Murder-for-Hire Plot Against Two DNR Conservation Rangers

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Late last week, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) initiated an investigation into a murder-for-hire plot against two DNR conservation rangers after receiving a tip. Lamar County officials issued a warrant and charged John McNaughton “Mack” English, 26, of Barnesville, with one count of criminal solicitation of murder and seven counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

“I am extremely shocked that this individual was plotting to harm our officers and I am thankful that GBI and DNR were able to act on this information quickly to thwart these efforts,” said DNR Wildlife Resources Division Law Enforcement Section Col. Ron Bailey.

English currently is being held in the Troup County jail where he and an accomplice were taken after being apprehended burglarizing a DNR facility at the West Point Wildlife Management Area (WMA). This facility includes a warehouse with equipment to support wildlife management and fisheries operations as well as four offices for regional personnel. Troup County Sheriff’s Office personnel charged him with two counts of burglary, possession of tools used in the commission of a crime and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Also arrested in conjunction with the break-in is Michael Brett Self, 24, of Thomaston. Self was charged in Troup County with two counts of burglary, possession of tools used in the commission of a crime and obstruction of a police officer after he attempted to flee on foot. Self is free on an $18,500 bond.

“Conservation rangers often work individually and in isolated areas which makes this situation even more disturbing,” said DNR Commissioner Lonice C. Barrett.

In 2003, English was issued six citations by DNR conservation rangers in three separate instances for charges including hunting waterfowl over bait, hunting from a motor vehicle, hunting from a public road, and hunting deer at night with the aid of a light. In addition, English was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Self was issued one citation by DNR conservation rangers in 2003 in one incident of hunting ducks over bait.