License-less outfitter gets suspended sentence

Harper Enlarge photo


A La Plata County outfitter who operated a business on U.S. Forest Service lands without authorization was given a suspended jail sentence Wednesday in federal court in Durango.

Keith Harper, owner of Outlaw River & Jeep Tours, faced up to 30 days in jail after signing a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Instead, federal Magistrate David L. West gave him a suspended six-month jail sentence, which will be imposed only if he violates terms of his one-year probationary sentence.

Harper is prohibited from being on Forest Service lands and cannot operate his business on several Forest Service roads for one year. He also cannot violate other local, state and federal laws.

Harper pleaded guilty Sept. 14 to operating his business with an expired license and giving a false report to a Forest Service special agent.

The incidents occurred in June on Old Lime Creek Road and Hermosa Park Road in the San Juan National Forest.

Harper’s license to provide outfitting and guiding services expired Dec. 31, 2011.

In addition to probation, Harper was ordered to pay about $5,000: $3,053 in restitution to the Forest Service and two fines for $1,000.

It is not the first time Harper has found himself in trouble within the past year.

He was convicted late last year of groping two women while giving them a snowmobile tour in the Cascade Creek area in February 2011.

He was sentenced in March 2012 to four years probation and required to register as a sex offender for a minimum of 10 years.

He is appealing the case.

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