Starting at 6:00 am January 25th, wildlife protection officers from Québec's Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune, New Brunswick and Environment Canada have put a stop to the illegal activities of a group of poachers active in the Gaspé and northern New Brunswick regions. This operation, code named Renard croisé (Red Fox), used the combined forces of 90 Quebec wildlife protection officers, 27 New Brunswick wildlife protection officers and 14 Environment Canada wildlife officers. The poaching activities investigated concern mainly moose and white-tail deer. In numerous cases, poached meat was illegally brought across the Québec-New Brunsick border to avoid provincial controls.
Two years of investigation have permitted officers to accumulate the evidence necessary to intercept the individuals. In all, about 50 suspects from the Pointe-à-la-Croix and northern New Brunswick regions were questioned this morning. It is possible that more people will be met in the upcoming days.
Operation Renard croisé (Red Fox)
At this time, over 250 charges under provincial and federal law are being examined. If found guilty, the individuals could face fines totalling over $500,000 for provincial contraventions. For federal offenses, maximum penalties are $300,000 and / or up to 5 years imprisonment. It is important to underline the participation of the Québec Wildlife Protection dog detector team and forensic laboratory in the investigation, which has allowed different pieces of evidence to be located and identified. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Sûreté du Québec and the Listuguj Police also participated in this morning's operation.
The offenses the individuals are wanted for, among other things, hunting white-tail deer at night with spotlights, hunting moose at night, killing cow moose, laundering meat, selling deer meat, using electronic calls, and using a motor vehicle to run down moose, then collecting the carcasses. The investigation should also allow for charges to be laid regarding illegal possession, overlimits as well as other infractions of deer and moose hunting regulations. As the activities were carried out in Québec and New Brunswick, the investigation should also show that several individuals were in unlawful possession of poached meat and illegally transported it between provinces, contrary to federal law.
The search warrants executed in today's operation led to the seizure of big game meat, hunting rifles, two trucks and other hunting material.
At this time, other than the persons already met, certain elements of the investigation lead to believe that other individuals practiced illegal activities of the same nature in neighbouring regions. Without new information, these persons will continue to break the law by illegally taking wildlife resources.
That is why you can help us solve these cases by letting us know of any poaching activity or other act that threatens the protection of wildlife, habitats and wild places by calling S.O.S. Braconnage (S.O.S. Poaching) toll free at 1-800-463-2191. You may also communicate with the closest Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune Wildlife Protection Office. These services are free and confidential. Environment Canada have also a toll free number you can reach anytime at 1-800-463-4311.