MIRAMICHI (GNB) – A nine-month poaching investigation has led to major fines and jail time for several individuals.

On Dec. 5, Gilles Allain, 59, of Augustin Street in Neguac, was sentenced in Miramichi court for 27 violations under the Fish and Wildlife Act.

Allain pleaded guilty to 12 counts of hunting moose out of season, seven counts of offering moose for sale, four counts of illegal possession of moose and four counts of possession without a cold-storage permit.

He had earlier been sentenced in November 2018 for 10 violations under the Criminal Code of Canada and one violation under the Maritime Provinces Fishery Regulations.

In total, Allain has been levied fines of $54,500 and sentenced to 156 days in jail.

He was one of six people convicted following Operation Meat Bag, a special operation by Department of Public Safety conservation officers that led to arrests in the fall of 2016.

The operation began in March 2016 and ran until December 2016, when 11 search warrants were executed at residences and businesses in the Miramichi and Neguac areas.

As a result of the convictions, Allain will be issued a lifetime ban from acquiring any licences or permits under the Fish and Wildlife Act. He is also prohibited from being on Crown Land for two years.

Five other people convicted in connection with the case received jail sentences ranging from 14 to 70 days and fines ranging from $9,000 to $12,200.

A total of $107,840 in fines and 317 days of jail time were imposed in relation to the case.‎

A number of items seized as part of the investigation have been forfeited to the Crown, including two half-ton trucks, 40 moose racks, 25 rifles and one pistol.

Anyone who sees or is aware of illegal activities related to natural resources, such as illegal hunting or fishing or the theft of wood, is asked to contact a conservation officer through their local office of the Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development, or to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).