Mendocino Man Allegedly Killed Leopard and Tried to Falsify Records in Order to Get Its Skin and Skull Home

Stock photo of a leopard skin.

Stock photo of a leopard skin. [By SagarPaudel68 via Wikimedia Commons]

Press release from the Department of Justice: 

 A federal grand jury indicted Adam Thatcher Lawrence today with importing wildlife contrary to law and mislabeling wildlife intended for importation, announced Acting United States Attorney Alex G. Tse and United States Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement Region 8 Assistant Special Agent in Charge Daniel Crum.

            According to the indictment, Lawrence, 38, of Willits, Calif., traveled to the Republic of South Africa in August 2011, where he hunted and killed a leopard.  Leopards are a protected species under both the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq., and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, an international treaty to which the United States, South Africa, and Mozambique are signatories.

The indictment alleges Lawrence did not have the required permits to kill the leopard in South Africa, or to bring the leopard back into the United States.  Lawrence allegedly secretly transported the leopard’s skin and skull into the Republic of Mozambique in May 2012 and thereafter falsely claimed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that he had hunted and killed the leopard in Mozambique in 2012.  Lawrence then allegedly applied for permit paperwork from Mozambique, South Africa, and the United States in order to import the leopard skin and skull into the United States; each document falsely stated that the leopard was killed in Mozambique.  The indictment alleges that in April 2013, Lawrence imported the leopard parts into the United States based on his false statements.  In sum, Lawrence was charged with one count of importing wildlife contrary to law, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 545 and 18 U.S.C. § 2(b), and one count of mislabeling wildlife intended for importation, in violation of 16 U.S.C. §§ 3372(d) and 18 U.S.C. § 2(b).

            Lawrence is scheduled to make his initial appearance in federal court in Oakland on January 18, 2018.

            An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, Lawrence faces a maximum sentence of twenty years’ imprisonment, and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution, for a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 545 and a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment, and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution, for a violation of 16 U.S.C. §§ 3372(d).  However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

            Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Lloyd-Lovett is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Vanessa Quant.  The prosecution is the result of a three-year investigation by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement.



  • It’s just a predator/ cat. Leave the Guy alone.

  • Not a peta person

    This type of bs gives hunters a bad name. Hang em high.

    • Precisely, Trophy Hunters are what most people associate hunting with!!! I have been a gun owner / hunter for most of my life but I am a subsistence hunter not a trophy hunter!!! I don’t kill something I can’t eat!!!

      • No such thing as a subsistence hunter in California. You have a sport hunting license. Unless you are native. There is no subsistence hunting in California.

        You ever keep the antlers off any of the deer you killed. If you did, you’re a trophy hunter.

        • Actually. you are required to keep the antlers, from your kill, with your Ca Deer hunting tag attached!!! So much for THAT theory!!!!

        • [Edit] I fill my freezer with elk/deer/fish and buy 0 pounds of beef every year. Fuck factory farms. People shouldn’t eat meat unless they or a friend or family member harvests it wild or raise it at home. If every one practiced this, all big ranches could be restored to their natural habitat and repopulated with the original fauna and flora. I know that will never happen, but I can dream.

          P.S. Does anyone have any problem hogs they need removed? I’m getting low on bacon.

          • Hunted meat is way more ethical than the factory farmed stuff. Especially pig meat. I think many people still don’t realize the incredible suffering involved, for both animals and workers.

          • Enjoy your CJD. Those prions thank you.

            • Not sure what cjd has to do with hunting. My elk meat is blood tested every year for CWD and I know how to look for hydatic cysts. And if you’re going to eat any omnivorous game meat, always cook througoughly to avoid trichinosis. A person is way more likely to develop cjd from blood transfusion, sperm donation, or hereditarily than from eating wild game meat. Traveling trophy hunters suck for the most part, especially if they are just after a head. This poacher should have to face the consequences for his crimes.

          • Most of my meat is wild too. But I still enjoy a nice ribeye and going out to sushi

            • You are probably healthier than 99% of the population the way you eat. Respect!

              • Going vegan is the healthiest thing you can do for your body and the planet, but if you must eat meat, then ethical hunts are ok. I don’t like the killing of ANY animals, but if you do it the way are Native American ancestors did with respect and honor, without ego and machismo and bragging, then I have no problem with it. Trophy hunters, on the other hand, are simply the lowest human trash.

          • I can see all the people from the cities entering their Central Parks with loaded rifle’s and blasting away trying to provide food for their families. Ha ha ha

  • [edit] 20 yrs or the other 5 is ridiculous. He should get no more than two with 3 yrs probation. Fu$% the Federal sentencing guidelines and extreme imprisonment sentencing.

  • he killed a protected species. let him fry. and the punishment fits the crime for sure. what a sad loss of a beautiful cat.

    • Agreed, Mike Gottfried! So sad what some people think of as “sport”… it’s high time we ban all trophy killing!

  • Donny jr. would be sooo proud…blaagh….cold hearted evil basturds!


  • We still haven’t found the criminal that shot and killed the zebra out in Petrolia. These wild animals are endangered and if not they will be. It’s sad that big game hunting is the ultimate trophy.

  • I met Mr. Lawrence when he was a real estate broker in Willits. I didn`t like him much. Among other things he said he “hated growers”. Rather odd viewpoint since at that time 80% of his commission came from growers or hopeful growers. Also thought it was funny when the heroes in a CAMP helicopter got it together to spy on a lady using an outdoor shower. I guess it`s OK to be peeping tom if one is a cop, in his view.

    So….he traveled to Africa to kill something just because he enjoyed killing it…….. Great fun I guess. Personally, I hope he does some big numbers of hard time — and gets soaked with a fine that leaves him living under a bridge.

    This isn`t hunting deer or ducks or elk. This is killing for the sake of killing.

  • Don’t some people get less time than that for killings humans?

    • Who cares about humans? There doesn`t seem to be any shortage of those nasty things. They`re increasing at a rate of around 12,000 tons per day. This is 8 1/2 tons per minute of new humans.


      • got to feed all these new arrivals, do you have a recipe for leopard meat, stew chops stir fry, jerkey, sumthin we sure dont want any more meat to go to waste.

    • Only if they do it within Humboldt County lines.

  • Big game hunting is for cowards, now hunting ISIS, that was fun.

  • Gasquet: you’re saying it’s ok to kill a predator. If we applied that logic to male homo sapiens & killed the predators in their ranks, the number of human males would be seriously thinned. Better rethink your position.

  • Man how dumb is that guy!

  • i know adam lawrence.he is a good man .he honest hard working man got 3 lega jobs leopard are common in south africa and mazambique.not endangared.i live in africa they got banana republic paperwork and rocords. this u s attorney is on a political witchhunt good luck adam. this is 6 year old bull shit

    • Anyone who engages in trophy hunting of endangered animals is NOT a “good man”. What a bunch of b.s. This is not bullshit, this is poaching and it needs to be punished to the full extent of the law!

  • He’s no better than you dope growers,takin water from the rivers,rat poison thats killin the wildlife etc.

  • How about a picture of Mr. Lawrence?

  • always kill with a permit, it makes it OK

  • African villagers that share their land with big predators and wildlife love big game hunter. they provide income and jobs. Predators kill their livestock and wildlife trample and consume the crops.the money that villagers make from the big game hunts counted balance the damages the wildlife.

    • So as we humans continue to increase, we should kill of everything that gets in our way. Looks like we`re going to see the end of elephants in Africa soon; some rhinos are already extinct. Tigers are on their way out; most likely we`ll see their end. We really don`t need these things; lots of elephants in cartoons so who needs real ones? Lots of other things we should get rid of and have a good time killing them. What a rush to kill the last living elephant!

      The irony is, we humans are a lot closer to extinction than almost everyone realizes. Of course we`ll take a lot of other innocent animals with us, which is sad. When we`re either extinct or a few miserable bands eking out an existence of our “civilization” — all those things we so revile will be doing quite well. Snakes, spiders, scorpions, coyotes, rats, cockroaches, and yes, likely even ravens, crows and jays — will all be happily living their lives as they were before our sorry lot defiled what was once a wondrous place.

      • I was wondering just last night, what will be the tipping point. When will we humans kill off a species that is actually essential to our own survival as a species?

        • The question should be “What WAS the tipping point?)

          • Wise comment, Anon Forrest. We passed it some time ago. I invite you to look up “Guy McPherson” — he has very good info, well sourced, on where we`re headed with climate.

            Personally, my best guess is that we passed the point of no return for being completely sustainable about 1900. Things are just beginning to move a lot faster now.

            • Agreed. It’s so heartbreaking, John Ripper. Humans and our greed and cluelessness will be the demise of all life on this planet.

      • everything dies including humans sooner or later, as long as there is a dollar to be made on an animals demise, it will be consumed, you can cry snivel an whine, but the old saying money talks, is so true. and if we are growing at a rate of 8 1/2 tons a minute, they may start keeping the rest of the animal that is not trophy material. anybody got any recipes?


        • I will notice, Hogranch! What a closed minded mean comment. Lots of people would notice and care. I am a big cat advocate with a particular interest in African animals. I’m traveling to Africa in May for an eco-safari and I donate lots of money to save big cats. I would notice… I do notice when animals are killed, thus my commenting here. I do not want to live in a world where African animals have all been hunted to extinction. People DO care. Not everyone is a heartless clueless cretin.

  • Commenters get so far off point. I’m an avid hunter. If you dont follow simple rules and laws, we’ll run out of game to hunt. Also these hunts are purely baited and low on skill. He’s simply not smart and should pay the price. Wake up idiots.

  • Pacific Cultivation

    Mr Lawrence has a history of poaching within Mendocino county. He has been implicated in a hunt for hire enterprise on private property in Mendo timberland for taking black tail out of season. Likely these charges will aid in terminating his locally based hired hunting program.

    • Thanks for the info, it’s one of the things I appreciate most about this site

      • I agree with Mike, Thanks for the many insightful comments.
        To hunt for a trophy is wrong. If you don’t eat it, don’t kill it. I used to hunt deer , elk and ducks, but traveling to far off lands to kill baited exotic animals including leopards is not sport. Sounds like Mr. Lawrence is real jerk. Unfortunately the justice system usually favors people with money, and he will probably get a free pass.

    • adam lawrence is not a poacher . he hunt a 30 000 acres ranch with late saeson PLM tags. pacifle cultivation is full of shit

    • Friendly Observer


      When I read this article my first impulse was — if this fellow has no qualms about going to a foreign county to plunder native game — what crimes against wildlife has he committed in Mendocino County or other domestic locations?

      The California Department of Fish and Wildlife should keep a keen eye out for mountain lion pelts when visiting his properties. The illegal activities described in this article sure seem like they’d amount to probable cause to search Mr. Lawrance’s residences.

  • I read a sad story about the last wild buffalo/ bison in the whole USA that was killed… The townspeople Rushed to be the one who killed it! [edit: Honestly, every time I edit, it takes away from putting out quality news stories. I understand the need to type out hostile comments. I occasionally do it myself, but can’t you also edit it yourself. I do. Kym] Please follow up on this story… Thanks

  • Why do you say he’s a Mendocino man? He’s from Willits!!! If you’re trying to imply he’s from Mendocino County then say Mendocino County. This heading implies he’s from the town of Mendocino….he’s not!

    • Dang, when I talk about people from the County of Trinity or Del Norte, I say Trinity man or Del Norte woman. Titles aren’t meant to convey all the information just a few important parts. Then the actual story fills in the rest of the picture. I’m sorry you find it so offensive but I think the lovely town of Mendocino will survive. However, I will try to remember to put “County” after Mendocino if only to avoid making someone have to use four exclamation points in one comment ;>

      • There is no town of Trinity or Humboldt. Mendocino can mean either the county or the town on the coast. Therefor, confusion that produces great unease and anxiety.

        Mendocino may be a few things; however, “lovely” does not come to mind although it does have a few nice buildings. The dominant feature of Mendocino town is cars. Lots of them, many expensive; it`s all about cars. Mostly, it`s a tourist trap with the primary objective of separating tourists from their money by selling them unnecessary and overpriced junk.

        Mendocino was a serious sawmilling and shipping town for many years. How far it`s fallen from the time when hard working, skilled men produced useful products. In those days, men were men, and you started a D-8 with a hand crank. Oh, wait, that was before D-8s. You started your steam donkey with a match.

    • I thought it they liked to call the town the “Village of Mendocino” down there.

      Sounds pretentious, but there it is.

      I took this article as referring to the county of Mendo, not the “Village of…”

  • Nah. That’s ridiculous.

  • the Federal Pen

  • Use a camera instead. It’s just as gratifying and the leopard survives for another day.
    Why feel the need to kill something just so you can selfishly possess it?

    • take a photo before somebody else shoots it.

    • AMEN, Buck! A real man shoots with a camera, not a gun! It takes just as much skill. If these greedy bloodlusting ‘hunters’ really cared about these animals a camera would do just as well.

  • This was killed and can’t be possessed. That’s the issue! Hunt hard! The right way!!!

  • He was called out for being one of the mystery helicopter teams members 2 years ago. The ones that no one knew who they were. One of many list is damn long. Thugs with money playing cops. Frightening!

    • When he was a real estate broker he told me he “hated growers”. A peculiar statement when growers were paying probably 80% of his commissions. I can believe this.

  • Since he obviously knew he was committing a crime (he made great efforts to conceal his acts) he should get the maximum penalty.

  • we have a spot for you in the vigalante committee !

  • You stupid pathetic

      [Kym edit: liberals]

    always hang people before you get the facts,no wonder your kids are drug dealers and are soft targets for terrorists,your minds are troubled by gossip and slander,and you cant rest until you destroy people.your day is coming when sharia is here.

  • I’m not standing up for the guy. I hunt, but don’t believe in trophy hunting, but our system is seriously fucked up if this guy goes to prison and all the violent felons, burglars and drug dealers are out on the streets. I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve to be prosecuted, but get the dangerous people off of the streets first.

  • Adam was one of the kooks working with LEAR Asset Management to fly around and rip up/off people’s crops many of those crops like out Woodman Canyon belonged to private landowners…. Mr Lawrence is also a logger who buys tracks of land exclusively to cut down the trees and log the land….. a real POS in my honest opinion. I wonder how he had all the extra money could it be from ripping off growers with lear asset management? Guy was always on the kooky side sitting alone in the bars drinking beers.. weird that he had the money to travel to Africa for trophy hunting…. I wonder who snitched him out, on of his anti-pot nutcase buddies most likely. No loyalty among thieves, narcos or cops. Hang email high, set an example for people who destroy the critters and environment! Of course this is one of Woodhouse and dog killer Brennan’s buddies….. wolves hang in packs.

  • Adam Lawrence also owns a Dead Critter Trafficking Company called “Meat Box”… hummmmm.

  • Of course the most interesting fact is that “Meatbox” other owner or partner is Mendocino Sheriff Tom Allman’s son, so the Sheriff’so son is in partnership with a suspected poacher? Meatbox is Josh Allman and Adam Lawrence Butcher Company….. hummmmm, the plot thickens! Google these names around…

  • Interesting all the critters killers all hate pot and declare growers destroy wildlife when they all hang out together and poach critters together as well as ripoff cannabis farmers together…. this Adam Lawrence guy is a real work of art just like Old Dog Killer Brennan, just like his boss man Paul from Lear Assett Management, been keeping an eye on these murderous thugs for a while.

    • Conservative Stupidity

      You’ve got those heartless killers PEGGED!

    • Interesting comment “hang em”, because old dog killer and Lawrence are buddies, as seen by his primary school quality remarks penned “the man”.
      Both killers of wildlife, only taxpayers pay for questionable judgement of dog killer, and he’s been known to play grower when it suits him.
      Both trophy Hunters clearly trying to accommodate for a lack of something with their sadist ways…
      What a shame, may they be treated as they they treat others human and nonhuman.

    • Go ahead and keep an eye on them “hang em”. Stay online good and long…😉You never know when you might have somebody with assets beyond your capability watching you…


      • Must of hit a soft part there on you huh Dog Killer or pot Thief…. Must of thought the only way to silence the truth was to seem as if you have some inside Internet ability beyond the scope of ordinary folks’ as if you too are above and beyond the law…. what a joke… you scare no one….. we are on to you all and taking notes for the great Supoena

      • Everyone is Watching

        Everyone in Mendocino have been watching these thieves and Critter poachers for a long time hoping their illegal “Meat Box” non usda certified Meat and Game processing business would be scrutinized… so interesting that LEAR Employees enjoy poaching endangered species in their off time from poaching and stealing crops. Adam is especially a sociopath as he claims growers destroy the place yet he sells real Estate to growers… he buys logging lands to log’ and travels to Africa to kill one of the last remaining Spotted Leopards in the world….. a true POS in my opinion. I would like to know more about the Allman – Lawrence owned “Meatbox Slaughter Truck” business…. Could you look into this kym or are you too scared to dig far into the Mendo Masonic Network?

        • Now people beyond Mendocino county are watching too… Meatbox… your days are numbered! I really hope this guy gets the MAXIMUM sentencing. Make a real example out of this poaching p.o.s.

      • I think a lot of people will be keeping an eye on them now, infiltrator. I’m with Hang Em. These pricks can’t just get away with this stuff anymore. Your vacant threats don’t scare anyone.

  • Should be capital punishment. We have way too many people destroying our planet. We need to weed out a bunch. We do not need people that kill endangered species for fun. That is a sign of a sociopath. I’m open to other suggestions about reducing human population but we need to do something yesterday.

  • Before you pass judge upon a person you all should look in the mirror.

  • I find it horrific that so many people are making slanderous statements about a person they don’t KNOW one bit. Did it cross your mind to stop and ponder if the rumors and lies you are repeating and publishing on the internet are possibly doing damage to others? What if you didn’t have the internet to hide behind, would you still regurgitate words just to participate in dragging someone through the town square?

    • Everyone is Watching taking notes

      [edit] No Mercy for this greedy sociopathic idiot. Sentence him to the longstanding possible sentence and slap him the largest $500000 fine! Send a message to him and his Mendocino Hunter buddies like old dog killer Brennan… we are watching and will report you all! Respect the critters and respect this land!

  • Yes, Tom Allman’s son Josh Allman is in business partnership with Adam Lawrence they own an Animal Slaughtering and Trucking business in Willits called Meatbox according to numerous sources including those found online.

  • Meatbox Owned by Adam Lawrence and Josh Allman of Willits CA. Josh Allman is Sheriff Tom Allman’s son…. no wonder there is no local arrest or investigation… seems Adam has a certain level of protection from local leo’s.

    • Or…local law enforcement is less likely to know about a crime that allegedly happened internationally than the Department of Justice.

      • Adam Lawrence Guilty

        Maybe…. but I think good old boys love to sit in circles around the campfire and tell stories…. esp hunting stories from far away mystical lands like Africa! And stories about killing lions and Tigers and bears.. oh my! It seems these hunter types from Paul Trouettes Black Tail Deer Association love 3 things: Stealing Marijuana and Condemning Cannabis Farmers and Killing Wildlife.. seems they all have plenty money for all their hobbies since they started “eradicating marijuana”…. and then there is the ability to also grow marijuana…. ie; they have helicopters to get to far away places in the woods….. permits to be in the woods plus.. loom how much $$$ they have since they started ripping up or off gardens….. Dog Killer Brennan.. same thing… State trapper killing wildlife decrying cannabis farmers and scaring and threatening his elderly neighbors who grow cannabis… then there is Poacher and Endangered Species hunter Adam Lawrence working with LEAR ripping off gardens and still decrying pot farmers as wildlife killers travels to Africa to kill an Endangered Big Cat for a trophy envoronmentalist NO… he buys land to log over before selling it… yet hates marijuana growers … says they kill the environment… Yet he logs and shoots endangered species.. hope they dig deeper into this criminal organization

        • WOW! Lock them all UP! Guilty as sin. Logging, raping and pillaging California land. Going to Africa to kill and poach and break laws… just despicable.

      • Yes… and also Allman would be less likely to investigate a Business Partner of his sons who has been helping his own son out….. I know nobody wants to talk about this for fear or retaliation from the big dog himself but somebody has got to mention that this poacher is business partners with Allman’s son… everybody is afraid as they don’t want to be the next Sheriff Departments target…. the fear runs pretty deep in Mendocino after all those suspicious deputy suicides which were never fully investigated by outside authorities….. nobody even dares to run against Allman come election time….. MCSO has so much dirt and blood on its hands that any outside investigation would turn the department on its head. The coverups and back scratching go back to the 1990’s and the Covelo Bear Lincoln days when the deputy Miller shot and killed his partner and the Sheriff’s Department tried to cover it up by blaming Bear Lincoln yet the trail of blood didn’t match the deputies sworn statement… which changed over and over any more than the bullet matched Bears gun. Hence an Official Cover Up Commenced….. MCSO is wicked and corrupt’ … the head of the stream is dirty…

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