physical, and mental stress that will occupy your daily life. Know that the moment you blow the whistle, life as you know it will die. Be prepared for the strain on not just yourself, but also family, loved ones, and friends. Recognize that some of these relationships may not make it through the strain. Be financially prepared; if you are not fired ( I was) then you will be isolated to the point of wishing you were fired or demoted. Hire a lawyer before you utter one word. I didn’t hire a lawyer until I was charged and by then it was too late. The idea is self preservation and protection. The people whom you are blowing the whistle on will come at you with everything they have, fabricate even more, and attempt to turn you into the “bad” person and themselves into the victim. Be aware of whistleblower laws and protections, each state is different. Know that if you end up in the federal judicial system the Obama administration has been the hardest on whistleblowers in recent U.S. history, if not its whole. Adjust your expectations in the value of truth and justice. The truth is often inconvenient in whistleblower cases and the opposition will try to suppress, manipulate, and delete it. Justice is rarely found in the legal system. In my case it was absent.

It is unforgivable that whistleblowers are consistently retaliated against while those that remain quiet and uphold the status quo do so out of fear of said retaliation and those that are intentionally breaking the law and/or are endangering other lives, something or someone seem to persist in the shadows unscathed.

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Macho B

Macho B was an individual jaguar that lived and thrived in a vast and diverse ecosystem that spanned from southern Arizona into, in all probability, northern Mexico. He was not a symbol for open borders, wilderness designation, wild places, conservation, an organization, agency, or an open mine pit-free landscape. He was just a jaguar trying to survive in the world. If anything can be deemed symbolic of his life, it is the end of it. His snaring and death are symbolic and indicative of all that is wrong in wildlife conservation. If you see a jaguar in the wild please thank the stars, luck, the universe, God, or better yet, the jaguar and appreciate the moment. But, PLEASE do not call AZGFD, USFWS, or the University of AZ jaguar project to report the presence of the jaguar; they will end up endangering the animal, if not killing him or her.

Several prominent biologists have stated that Macho B’s existence, or any other jaguars’ in southern AZ or New Mexico are not significant to the jaguar species as a whole. That argument has always seemed odd and callous to me as it comes from biologists whom supposedly want to conserve the species, Panthera Onca and are interested and invested in the lives of  jaguars, yet they cherry pick which individuals of the species are important based on geography and funding. Macho B was important; he was a life, an endangered life by legal definition and his death was significant to the survival of his species. Because, if an individual jaguar’s life cannot be respected then how can the lives of the species be as a whole?

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We owe respect to the living. To the dead we owe only truth. Voltaire

Wrapping up

Though I have seen the whole, un-redacted investigation file of Macho B’s case, legally I could only report on this blog what was included in my redacted Freedom of Information Act request. I had requested the whole investigation file and I received pretty much all of it. This blog is by no means the entire story and I am doubtful the full version will ever be known. Close to 98% of what is on this blog I discovered as a defendant in this case preparing for trial.

Just this past December I learned through the AZ Republic’s series on Macho B about a document that originated with USFWS “Jaguar Lead,” Erin Fernandez and was re-drafted by AZGFD’s Endangered Species Coordinator, Terry Johnson just 16 days before Macho B was captured. This document was a “draft” shared between USFWS and AZGFD that outlined a financial plan to capture and collar a jaguar with Macho B cited as the likely candidate. The “draft” was completed in time for a March 2009 deadline to submit proposals to the Department of Homeland Security for a chance at acquiring part of the $50 million mitigation funding or “pot of gold” as many AZGFD officials referred to it. This document was never turned over or talked about to the USFWS Special Agents in charge of the Macho B investigation and therefore, neither my attorney or I knew it existed. I believe this document could have been beneficial in a Motion to Dismiss that was submitted by my attorney so I am currently looking into any legal recourse I may have for AZGFD and USFWS suppressing evidence in a federal criminal investigation. And because of this suppressed document I seriously have to question how many other documents were suppressed and what else did the USFWS Special Agents fail to discover and investigate.

Currently, Emil McCain is claiming victimhood in the Macho B case while at the same time admitting to whoring out the truth and federal laws in exchange for being wined and dined and promised future employment by former AZGFD biologist and current University of Arizona jaguar researcher, Ron Thompson (see AZ Republic series, parts 1-3 under blogroll). When McCain directed me to place jaguar scat at the BJDP cameras and near the AZGFD snare on February 4, 2009 I believed he was a legit researcher whom had permission from AZGFD, USFWS, & BJDP to attempt to capture and collar Macho B. After Macho B was collared and McCain and Childs did not correct AZGFD’s statements that Macho B’s capture was “accidental” I became suspicious. Then after I contacted Tony Davis of the AZ Daily Star to tell him Macho B’s capture was definitely not accidental and McCain’s reaction was to attack and defame my character with his words supplemented by a script his father provided, I thought I had been duped by someone I trusted. It was at this point I considered him to be some evil, master-mind. When I read the discovery of my case while preparing for trial it became clear that McCain had intent to capture and collar Macho B all on his own and this intent was encouraged and fostered directly by Thompson (AZGFD), Johnson (AZGFD), Smith (AZGFD), Childs (BJDP), and indirectly by Van Pelt (AZGFD), O’Brien (AZGFD) and Fernandez (USFWS). Now, I just view McCain as a sociopath; adamant about taking zero responsibility for his actions (he has a history of breaking laws, maiming and killing jaguars) and even incapable of viewing any wrongdoing he has done as wrong. He always chooses the victim card as his defense and his new version of that is curious as he waited years to shift blame from me as a liar to Ron Thompson as his pimp. Since he suspiciously leaves Childs out of the equation I am wondering if Childs is still of some use to McCain? Perhaps Childs is dusting off a seat at the “jaguar conservation” table for McCain when his probation is over in two years?

To date, AZGFD has not been held accountable for violating the Endangered Species Act by illegally capturing Macho B during the course of an illegal lion and bear research project which had not been properly vetted and was done without the correct permits and without authorization from the USFWS. AZGFD has also not been held accountable for allowing their sub-contractor, Emil McCain to dictate when a visual health assessment would occur after Macho B was captured and had not moved for days. AZGFD deferred to McCain though he had no knowledge or experience in monitoring a jaguar, was not a vet, and constantly referenced mountain lion behavior to define Macho B’s behavior, though Macho B was obviously a jaguar. So because of McCain’s ineptitude and inexperience Macho B wasted away for twelve days and by the time someone with actual vet experience got to him he was diagnosed with irreversible kidney failure and killed. AZGFD has also not been held accountable for high-risk snaring protocols. Snares were only checked once a day, in the morning. Snares were placed in active human and drug smuggling corridors putting captive animals and perhaps humans at risk. Snares were activated during a time of year when it can snow one day and be seventy plus degrees and sunny the next, thus risking hypo and hyperthermia (Macho B was hypothermic) to the captive animals. The area was also inhabited by diverse species and any animal held captive in a snare could have been attacked by another animal as possibly evidenced by the javelina tooth found embedded in Macho B’s tail. And then the actual personnel and handling protocols for a jaguar capture went beyond negligent. Smith and Crabb had no vet experience, barely any wild cat experience, they didn’t even have the presence of mind to clean the dart wound on Macho B’s leg though Smith pulled the tranquilizer dart out himself. This same general area on Macho B’s leg is where the subcutaneous emphysema was located during the necropsy and was cited as one of the factors contributing to the decision to euthanize him. And AZGFD obviously has not been held accountable for lying to the public about their agency’s role in Macho B’s capture and health decline just like none of their personnel were ever charged or prosecuted for their roles despite the evidence.

USFWS still has “Jaguar Lead” Erin Fernandez in their employ and she continues to be involved in jaguar work despite her own agency recommending her for prosecution in the Macho B case. USFWS continues to be a partner with AZGFD in jaguar conservation allowing AZGFD to remain a lead agency in the “effort.” USFWS also covered for AZGFD when it became abundantly clear that AZGFD did not have the right permits to capture Macho B, no matter what the circumstances, and amended AZGFD’s permits for them a year after Macho B’s death to include pages of language authorizing AZGFD to capture and collar a jaguar. And as evidenced in this blog, the USFWS Special Agents in charge of the Macho B investigation didn’t exactly do a thorough or aggressive job.

Next are the empty words of AZ Congressman Grijalva. He requested USFWS lead in the investigation and then this past December when he got an inkling of the negligence and cover-up that occurred in Macho B’s case he said something about learning more about “prosecutorial decisions and the continuing role of key government officials in federal jaguar studies.” I first contacted his office 64 days ago to inquire if he really would follow-up on these issues but his office has never returned my calls or emails.

And then there is the former AZ U.S. Attorney, Dennis Burke. No one can question him as to why he chose not to prosecute any government officials in the Macho B case because he had to retire after his role in Operation Fast and Furious (AZ US Attorney and ATF joint gun smuggling/walking operation. A gun from this ridiculously negligent operation turned up at the murder scene of a U.S. Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry.) was made public.

One couldn’t dream of a more convoluted, corrupt, disturbing, sad and twisted tale surrounding the capture and death of an endangered species. If the government agencies, including legal ones, entrusted with conserving endangered species and enforcing endangered species law can get it so wrong with the most endangered species to reside in the U.S. just consider how bad it is for an endangered bug, plant, bird, or just about any other species living in the ecosystems that make up the U.S.

Janay Brun, part 3

Transcripts

As I reviewed my transcripts from the USFWS investigation I was reminded of two mistakes which seemed innocuous at the time, but less so when the investigation was closed and no one else was prosecuted. The first one occurred in my first interview with the USFWS Special Agents (SAs). They had asked me to give them some background on myself so I was talking about how I taught myself how to TRACK cats and I often traveled to the borderlands to TRACK. In the transcript the transcriber (most interviews were taped without interviewees’ consent or awareness) turned TRACK into TRAP so the sentence now read: “… just started looking for lion traps and teaching myself how to trap.” This mistake was supposed to be corrected but as I am quoting from the transcripts provided in my FOIA request it obviously wasn’t. The next mistake occurred in the summary notes written by one of the USFWS SAs regarding my last interview. In it the SA writes, “BRUN said she was the only one carrying the scat that day and was the only one aware of scat placed at the snare that eventually caught the jaguar.” The first part of that sentence is true but the last part is false, I did not say that. I, McCain, and Smith were all aware that McCain directed me to place scat out by this snare and that I followed his directive. Fortunately, the interview was recorded and transcribed correctly. I’ve never understood how such a key point in my case could be interpreted/documented by the SA in such a blatantly wrong way.

Motion to Dismiss

For close to a year I was constantly preparing for trial. The AZ U.S. Attorneys Office had balked at my attorney’s offer of Diversion in the beginning and I reciprocated when they offered me a plea deal. My attorney was curious as to why the U.S. Attorneys Office was so intent on prosecuting me since I had followed my supervisor’s directive and believed at the time that permits were in place. He spoke to the Assistant U.S. Attorney’s boss about it and she said the push was coming from her boss in Phoenix. Even my pre-trial and diversion officer couldn’t understand why I was being prosecuted after she read the summary of the case file.

My trial was delayed several times for various reasons. One was to prepare for a Motion to Dismiss. Since AZGFD and the USFWS consistently claimed that AZGFD had a permit to intentionally and unintentionally capture a jaguar then why was I charged with Endangered Species violations? One of the permits the agencies cited as their authority to trap Macho B, the Section 6 Agreement, even had a portion authorizing AZGFD to: “use live traps, pitfalls, mistnets, handheld implements, radiotelemetry, videotape, infrared and digital cameras, vocalization tape playback, pit-tags, and other standard, accepted scientific techniques to conduct population surveys, monitor populations, capture, weigh, measure, photograph, map locality and distribution information, and mark and immediately release unharmed at the capture site unlimited numbers of all sex and age classes of mammals.” We argued that the use of scent lures, even jaguar scat, could be defined as a “standard, accepted scientific technique” and it’s use was not prohibited in any of the AZGFD or USFWS permits. In addition, it was questioned why I was being charged because jaguar scat did not capture Macho B, an authorized AZGFD snare did. Furthermore, several AZGFD and USFWS officials had knowledge of Macho B’s presence near the snares and chose not to shut them down and all preparations for Macho B’s capture, including the placement and activation of the snares were undertaken by AZGFD employees, which included McCain. Also, McCain had sought out jaguar scat from zoos, had brought the scat to be used in the field, and had directed me to place the scat. So how could I be charged with a violation for following a directive given to me by my supervisor whom was also pulling double duty as a state employee with AZGFD and in the presence of Smith, a state employee? In the end, the Motion to Dismiss was denied by the judge because it was determined what and whom was authorized under the permits would have to be decided by a jury.

Authorized by AZGFD Agent

So I would have to prove my activity was authorized by AZGFD by proving that McCain was their agent at the time he directed me to place the scat. At this point, AZGFD had disowned McCain. But McCain had been an agent of AZGFD prior to the snaring project. He was on the scientific advisory board for the AZGFD/NMGFD Jaguar Conservation Team and AZGFD, along with USFWS were the largest sources of funding for BJDP, a project turned over to McCain. But in regard to the snaring project, McCain’s actual boss, Kirby Bristow viewed McCain as an AZGFD employee/agent wether he was under contract or not. So did Ron Thompson, the guy McCain viewed to be his boss on the snaring project. And according to former AZGFD Endangered Species Coordinator, Terry Johnson:

He (McCain) may not be our employee, but is he our agent? Yeah, he’s our agent, in my opinion…I don’t care that McCain did not submit a billing to his company for his time spent. McCain is out there advising our employees, and we’re responsible for that. We’re responsible for the decisions to reopen the snares. We’re responsible for how the jaguar was handled when it did. We’re responsible for not having our protocols in place.

USFWS SA: “You’re responsible for the scat being placed, if he directed it, if he’s your agent?”

Johnson: “We’re accountable for it.”

And finally, even former AZ U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke viewed McCain to be a state employee. He refers to McCain in a May 15, 2010 Reuters article: “One of the state officials employed to protect our endangered wildlife instead endangered this same wildlife.”

Diversion

My final trial date had been reassigned to April 2011. In March, the Assistant U.S. Attorney prosecuting the case called my attorney and offered Diversion. I took it as the charges were guaranteed to be dropped against me and I would be ensured to have a clean record. I entered a Diversion Agreement with the AZ U.S. Attorneys Office in May 2011. In exchange for taking responsibility for my action of placing scat at a snare as directed (which I had done from the beginning when I reached out to Tony Davis of the AZ Daily Star) the charges would be dropped and I would serve a one year “lite” probation which included not working with big cats during this time period. A Diversion Agreement is NOT a plea agreement and I did not plead guilty to the charges.

My Diversion probation ended May 2012.

Stop the Presses, part 2

The AZ Republic series on Macho B consisted of two additional articles which can be found under the blogroll. Instead of correcting all the factual errors in the series and providing information that contradicts McCain’s claim that AZGFD initiated the attempt to capture Macho B and thus set McCain up (see blog post, “McCain, part 2”), I’m going to consider a few things presented in this series.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think AZGFD employees, specifically Ron Thompson, Terry Johnson, Bill Van Pelt, and Thorry Smith, as well as, Jack Childs all encouraged McCain to trap Macho B and supported the opportunity to do so (see blog posts under all the individuals names). But the victim aspect of McCain’s claim is utter bullshit. With that said, since McCain just publicly admitted to committing a few more felonies with his new confessions that he lied in his USFWS interviews because he was “under Thompson’s influence” and participated in another cover-up within a cover-up because Johnson and Thompson told him to lie about the scat, then what are the legal ramifications that McCain now faces? He is still under probation with the AZ U.S. Attorneys Office. He has a little over two years of probation left. I bet he was hoping that time would be lessened with his latest version of the “truth.” Perhaps he is up to his usual behavior (the Macho B case is not his first time) and is currently embroiled in a blame game somewhere across the Atlantic and now seeks a new “research” opportunity in the U.S?

If AZGFD conspired with McCain to illegally capture Macho B and then conspired to cover-up their intention after I came forward then wasn’t I set up to take the fall for these idiots? I was charged with two Endangered Species violations, McCain only one, and no one from AZGFD was charged. If their conspiracy existed then McCain, Thompson, Johnson, Childs & company have some explaining to do to me, my family, the USFWS Special Agents, and the AZ U.S. Attorneys Office, not to mention, the public.

I have to say it was nice to see Erin Fernandez, Terry Johnson, Ron Thompson, and Jack Childs named as people involved in Macho B’s capture somewhere other than this blog. Though I do wonder how Bill Van Pelt escaped inclusion in this Republic series? And finally… Thompson’s and Childs’ involvement in the tax payer funded, USFWS granted, University of Arizona jaguar study gets some attention. Their continuing involvement in jaguar research epitomizes the corruption and negligence present in some wild cat research in AZ. Especially since Childs had previously violated his Endangered Species permit with the USFWS by not listing McCain or I as permitees for BJDP and not amending his permit to include the use of jaguar scat as a scent lure. And lest I forget, Johnson and Fernandez were also given more attention in another forum about their continuing involvement in jaguar “conservation.” Again, perfect examples of corruption and negligence  with the added bonus of malfeasance.

STOP THE PRESSES

Part one of an investigative series into Macho B’s capture and death was published today in the AZ Republic (see blog roll for link). I spoke with the reporter, Dennis Wagner on one occasion. I decided not to be involved in his article because as I wrote to him:

If your angle is truly about the cover-up that occurred in Macho B’s case regarding state and federal employees not being charged, anything McCain has to say will only take away legitimacy from that argument. McCain knowingly broke the law, lied about, defamed people at an attempt to protect himself and then engaged in his own cover-up with Smith. In an email he stated with regard to catching & collaring a jaguar, ” Yeah, the fucking feds won’t give me permission, so I will just have to accidentally do it.” In another email regarding permits for Macho B’s capture McCain stated, “they (AZGFD) did say they would have never giving (sic) us permission to do it, but are very glad we did…” and with regard to Macho B’s capture McCain stated, “I have to tell you I have pulled a hell of a fast one on the system here. I orchestrated this whole thing… I set the snares and I waited till I knew what was coming. Then I placed a little of my very very special sauce…” The cover-up is an important issue not just in Macho B’s case but is also part of what I suspect to be a larger problem in wildlife conservation. It is too important an issue to be tied into McCain trying to defend his ego by blaming others for his actions. That does nothing for the benefit of the next jaguar or wildlife conservation in general. In fact, considering McCain’s history in wildlife work, his involvement in your article makes a mockery of the serious consequences that occur to wildlife because of incompetent, inexperienced, and arrogant biologists. Please do not quote me in your article.

So, part one of the series was published today, “Who killed Macho B?” And there is McCain doing what he does best, defending himself; “I think that my case is much more one of being ‘lured into a trap’ than that of Macho B…” And then he goes on to say, “Simply put, I was set up.” My quotes about McCain being a fall guy follow seemingly endorsing McCain’s claim to victimhood and my belief he was set up. I do not believe McCain was set up and I certainly do not believe McCain was a victim. Macho B was a victim and he is dead. I do think McCain became the fall guy for AZGFD because he set himself up to be the fall guy when he lied about everything from the beginning. He put himself front and center in that first AZ Daily Star article denying scat was used and attacking me. He gift wrapped himself to AZGFD to be their fall guy. I can only hypothesize that it was a no-brainer for them.

In this article McCain seems to be putting a lot of blame on the guy he considered his boss on the snaring project, Ron Thompson. Based on the emails and interviews I received in my FOIA request and have provided on this blog I do believe Thompson encouraged McCain to go after Macho B. He certainly didn’t stop him. But the examples McCain provides in this article are deceitful.

McCain says Thompson “placed a paper bag in my truck containing fresh jaguar scent…” That is wrong. McCain thought it contained jaguar scent, he gave the bag to me thinking it contained jaguar scent but as I wrote in an email titled, “fake do-do,” to him (provided in my FOIA request): “The bag with male jag shit was actually a bag of wood shavings. Smelled too good to have been shat or pissed upon.” McCain replied: “That’s strange. would have thought Ron would have given me good stuff. maybe he thought there was urine on it…not sure…”

Next, McCain claims an “assistant” was present when Thompson told him: “He stated several times, ‘What you need to do is get a GPS collar on a jaguar — not in Mexico, but in the U.S., on Macho B.’” I contacted the “assistant” whom I believe McCain is referring to this morning and that person denies there was ever such an exchange. It could be a different person McCain is referring to, but he used the moniker “assistant” during that time period and attributed it to the person I contacted.

Now the big one for me is that it was reported there is a Feb. 2, 2009 (16 days before Macho B’s capture) AZGFD report outlining a proposed budget to capture a jaguar: “The draft document announced that Arizona, New Mexico, the USFWS and Jag CT ‘propose to capture, collar (with GPS and satellite technology) and monitor jaguars in this region. To start, likely a jaguar referred to as Macho B would be selected for monitoring.'” WOW! I don’t believe I have ever seen that document. That would have been an important document to have as I was preparing for trial. And if I haven’t seen that document I would like to know why I haven’t. To the best of my knowledge and recollection it was not provided in the disclosure of my case and that would entail that it was a suppressed document. If it wasn’t provided, who the fuck suppressed it?

And lastly, it is reported McCain now claims responsibility for placing scat at the snare. Shit, why didn’t I think of that!

Janay Brun, Part 2

Third week in August 2010: It was a surreal moment for me to sit down at a very long conference table in one my lawyer’s offices and open the first of six extra-large binders full of thousands of pages accumulated because of the investigation I initiated. Even more so because I was about to begin contributing to my own  defense as an honorary legal assistant. As I spent the next week reading the investigation pages I was struck with all the evidence there was for charging other people with crimes (For the USFWS SAs monitoring this blog I can say that because a lot of that evidence was provided in my FOIA request ). What the investigation proved about me was what I had said from the beginning; that I had placed jaguar scat at the direction of my boss, Emil McCain. I had told Tony Davis of the AZ Daily Star and the USFWS SAs that I felt responsible in Macho B’s death because he was snared where I had placed scat at McCain’s direction. It wasn’t until I read Smith’s AZGFD Garrity interview in April 2010, right before I was charged, did I learn that another snare had been built and activated on the trap line, without scat, and Macho B would have been captured there if the snare hadn’t been tampered with.

I consistently used the word “mindless” to describe what I was thinking when I followed McCain’s directive. Today, I view it slightly different as I can remember now that McCain and I were friends, we had worked together for three years, and I trusted him at the time. I never asked McCain or our boss, Jack Childs if I was on BJDP’s Endangered Species permit. I didn’t find out I wasn’t until preparing for my trial. I never asked them if they had a permit for the jaguar scat that they first began using in 2004. Again, it wasn’t until preparing for trial that I found out they didn’t.

In October 2008 McCain called me to ask for advice on where to place snares based on BJDP camera photos of lions and bears because I had seen all the pictures as I was responsible for entering them into the BJDP photo log. I began to give him a few suggestions but then he focused me on the Atascosa camera sites. I gave him a few sites where bears and lions had been photographed and then he brought up Penasco Canyon. He wanted a snare in that canyon in case a new jaguar came in to take over Macho B’s territory if he truly was dead (we hadn’t seen his tracks or photographed him in a year). I didn’t ask him then if he had permits or permission or if a goal of the snaring project was to capture a jaguar. He was my supervisor and if he was talking about snaring a jaguar then he had his bases covered.

On February 4, 2009 when I met McCain and Smith to check BJDP cameras I thought Smith was just along so McCain could show him the area and where the snares were located. I wasn’t told when the snares were going to be opened. McCain and Smith both talk about this in their interviews about “showing” or being “shown” the snare sites on this day. In fact, when we all first met up this morning Smith was talking about how tired he was because he had waited at AZGFD headquarters until late the previous night to pick up the collars for the snaring project but they didn’t arrive. So they didn’t even have lion and bear collars this day.

When we went to the first camera/snare site and I realized Smith was opening the snare I don’t remember any words or discussion about Macho B. It was just obvious that Macho B was being targeted for capture. McCain had just picked up the three new pictures of him the day before, on the last one Macho B was headed this way, south. The only collar they had was the donated jaguar collar. And McCain had brought jaguar scat with him this day and had given it to me to place in the field. You don’t put jaguar scat at cameras or a snare and hope it lures a coyote, skunk, or black bear. Now aside from the personal, ethical, and moral issues which I’ve discussed in this blog and my essay, Truth and Consequences, legally I had no idea what I was being asked to do could be an alleged violation of the Endangered Species Act. This was my direct supervisor, whom I trusted, telling me to do something. It never entered my mind that he was asking me to do something that wasn’t above-board. And if it wasn’t, I didn’t know Smith, but I couldn’t imagine him going along with it and not saying anything. In fact, I don’t remember Smith asking about the scat or questioning it’s use. As I’ve said before and told the USFWS SAs and the Assistant U.S. Attorney, I asked McCain questions about snaring Macho B, his age, and his health. As an after thought, I asked if there were permits and my supervisor told me, “yes.”

There was talk this day about jaguar captures McCain had been apart of; immobilizing drugs for lions and a few comments about jaguars; jaguars breaking their teeth in captures, and a few more discussions that I interpreted as McCain prepping Smith for a jaguar capture. There was no conspiracy talk like, “lets keep this between us,” or “don’t tell anybody about what we’re doing today” or “what happens in Penasco Canyon stays in Penasco Canyon.” The one questionable thing I remember being said was when I asked what the protocols were for alerting AZGFD that Macho B was in the area and Smith replied, “AZGFD doesn’t want to know if a jaguar is around until after the snares are closed or a jaguar is caught.” McCain and Smith both kind of laughed and then changed the subject. I didn’t know if Smith made that up, was it his belief, was it said by his supervisor, or did he hear it from somewhere? I thought it had to do with plausible deniability because AZGFD hadn’t run the capture by all the members on the Jaguar Conservation Team. But if it was a legit comment someone from AZGFD had obviously given these guys the go ahead to snare despite Macho B’s presence. I didn’t think they really weren’t going to tell anyone in AZGFD and in fact McCain emailed USFWS and AZGFD about Macho B’s detections (several of those email recipients were aware of the snaring project) and AZGFD’s Ron Thompson and Bill Van Pelt were made aware that Macho B could be snared.

As I told the USFWS SAs I didn’t know what the whole intent behind the AZGFD snaring project was. By the virtue of AZGFD hiring McCain for the snaring project were they after a jaguar? Or, because they allowed McCain to set snares in known jaguar territory and leave them open after Macho B was detected in the area, plus the availability of the jaguar collar, it all seemed to add up to me that a jaguar capture was on someone’s radar and wish list. McCain had even talked about snaring a jaguar back in October. But, it wasn’t until Davis went to McCain with my statements and McCain outright lied about the use of scat did I realize something wasn’t right, most likely in a legal sense, and that was furthered when Davis and Stellar told me that it was questionable if AZGFD had a permit to intentionally capture a jaguar. As I wrote to a friend in an email during this time: “Apparently, Game and Fish only had a permit for an ‘accidental take’ of a jaguar during any other field study. With the element of scat and a photograph in the area that implies intent and there was no permit issued for Macho B. Thus violation of Endangered Species Act. If you know any good juju chants, now is the time to say them.”

So at this point, April 1, 2009, I believed McCain was a deceitful, evil mastermind that set up Macho B’s illegal capture and that is the prism I viewed him through for the next several years.

Janay Brun, Part 1

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.

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