5 Maine Residents Charged in One of Largest Poaching Cases in Pennsylvania History

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Following a six-month investigation by the Pennsylvania Game Commission and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, five residents of Maine – four adults and a 17-year-old juvenile – were charged with more than 250 counts of violating the Game and Wildlife Code and the Crimes Code in the one of the largest wildlife crime sprees ever detected in the Commonwealth's history.

The group is charged with multiple counts of killing deer at night with a light, killing deer in closed season and killing deer in excess of season bag limits in Armenia Township and surrounding municipalities, Bradford County. During the months of October and December, the group is accused of killing dozens of deer unlawfully, including three large-racked bucks, during the state's early muzzleloader season and regular firearms deer seasons. The group also has been charged with numerous wildlife crimes in Maine.

"This investigation is a prime example of why it was so critically important for the General Assembly to have enacted legislation to increase the fines and penalties for chronic poachers last year," said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. "The increased fines and penalties addressed the exact type of violations allegedly committed by these individuals, which involved killing multiple deer out of season, at night with spotlights and significantly over the bag limits."

In late 2010, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Bureau of Warden Service contacted the Game Commission with information that Everett Tyler Leonard and E.H. "Lenny" Leonard were suspected of killing a large number of deer over the legal limit in both Pennsylvania and Maine.

A joint investigation between the Game Commission and the Maine Warden Service was initiated and continued throughout the deer hunting seasons in both states. Game Commission Special Operations Division investigators conducted surveillance on the group's illegal hunting activities in Pennsylvania during the white-tailed deer hunting seasons.

"Good interagency communication and teamwork was what made the investigation a success," said Dan Scott, Captain of the Maine Warden Service. "It's been our experience that fish and wildlife violators know no jurisdictional boundaries, and this investigation once again proved that to be true. These individuals showed complete disregard for the wildlife laws of both Maine and Pennsylvania. By doing so, they were stealing opportunity and natural resources from the citizens of both states."

In January, a team of Game Commission investigators traveled to Maine to accompany Maine Warden Service investigators on the execution of five search warrants as a result of the investigation. During the execution of these warrants, investigators seized hundreds of pounds of deer meat, firearms, deer antlers, bows and arrows, spotlights, a mounted hawk and owls, a computer, documents and other hunting-related equipment.

The four adults charged in Pennsylvania were: Everett Tyler Leonard, 31, Everett H. (Lenny) Leonard, 59, and Carlton John Enos, 19, all of Turner; and Lucien H. Clavet, 44, of Monmouth. The 17-year-old juvenile, from Greene, will be charged with multiple summary violations involving the unlawful killing and attempting to kill deer both out of season and at night with a spotlight, using a motor vehicle to hunt and possession of a loaded firearm in a vehicle.

Pennsylvania Game Commission Special Operations Division Chief Thomas P. Grohol and Bradford County Wildlife Conservation Officer Vernon I. Perry III filed Pennsylvania's charges against the group before Magisterial District Judge Jonathan Wilcox of Troy, Bradford County on Feb. 23.

The law to increase fines and penalties for poaching was made possible by House Bill 1859, which was sponsored by House Game and Fisheries Committee Democrat Chairman Edward G. Staback. The bill was approved by the House on July 21, 2009, by a vote of 196-3. The Senate, after making minor adjustments to the bill, approved the measure unanimously on July 3, 2010, followed by a 189-6 concurrence vote in the House also on July 3. The bill was signed into law on July 9, making it Act 54 of 2010.

Among the 250 charges filed against the adult defendants are the following:

Defendant 1: Everett T. (Tyler) Leonard, 31 of Turner, Maine:

Highlights of Title 34 Game and Wildlife Code Charges:

  • 22 Felony 3 counts of Section 2321 Unlawful killing or taking of big game(white-tailed deer). Possible Penalty: Up to $15,000 and up to 36 months imprisonment per count.
  • 4 Misdemeanor of the first degree counts of Section 2321 Unlawful killing or taking of big game (White-tailed deer). Possible Penalty: Up to $10,000 and up to 18 months imprisonment per count.
  • 4 Misdemeanor counts of Section 2321 Unlawful killing or taking of big game (White-tailed deer). Possible Penalty: Up to $3,000 and up to 6 months imprisonment per count.
  • 2 Misdemeanor Counts of Section 2312 Buying and Selling Game(White-tailed deer).
  • Possible penalties: Up to $3,000 and up to 6 months imprisonment per count.
  • 9 Summary 2nd degree counts of Section 2307 Unlawful taking or possession of game or wildlife (White-tailed deer). Possible Penalty: $400 to $800 and up to one month imprisonment per count.
  • 7 Summary 5th degree counts of Section 2310 Unlawful use of lights while hunting (spotlighting while in possession of a firearm or bow and arrow). Possible Penalty: $100 to $200 per count.

In addition to Game and Wildlife Code Violations, the defendant also was charged with:

  • 4 Misdemeanor counts of The Controlled Substance, drug, device and cosmetic Act, Section 780-113 Prohibited Acts. Possible Penalties: Up to $5,000 in fines and up to three years imprisonment per count.
  • 1 Misdemeanor 3 count of Pa. Crimes Code Section 4906, False reports to law enforcement authorities. Possible penalty: Up to $2,500 in fines and up to one year imprisonment.

Defendant 2:Everett H. (Lenny) Leonard, 59, of Turner, Maine:

Highlights of Title 34 Game and Wildlife Code Charges:

  • 14 Felony 3 counts of Section 2321 Unlawful killing or taking of big game (White-tailed deer). Possible Penalty: Up to $15,000 and up to 36 months imprisonment per count.
  • 2 Misdemeanor of the first degree counts of Section 2321 Unlawful killing or taking of big game (White-tailed deer). Possible Penalty: Up to $10,000 and up to 18 months imprisonment per count.
  • 4 Misdemeanor counts of Section 2321 Unlawful killing or taking of big game (White-tailed deer). Possible Penalty: Up to $3,000 and up to 6 months imprisonment per count.
  • 2 Summary 2nd degree counts of Section 2307 Unlawful taking or possession of game or wildlife (White-tailed deer). Possible Penalty: $400 to $800 and up to one month imprisonment per count.

In addition to Game and Wildlife Code Violations, the defendant also was charged with:

  • Misdemeanor counts of The Controlled Substance, drug, device and cosmetic Act, Section 780-113 Prohibited Acts. Possible Penalties: Up to $5,000 in fines and up to three years imprisonment per count.
  • 1 Misdemeanor 3 count of Pa. Crimes Code Section 4906, False reports to law enforcement authorities. Possible penalty: Up to $2,500 in fines and up to one year imprisonment.

Defendant 3: Carlton John Enos, 19, of Turner, Maine:

Highlights of Title 34 Game and Wildlife Code:

  • 11 Felony 3 counts of Section 2321 Unlawful killing or taking of big game (White-tailed deer). Possible Penalty: Up to $15,000 and up to 36 months imprisonment per count.
  • 4 Misdemeanor of the first degree counts of Section 2321 Unlawful killing or taking of big game (White-tailed deer). Possible Penalty: Up to $10,000 and up to 18 months imprisonment per count.
  • 4 Misdemeanor counts of Section 2321 Unlawful killing or taking of big game (White-tailed deer). Possible Penalty: Up to $3,000 and up to 6 months imprisonment per count.
  • 4 Summary 2nd degree counts of Section 2307 Unlawful taking or possession of game or wildlife (White-tailed deer). Possible Penalty: $400 to $800 and up to one month imprisonment per count.
  • 8 Summary 5th degree counts of Section 2310 Unlawful use of lights while hunting (spotlighting while in possession of a firearm or bow and arrow). Possible Penalty: $100 to $200 per count.

In addition to Game and Wildlife Code Violations, the defendant also was charged with: 1 Misdemeanor 3 count of Pa. Crimes Code Section 4906, False reports to law enforcement authorities.Possible penalty: Up to $2,500 in fines and up to one year imprisonment.

Defendant 4: Lucien H. Clavet, 44, of Monmouth, Maine:

Highlights of Title 34 Game and Wildlife Code:

  • 5 Felony 3 counts of Section 2321 Unlawful killing or taking of big game (White-tailed deer). Possible Penalty: Up to $15,000 and up to 36 months imprisonment per count.
  • 2 Misdemeanor of the first degree counts of Section 2321 Unlawful killing or taking of big game (White-tailed deer). Possible Penalty: Up to $10,000 and up to 18 months imprisonment per count.
  • 2 Misdemeanor counts of Section 2321 Unlawful killing or taking of big game (White-tailed deer). Possible Penalty: Up to $3,000 and up to 6 months imprisonment per count.

Comments

hunter25's picture

I also hope they are dealt

I also hope they are dealt with severly to put a stop to this sort of thing. Fortunately with the wildlife compact now at least they just can't move to another state and buy a license to cover them while they continue this disgusting poaching .

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Wow is right! 

Wow is right!  Unbelievable.

I actually hope they stick these guys with everything they can.  However, they will probably plead down to a few charges, and get off relatively lightly.

The problem with these guys is that you can take their licenses and stuff away, but they will still continue to kill and kill and kill.  I am sure we will hear them again getting arrested a few years down the road, under similar circumstances.

Geez.....

jaybe's picture

Wow! Those are pretty stiff

Wow! Those are pretty stiff fines and senteces these guys are facing. I applaud the wildlife commisions of Pennsylvania and Maine and all the offivers involved in this long investigation and final bringing of this case to the prosecution stage.

  I'm sure that many field officers spent long hours on surveilance and responded to many calls to action that exceeded their normal routines, experiencing great personal discomfort. I can only imagine what they went through to gather all the information that resulted in that huge list of offences.

  Now, I just hope that this case will proceed to the point that these criminals receive even a portion of the justice that they deserve. It seems that far too often, people like this are allowed to plea bargain to the point where they receive little more than a slap on the hand. The really sad part is that they often return to their life of wildlife crime smarter than before because they have learned how to better evade the watchful eyes of the law.