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Any charges reported in these press releases are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
UPDATE: On 6/4/2018, Thomas G. Shankster was sentenced in the Aniak court after pleading guilty to four of eight original charges as a result of a plea agreement. The four misdemeanor charges pled guilty to are two counts of a Guide- Aiding in the Commission of Violation and two counts of Guide- Fail to Report Violation. He received 600 days in jail with 570 days suspended. Following his release from jail, Shankster is ordered to be on probation for a year. Shankster was also fined a total of $35,000 with none suspended.
This case was the result of many hours of field patrol and follow up investigation by the Alaska Wildlife Troopers. The penalties imposed by the court show how serious the court and state of Alaska take the statutes and regulations involving resource protection, big game hunting and guiding in our state.
ORIGINAL RELEASE: On 12/23/15, the Office of Special Prosecutions, Fish and Game Unit, Charged Master Guide Thomas G. Shankster, 60 of Aurora CO, with eight counts of Unlawful Acts while acting as a Big Game guide in Game Management Unit (GMU) 19. This investigation began during the fall of 2014, where the Alaska Wildlife Troopers, McGrath Post, accomplished an investigation regarding Shankster and his guiding business “Alaska Trophy Hunts” (ATH) which is primarily based near the Mouth of the Dillinger River and substantiated that Shankster had committed the crime of Wanton Waste on at least five occasions (both Moose and Caribou), failed to report two known violations by his assistant guides (sub-legal sheep and antlers before meat), and committed Unsworn Falsification on at least one Hunt Record showing that meat had been salvaged when in fact it hadn’t. Spoiled meat samples were collected from three caribou and three moose and three sets of caribou antlers, three sets of moose antlers, and a sub legal set of sheep horns were seized as part of the investigation. The scope of this investigation was substantial, requiring extensive asset usage, including both fixed-wing and helicopter, and involved intensive man-power (nearly 1,000 hours) from nine Alaska Wildlife Troopers. At least 41 separate witness and/or suspect interviews were conducted for the investigation in addition to essential evidentiary compilation and a lengthy report documenting the illegal acts. Shankster is to be arraigned in the Aniak District Court on January 20, 2016.
Posted on 12/23/2015 2:18:26 PM by DPS\mdcloward