Members of a Methow Valley ranch family accused of poaching protected wolves and smuggling their hides out of the country pleaded not guilty, and face federal trial in September.
Twisp-area rancher William D. White, his son Tom D. White and daughter-in-law Erin White all entered pleas June 30 in U.S. District Court. Tom White faces charges of unlawfully taking an endangered species in the 2008 killings of two wolves. His father is charged with conspiring to unlawfully take an endangered species and making a false statement to U.S. Fish and Wildlife investigators.
Erin White, Tom White’s wife, faces charges of false labeling of wildlife for export. All three also face smuggling and unlawful export charges.
The family was not jailed after their June 7 indictment, and appeared in court under summons. Their trial is set for Sept. 6, with federal public defenders assigned to represent them.
The three are accused of killing and seeking to ship the remains of two endangered gray wolves from the Methow Valley Lookout Pack. Suspicion fell on the family after Erin White sought to ship a package to Canada in December 2008 containing parts of the dead animals, according to investigators.
The wolves were on the federal Endangered Species list at the time the poaching is believed to have taken place; they were delisted in the eastern Washington region earlier this year. It remains illegal to hunt wolves anywhere in the state.
Jefferson Robbins: 664-7123