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Hutterites reach plea agreement in grizzly case

By Associated Press
Published On: Sep 05 2013 07:51:39 AM MDT
GREAT FALLS, Mont. -

 Five members of a northern Montana Hutterite colony and the colony itself have reached plea agreements in a case involving the illegal possession of grizzly bears.
    
The Great Falls Tribune reports the men each agreed to plead guilty to a federal misdemeanor count of possessing a grizzly bear, a threatened species. The agreements, filed Tuesday, call for the men to pay a total of $19,000 in restitution to the state.
    
The Pondera Hutterite Colony, as a corporation, has agreed to plead guilty to possessing a sow and yearling grizzly. The U.S. Attorney's Office says it won't recommend more than a $20,000 fine.
    
Colony attorney Mac Smith says he will argue for lower fines during a hearing on the plea agreement. The hearing has not been scheduled.
    
The men were not charged with killing the bears.