A Roswell man who authorities said chased a herd of pronghorn antelope with an off-road vehicle has been given a six-month suspended jail sentence for harassing wildlife.
Enrico Amaya, 28, of the 600 block of Pine Street, was arrested Aug. 11 by a New Mexico Department of Game and Fish conservation officer stationed in Roswell.
The Department of Game and Fish said tips from the public resulted in Amaya’s arrest after he reportedly had been seen on multiple occasions this month chasing a herd of pronghorns with his four-wheel, off-highway vehicle in a pasture in west Roswell, near Cielo Grande Recreation Area.
The Department of Game and Fish said Cpl. Tyson Sanders identified, questioned and arrested Amaya. A video camera and digital media card was confiscated from Amaya, the Department of Game and Fish said.
According to court records, one witness said Amaya and a female passenger chased herds of pronghorn at high speeds for over an hour in road-less pastures near Cielo Grande Recreation Area.
The witness, a retired police officer, said he recorded the chase and confronted Amaya.
“(The witness) advised that as he talked to the individual driving the off-highway vehicle, the herd of pronghorn stood in the middle of West College Boulevard with their tongues out and were breathing heavily and appeared to be exhausted,” states an affidavit for Amaya’s arrest.
Sanders said others posted reports on Facebook of the pronghorn being harassed by Amaya.
Sanders wrote in Amaya’s arrest affidavit that continued chasing of pronghorns during the summer heat could have led to exhaustion and death of the game animals.
“Affiant has learned that a pronghorn antelope can run at a speed of approximately 60 mph,” Sanders wrote. “They cannot maintain this speed for extended periods of time and harassment of this type of exertion could cause it to die. With a summer temperature in the 90s on Aug. 10, and newborn fawns on the ground, increased exertion can often be fatal to pronghorn antelope.”
Amaya on Tuesday afternoon waived his right to a jury trial and a defense attorney, and pleaded no contest to the petty misdemeanor charge of harassment of protected wildlife. He was sentenced Tuesday by Chaves County Magistrate Judge K.C. Rogers to a suspended 182-day jail sentence, while under supervised probation. He was also ordered by Rogers to enroll in the Chaves County jail’s alternative educational program and to pay $173 of court fees and a fine.
On July 31, Amaya pleaded no contest in Chaves County magistrate court to a petty misdemeanor charge of careless driving.