HELENA (AP) — Federal prosecutors have charged a Montana Hutterite colony with possessing two illegally killed grizzly bears.
The documents filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Great Falls charge the Pondera Colony near Valier and five of its members.
One of the defendants, minister Leonard Kleinsasser, told a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent the bears died from exhaustion.
Kleinsasser says half of the colony members were chasing the bears prior to their deaths in September.
Kleinsasser says they did not report the deaths because they were "scared."
The documents say the bears were buried after a failed attempt to cremate one of them.
A collar on the other bear was removed, smashed and burned.
The penalty for each of the two charges is six months in prison and a $25,000 fine.