April 14, 2005
Reserve, New Mexico – A former Catron County outfitter was sentenced to
serve nine years in jail Wednesday after she pleaded guilty to racketeering and
fraud in connection with an illegal hunting operation.
Rita Floyd, 54, pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering, a second-degree
felony; one count of fraud over $2,500, a third-degree felony; and two
misdemeanor counts of outfitting without a license. She originally was charged
with 101 counts, including 60 felonies, for her role in an illegal scheme to
sell hunts to out-of-state hunters.
Seventh Judicial District Court Judge Matthew Reynolds sentenced Floyd to 18
years in jail, with 9 suspended, followed by five years probation to be served
concurrently with two years of parole. It is believed to be one of the harshest
sentences ever handed down in New Mexico for a wildlife-related crime.
The criminal complaint alleged that Floyd, along with her partner, Celeste Core,
forged licenses and sold hunts for deer, elk, bear, mountain lions, bobcats and
turkeys to numerous out-of-state hunters on eBay, over the telephone and by
e-mail. The fraud charges included allegations that after receiving money for
the hunts, Floyd and Core did not provide a hunt at all, did not provide the
services advertised, or did not provide the type of hunt that was promised.
Floyd and Core, formerly of Pleasanton, N.M., operated Get Gold Adventures and
Outfitters. Floyd was arrested in February 2006 in Sonora, Calif., where she was
on probation for previous felony convictions, and returned to New Mexico. Core,
55, was arrested in Pleasanton and is scheduled for trial Dec. 4, also in the
Seventh Judicial District Court in Reserve. The arrests followed an
investigation by the Department of Game and Fish that began in October 2004 when
two Minnesota hunters noticed something wrong with their licenses and called a
The Catron County Sheriff's Office, District Attorney's Office, New Mexico State
Police, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service assisted the Department of Game
and Fish in the case.
The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish encourages citizens to report
poaching and other wildlife-related crimes by calling the Department's toll-free
Operation Game Thief, (800) 432-4263. Callers can remain anonymous and receive
rewards if charges are filed.