Federal Case Closed Against Togiak Men Accused of Illegal Walrus Take On Round Island

Jan 16, 2014

The two Togiak men accused of an illegal, wasteful harvest of walrus have now been convicted in both state and federal courts.

DILLINGHAM:   Jessie Arnariak, 50, of Togiak was sentenced in federal court this week to 15 months in prison for his role in the illegal take of walrus on Round Island in May 2011.  

Arnariak and codefendant Sixty Arkanakyak, 49, were both indicted on the federal charges in December 2012. Arkanakyak was sentenced to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty following the indictment.

The two are guilty of violating the Lacey Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the Conspiracy statute, after they shot into a herd of walruses, wounding at least five and killing one. The men took only the skull and tusks from the dead walrus and left the meat and other salvageable parts to waste.

Arnariak received credit for time already served, and will likely spend about the next three months in prison.

State prosecutors brought several separate charges against both men for the same incident, relating to hunting outside of the provided harvest season and being under the influence of alcohol. Arnariak and Arkanakyak each plead guilty to some of the state's charges.

For guilty pleas to alcohol importation, DUI, and failing to have the appropriate permit to access Walrus Island, Jessie Arnariak was sentenced to about nine months in jail, $7500 in fines, and several years of probation.

Sixty Arkanakyak plead guilty to importation of alcohol, using weapons while intoxicated, and failing to have Walrus Island permits. He was sentenced to about eight months in jail, $3000 in fines, and will also spend several years on probation.