Oct. 30 sentencing for Key deer poachers

Two South Florida men who admitted hog-tying three endangered Key deer in the Lower Keys in July will be sentenced in federal court Oct. 30.

Miami Gardens resident Erik Damas Acosta, 18, and Tumani Anthony Younge, 23, were arrested July 2 on Little Torch Key after a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputy pulled them over for a traffic violation and found three deer in Damas Acosta’s four-door Hyundai Sonata.

Both men pleaded not guilty in August to the charges in federal court, then changed their pleas to guilty earlier this month. The change-of-plea hearings were supposed to happen in Key West, but following landfall of Hurricane Irma, they were rescheduled and happened in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Lurana Snow in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale. That’s according to Damas Acosta’s attorney, Joe Nascimento.

Now, U.S. District Court Judge Jose Martinez will handle the sentencing, Nascimento said, on Oct. 30 in Key West.

A pretrial conference for charges previously filed by the state also happened in August, but both attorneys filed motions to continue the state cases pending the federal sentencing in October.

Katie Atkins: 305-440-3219