Yellowstone Vandalism Suspect Charged With Drone Crime In Colorado
One defendant with the High on Life group charged with violating Yellowstone National Park rules in May was charged with another illegal act in Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado the month before.
On April 2, Charles Ryker Gamble of Vancouver, B.C., was charged with operating a drone within Mesa Verde, which is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine, according to the court records filed in Colorado U.S. District Court.
However, the federal charges were not filed until Sept. 13.
According to federal court records, A Mesa Verde ranger patrolling the the park saw three men in an enclosed area . When he approached the pullout near their location, he saw a light-colored drone flying above them. He waited for them to land the drone and identified Gambe as its owner and operator. The other two men were not identified.
A ranger also gave Gamble a verbal warning about entering a closed area.
Gamble appeared in federal court in Durango, Colo., on Sept. 13, and was represented by Laramie attorney Thomas Fleener who called the court. Gamble pleaded not guilty to the charge. The government did not seek detention.
Gamble and two other men from British Columbia, and one other man from New Zealand also face charges for walking on the sensitive Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park.
On May 14, they video-recorded themselves reading the signs in Yellowstone National Park warning visitors to stay on the boardwalk, and then recorded themselves walking on the Grand Prismatic Spring. They posted the video on their website. After the incident garnered international outrage, they issued an apology and took down their website until early July.
They are scheduled to make their initial appearance and arraignment in the federal court building in Mammoth Hot Springs on Nov. 1. If convicted, they each face up to six months imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine.
Fleener and federal prosecutors want to settle all the charges against the defendants in federal court in Mammoth Hot Springs.