MISSOULA - A husband and wife have reached plea agreements with prosecutors on charges that they illegally killed dozens of animals in the Seeley Lake area.
Under the agreement, Dean Ruth pleaded guilty Monday to four felony counts of illegally killing wildlife. His wife, Renita Ruth, pleaded guilty to one felony poaching count and one misdemeanor charge of helping a nonresident get a state hunting license.
Prosecutors said they would dismiss other felony counts against the Ruths and seek more than $19,300 in restitution.
Assistant Attorney General Barb Harris, who prosecuted the case, said she did not plan on seeking jail time for Renita Ruth.
District Judge John Henson will sentence the couple later this summer.
Authorities say the Ruth family was involved in an extensive poaching ring that included charges that they took cash to help exchange illegal hunts for nonresidents.
Dean Ruth was sentenced in February to four months in federal prison for violating the Lacey Act, which regulates the interstate sale, purchase and transportation of wildlife.
Ruth's nephew, Gale M. Ruth Jr., who was convicted on two counts for his role in helping arranging the hunts, was sentenced to two months of house arrest and four years probation.
The two men were convicted by a federal jury in October. Authorities accused them of helping arrange a hunting trip for Nicola Alfeo of rural Kennerdell, Pa.
Authorities said Alfeo paid Gale Ruth Jr.'s father $500 to help set up the trip, and ultimately paid Dean Ruth $1,800 to help him shoot mule deer and antelope. Alfeo pleaded guilty in the case and testified against the Ruths.
A raid of Dean Ruth's Seeley Lake property in November 2002 turned up evidence of more than 100 illegally killed animals, along with hundreds of photographs of the Ruths and others, including Alfeo, posing with dead animals.
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