Three Men Arrested For Trashing Death Valley Park Area and Killing Endangered Fish

la-1463144937-snap-photoWe have been discussing the scourge of graffiti and destruction by vandals in our national parks. The lack of deterrence was vividly shown by the laughable fine given to actress Vanessa Hudgens for defacing a rock wall. An exception to this dismal enforcement may be the case of three men who were caught on video drunkenly vandalizing Death Valley National Park and possibly causing the death of an endangered Devils Hole pupfish. Steven Schwinkendorf, Edgar Reyes and Trenton Sargent are all facing felony charges including killing of an endangered species, destruction of habitat, trespassing, and destruction of property. One is charged with the crime of an ex-felon possessing a firearm.

On the evening of April 30, the three men allegedly broke into the 40-acre Devils Hole Unit of Death Valley National Park. According to prosecutors, they shot at locks and the unit’s security system before trashing the area. The park rangers found cans, vomit, and a pair of “dirty” boxer shorts in the Devils Hole pool. That last disgusting item may be key to the case. The rangers have done DNA testing and also found a dead pupfish in the small pool. They also have the surveillance footage which not only shows one of the men wading in the water but also the off-road vehicle later tracked to Schwinkendorf.

240px-Cyprinodon_diabolisPolice say that the men were shooting rabbits for run before they decided to break into Devils hole. In April, there were only 115 of these fish alive . . . now 114.

You can see the surveillance video here.

34 thoughts on “Three Men Arrested For Trashing Death Valley Park Area and Killing Endangered Fish”

  1. Do all of us a favor–go garden. I suspect the toxic substances, used to spray your vegetation, have clouded your mind. Your paranoid comments, regarding the government and paid shills on this blog, tells us that you are not playing with a full deck. This article is devoid of any political context, yet your compromised mind sees fit to somehow dredge up wholly unrelated political references. I’m sure the home, to which you are institutionalized, has lovely gardens. You don’t own it. You merely live there.

  2. bam-bam, I happen to own my own home in the historic district of a very genteel and venerated town. We’ve done extensive renovations over the years and I’m quite proud of the landscaping, which I do myself.

    I say this not boast, but to prove, to a certainty, that you have no idea about your talking about – no matter what you’re talking about. Frankly, you’re nothing but a waste of time.

    I’d rather be gardening.

  3. Mr. Schulte, I am not paid for my participation here. I would like to be, however, and wonder what the going rate is. How much are you getting paid? I figure I’d be worth more because I could dod a much better job than you.

    Incidentally, I’m not all that high on Clinton; I tally well with the study that shows both candidates are equally disliked.

    Oh, and Trump is the distillation of conservative politics that began 35-40 years ago. You’re fooling yourself if you think otherwise. In fact, the biggest gripe conservatives have with Trump is that he’s exposed conservative ideology and laid it bare for all to see. Your comment suggests that you don’t like the reflection.

  4. Agua deOro -do you get paid by Hillary to knock conservatives as well as Trump? Conservatives are not in play this year. BTW, how safe has Obama/Biden kept us

  5. Agua

    Obviously, you are too poor to own a house of your own and are, therefore, incapable of relating to this story, personally, by drawing the simplest of analogies to a breach of security in your home. Those of us, fortunate enough not to be relegated to living a miserable existence in squalor and public housing, live in houses for which we have worked for years to maintain and acquire. As our most valuable asset, responsible individuals have functioning security systems on those precious assets, known as homes, where a breach in the security system triggers an immediate alarm, notifying a central station and dispatching law enforcement. That is the reason behind purchasing and maintaining said security system–to protect the object, along with its inhabitants. Response time is, obviously, critical to protect and save both the inhabitants and the contents from harm, theft and destruction. There is nothing political here. Zero. Trying to twist this incident into some political bs is ridiculous. This is, in my opinion, a simple contractual issue. If there was, in fact, a security system, which is specifically noted in the article, and said system was functional and in effect, where the security system was monitored by a company paid to perform such duties, then the problems could’ve been mitigated by a more rapid response time. The article seems to indicate that the authorities arrived long after the security breach. That was my point. Not too difficult to grasp. My only question was whether reliable monitoring could’ve allowed responders catch these criminals in the act. Again, if you are unfamiliar with how this works in your own everyday life, a timely response in dispatching law enforcement is expected by those in a contractual relationship with the security service. The only question, in this particular instance, is whether or not the security system was linked to a monitoring station? That’s not a political issue, unless, or course, you don’t agree with a free market system, where the ability to freely form contracts for goods and services exists.

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  7. Steg – In terms of the Devil’s Hole ecosystem, the pupfish is a major player fulfilling a role that no other creature on earth can perform.

    The species certainly deserves study for its ability to survive extreme changes in climate conditions

  8. Although this was a terrible act, we don’t actually *need* the Pupfish. If there are only 114 now left, it wasn’t really serving any major ecological function that hasn’t already been filled by another species.

  9. The problem with the judicial system is that it is one size fits all. You commit a crime and, regardless of the type of crime, you go to jail and/or pay a fine. A page should be taken from Sharia law where the punishment should fit the crime. The bimbo who carved her initials on the rock should be made to sand it off and restore the surface to its former condition. This should be overseen by the appropriate people and their salaries should be paid for by the bimbo. She should also be forced to pay a minimum of $10,000 in fines to go towards the cause of restoring natural works of art that have been defaced by her ilk. This would put her in direct contact with her mindless actions.

    These three idiots should be made to work for an extended length of time doing the same work that would offset the damage they did and overseen by officials with salaries paid for by their fines. The punishment should fit the crime and society should not be left to pay for incarceration which does nothing but add to the problem. These dolts will come out of jail worse than when they went in.

    The punishment should fit the crime and the administration of said punishment should be paid for directly by these idiots. This would make a greater and longer lasting impact on those whose first reaction when seeing nature is to deface it. The story of what happened to other idiots would make a greater impact than a mere jail sentence and fines. Perhaps one idiot about to deface nature would happen upon another idiot cleaning his or her mess.

  10. bam-bam’s comment encapsulates the naive assumption that the enemies of American government (AKA: conservatives) have drilled into a poorly educated public, specifically that government should be 100% effective at all times.

    By any rational standard, this was effective detection and policing. The government can’t post security personnel everywhere all the time, this was a relatively isolated location where most visitors are respectful and considerate of the setting and vandalism is rare. The idea of posting security in such a place would have normally drawn peels of ridicule and criticism from most commenters here.

    Once again, the flavor of the kool-aid is revealed: criticizing governments failure to measure up to an unrealistically high impossible standard. Funny how you guys refuse to hold the Bush administration to the same standard for allowing the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

    Have a chug and tell us how Bush/Cheney kept us safe.

  11. Hey RosieS,

    Yes we do prefer smaller government and lower tax, we don’t have that now so what’s your point?
    You mean larger government and more tax will put Hilly in the clink? If that’s the case I’ll bare the pain of both.

  12. Young men with learning disorders tend to engage in highly destructive activities. The best way to reduce the prevalence of learning disorders is to make birth control and abortion easily available. The more the right wing obstructs birth control and abortion, the more young men there will be engaging in destructive activities. While the right intends to suppress women, they are instead facilitating the proliferation of learning disorders. The best way to “choose life” is to condemn military engagement.

  13. Simply Trump voters angry at government overreach and making a point with their firearms and drunkenness. Pupfish? We don’t need no stinking pupfish! Maybe these cretins should be forced to wear their ‘dirty’ boxers on their head for a long period of time.

  14. We are meeting this week at the George Washington Univ Law School to discuss school censorship of free speech.

  15. Rosie,
    Great point! When, if ever this bloated administrative state decides to allocate resources efficiently and effectively then we will see a government capable of fulfilling their constitutional duties. Until then, we are stuck with this progressive monstrosity called the Unites States government.

  16. bam bam

    Haven’t you heard? Americans prefer small government and low taxes. Both policies impact government response.

  17. They shot at the locks and the security system?? What good is a surveillance system if there isn’t some manner in which to respond, in real time, to those who breach the boundaries, break locks, enter illegally and damage and/or destroy property? Where were the alarms? Was there no monitoring station which could’ve been notified, immediately, as to the area being compromised, thereby allowing the authorities to respond sooner? No dispatch, in a timely manner, to halt the mayhem? Only a discovery, well after the incident, of the destruction? Yes, the security system provided assistance in identifying the criminals–that’s, obviously, a plus, but the breach of security should’ve initiated an immediate dispatch of law enforcement to the area. From reading the few facts provided, that doesn’t appear to have been the case.

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