In one of the Warden Service's largest enforcement actions ever, game wardens arrested seven people and charged 13 others after serving search warrants at 19 locations in central Maine at 6:00 on December 16th.
A total of 20 people were charged with numerous wildlife crimes ranging from killing multiple deer, night hunting, killing wildlife in closed seasons, hunting on posted land, shooting from a motor vehicle and driving deer towards shooters in large organized groups. As the investigation continues, more charges will follow.
"This group possessed a blatant disregard for the laws that are designed to protect Maine's wildlife for everyone," said Major Gregg Sanborn, "They killed multiple deer, they killed at night, out of season, and fired out of their trucks. They killed whatever and whenever they felt like it."
Arrested were Peter Tukey, 52, of Belgrade; Albert (Joey) Languet, 31 of Belgrade; Vernon Dexter, 57, of Gardiner; Patrick Dexter, 32, of Belgrade; Glenn Glidden, 43, of Rome; Andrew Seamon, 38 of Augusta; and Paul Stevens, 37 of Belgrade.
"This group boasted about killing more than 50 deer this past season in the Belgrade area, which is near the amount that was legally registered in Belgrade," said District Game Warden Dan Murray whose patrol covers the Belgrade area.
"It's illegal activity like this that takes away hunting opportunities for those who follow the law. It even takes pleasure away from those who like to watch deer walk through their backyard," said Major Gregg Sanborn, "As an example, I took my son out every Saturday this hunting season and he never had an opportunity to shoot a deer. Perhaps if this group followed the law there would have been opportunities for hunters like my son and other hunters who abide by the law."
Evidence that was seized after serving the warrants include deer meat, deer antlers, deer parts, moose meat, wild turkey meat, wild turkey parts (beards and feathers), firearms, bone saws, and archery equipment.
"This group would kill multiple deer, and at times have three deer hanging in a shed or garage, waiting to be cut up and distributed among the group," said Sanborn. Deer meat would be passed around to fellow poachers and family members.
Over 80 people were involved in the operation, including 65 game wardens, six sheriffs, two state troopers and support staff.