Cameron County man accused of hunting, killing alligator at wildlife refuge

Jesus Collins Rios

A Cameron County man accused of dragging and killing an alligator out of the Laguna Atascosa Wildlife Refuge remains jailed at a Cameron County facility.

Jesus Collins Rios, age unknown, is charged with one count of hunting without landowner consent and hunting without a license, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department authorities said. His bond is set at $1,000.

On March 12, the TPWD received a call from a passerby that he had seen a man dragging an alligator out the marshland toward his vehicle, said TDWS spokesperson Jen Shugert, providing information on the incident.

The witness called the department’s Game Thief Hotline, reporting the incident to authorities.

“Within two hours, Texas Game Wardens Cody Levy and Dillon Eizember used that critical information to find the suspect’s residence,” Shugert said.

Although the wardens went to Rios’ residence, he was not there. He and his vehicle were located at a nearby residence, where the “suspect confessed to baiting and killing the alligator in the Laguna Atascosa Refuge,” Shugert said.

Rios was taken into custody and booked at a Cameron County jail. As of Tuesday, he remained in custody at the facility.

Operation Game Thief is Texas’ Wildlife Crime-Stoppers Program, offering rewards of up to $1,000 for information leading to the conviction of a wildlife crime, according to TPWD.

As a function of the Law Enforcement division of The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the program focuses on curtailing poaching in Texas.

The TPWD urges the public to call OGT or Operation Game Thief hotline at (800)-792-4263 if they witness a wildlife crime or know information related to one.