PORTLAND, Maine (WWLP) – A Massachusetts man was sentenced Wednesday for illegally transporting wild snowshoe hares from Maine to Massachusetts.

Jon Rioux, 36, of Attleboro must serve one year of probation and pay a fine of $10,000. Rioux must also pay $1,843 in restitution to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Investigators discovered in January 2021 that Rioux was soliciting residents in Maine to trap snowshoe hares. Rioux illegally purchased hares on four different occasions and took them back to Massachusetts for Beagle training and field trials. Rioux was arrested on March 16, 2022 by Maine Game Wardens and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agents after he attempted a fifth purchase at the Kennebunk service plaza in Maine.

“Illegally trafficking wildlife across state lines not only exploits public resources it threatens wild populations by creating the potential for disease transmission,” said Edward Grace, Assistant Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement. “We’re grateful for our close collaboration with state partners in Maine to help us enforce laws that protect wildlife resources on behalf of the American public.”

The Massachusetts Environmental Police assisted in the investigation.