September 19, 2014
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (AP) - Two California men have pleaded not guilty to illegally possessing bear gall bladders and claws after they were arrested in a national forest west of Lake Tahoe.
California Fish and Wildlife Warden Mark Michilizzi says Peter Vitali of Pioneer and Arthur Blake of Placerville each face one felony charge and two misdemeanors. They were arrested April 20 after the bear hunting season had closed in the Eldorado National Forest about 25 miles west of Kirkwood.
The two entered pleas at an arraignment Tuesday in El Dorado County Superior Court.
Officers say they had 20 large claws and three gall bladders apparently taken from a mother bear and two cubs.
The bile inside gall bladders is believed by some to have medicinal properties and is sold on the black market.
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