A man charged with violating 21 wildlife laws while on a big-game hunting spree in Alaska last year has been arrested by Washington state authorities, Alaska State Troopers said Tuesday.
Washington State Patrol officers discovered Joseph Querin, 53, in the Pacific County Jail, where he had been incarcerated earlier this month on several other charges, including possessing methamphetamine.
Querin has been sought by Alaska troopers on a $10,000 arrest warrant since April, when he failed to appear at his arraignment on charges including unlawful possession of big game, being a nonresident hunting without a guide, and multiple license and tag violations.
Alaska troopers sent a warrant to Washington law enforcement authorities Monday, and Querin was served with it in jail, said troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters.
Querin and Carson Kemmer, 24, killed a moose, caribou, brown bear and two Dall sheep while hunting along the Dalton Highway and Turnagain Arm without the proper licenses, Alaska troopers say, and failed to salvage all the edible meat. They also took undersized animals, among other violations, troopers say.
Kemmer pleaded no contest Oct. 12 to six violations; prosecutors agreed to drop another 16 charges. Both men are from Ocean Park, Wash.
"As far as noncommercial violations go, it's one of the more serious instances I've seen," troopers investigator Robert Welch said. "It ranks up there because of the deliberate nature."
Querin has been in jail since Oct. 4, when Washington authorities stopped his vehicle because he did not have a seat belt on, said Lt. Steve Smeland of the Washington State Patrol.
The arresting officer discovered Querin was driving with a suspended driver's license and didn't have auto insurance, Smeland said. He was also wanted on another misdemeanor warrant. And patrol officers found methamphetamine in the vehicle, Smeland said.
"It looks like it might have been a trace amount, like in a pipe or something, but there was meth and it's still illegal," Smeland said.
Authorities will now have to work out how the charges in both states will be handled and whether Querin will be extradited to Alaska, Peters said.
As part of Kemmer's plea agreement, an Alaska judge sentenced him to 440 days in prison, fined him $50,000 and ordered him to pay nearly $6,000 in restitution. The prison time and $27,500 of the fines were suspended but can be re-imposed if Kemmer violates Alaska wildlife laws during a five-year probation period.
"When you see a case like this, all the people in the state are affected," Welch said. "These animals are resources of the state of Alaska. You don't just have to be a hunter to be affected by this."