Men accused of harming endangered species at Death Valley plead - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Men accused of harming endangered species at Death Valley plead guilty

Updated:
A security camera photo shows the three suspects at Death Valley. (Source: Death Valley National Park) A security camera photo shows the three suspects at Death Valley. (Source: Death Valley National Park)
The Devils Hole pupfish is shown in an undated image. (Source: Death Valley National Park) The Devils Hole pupfish is shown in an undated image. (Source: Death Valley National Park)
The Devils Hole water surface is shown in an undated image. (Source: Death Valley National Park) The Devils Hole water surface is shown in an undated image. (Source: Death Valley National Park)
DEATH VALLEY, CA (FOX5) -

Two men who entered guilty pleas after they were accused of harming an endangered species and vandalizing government equipment at Devils Hole at Death Valley National Park are scheduled to be sentenced in February. 

Edgar Reyes, of North Las Vegas, and Steven Schwinkendorf, of Pahrump, pleaded guilty to destruction of government property for their actions at Devils hole on April 30, 2016. Officials said they discharged a firearm and damaged government equipment, including locks, the security system, scientific monitoring equipment and several signs. 

They agreed to pay $5,622. 83 in restitution and face a potential maximum penalty of up to one year in prison and/or a fine of $100,000 for the charge.

A spokesperson for Death Valley National Park said Devils Hole is the only natural habitat for the critically endangered Devils Hole fish pup. There were only 115 fish in the most recent survey. A shallow sunlit shelf provides most of the fish's food and is the only play they lay eggs. 

Both men reportedly went down to the water surface. Reyes put his hand in the water and Schwinkendorf vomited near the pool. 

Both men pleaded guilty to violating the Endangered Species Act, which carries a potential maximum penalty of up to one year in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000. 

Sentencing for the men is scheduled to take place on Feb. 14 and Feb. 15. 

Another man, identified as Trenton Sargent, of Indian Springs, has been charged with destruction of government property, violating the Endangered Species Act, a felon in possession of ammunition, and a felon in possession of a firearm. Officials allege he waded through the shallow shelf. 

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