Sting by Illinois officials nets 14 poaching suspects


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Jeff White
April 7, 2006, 08:01 PM
http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/stlouiscitycounty/story/C82C578BDEF5BDBE8625714900112762?OpenDocument
Sting by Illinois officials nets 14 poaching suspects
By Terry Hillig
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
04/07/2006

Illinois Conservation Police have charged 14 suspected poachers with numerous violations of state and federal wildlife laws after a 2 1/2-year undercover investigation in Jersey and Pike counties.

Sam Flood, the acting director of the state's Department of Natural Resources, said in a news release that "Operation Mongo" broke up "a major network of illegal hunters."

Investigators acted after complaints from local hunters, and they sometimes accompanied suspects during their allegedly unlawful activities.

"Anytime you have more than a dozen arrests, it is a significant operation, and the investigation is continuing," said DNR spokesman Chris McCloud. He would not elaborate on connections among the suspects.

They face dozens of charges that include hunting on nature preserves, spotlighting animals, possessing threatened species and falsifying records.

Robert M. DeSherlia, 37, of Grafton, faces three misdemeanor charges, including unlawful possession of a timber rattlesnake, which is classified as a threatened species in Illinois.

Steven W. Gross, 55, of Grafton, faces seven misdemeanor charges, including unlawful possession of an owl's feet.

Other defendants are: Kenneth L. Pace, 33, of Grafton; Daniel A. Bailey, 37, of Grafton; Susan M. Baze, 38, of Grafton; Robert L. Wangler, 27, of Fieldon; Billy J. Wangler, 30, of Fieldon; Stephen D. (Duane) Brown, 32, of Griggsville; Stephen D. Brown, 56, of Griggsville; Joyce E. Brown, 51, of Griggsville; Dennis L. Will, 50, of Griggsville; Paul Klinefelter, 74, of Pittsfield; Ronald K. Clemence, 49, of Athens; and Ronald D. Clemence, 18, of Athens.

thillig@post-dispatch.com 618-659-3638

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eastwood44mag
April 8, 2006, 03:28 AM
Why are rattlesnakes protected? That's like requiring smoking at a gas station.:cuss:

c_yeager
April 8, 2006, 03:50 AM
Why are rattlesnakes protected? That's like requiring smoking at a gas station.

Ummm, maybe because they are a predator that is an integral piece of their little part of the eco-system? I never really understood this irrational hatred of an animal for simply being an animal. its a snake, dont step on it and it wont bite you.

If its in your house you would shoot it, thats fine, dont expect better treatment when your in its house.

Don Gwinn
April 8, 2006, 09:28 AM
I didn't know Timber rattlers were protected, but I knew they were pretty rare here. I've never seen one, and I hunt in Pike County. Of course, that's mostly in the fall and winter, when you don't see any snakes.

Either way, no love for poachers.

isp2605
April 8, 2006, 10:11 AM
Can't possess wild rattlers as a pet. Some wild game you can possess with proper permits. Don't know if you can get a permit for a wild rattler.

El Tejon
April 8, 2006, 10:33 AM
I hope we see the illegal snake arrest on Cops! "You, with the snake! Put the snake, and your beer, down!":D

TheEgg
April 8, 2006, 11:09 AM
2 1/2-year undercover investigation in Jersey and Pike counties.


I guess it takes a long time to track down the brilliant criminal minds of Bubba and Cletus, poachers.:rolleyes:

beerslurpy
April 8, 2006, 11:55 AM
Illegal aliens dont poach or litter? You would think that they could have spent two and a half years more productively.

WvaBill
April 8, 2006, 02:01 PM
"Anytime you have more than a dozen arrests, it is a significant operation, and the investigation is continuing," said DNR spokesman Chris McCloud.

CO's around conduct significant operations frequently. I've known some who have made that many arrests in one weekend of using decoys.

Maxwell
April 8, 2006, 04:55 PM
Back to the problem of having to justify cost. We spend billions on programs that dont work VS a few million on the ones that do.

Ive got no love for poachers, but at the end of the day there were cheaper and more effective ways to haul them in.
Unfortunatly something like this is gonna get the press with their "WE GOT 12 BADGUYS!" headline.

A rookie cop with a quota could catch that many in a week.

JohnBT
April 8, 2006, 06:54 PM
Aw jeez guys, it doesn't say how many OTHER crooks these same enforcement agents brought in during the 2.5 years in question, it just says they worked on this bunch for 2.5 years. Do you really believe it's ALL they did for 2.5 years?

googled up at random: "The Timber Rattlesnake is protected in 17 of the 27 states in which it occurs, and is a candidate for federal listing under the Endangered Species Act. ..."

John

WvaBill
April 8, 2006, 07:23 PM
I am sure that the officers did more in 2-1/2 years. Didn't mean to imply otherwise. Just that is like a long time to need to build a case against only 12 poachers.

How many of these endangered animals needlessly died while they were building their case?:rolleyes:

TheEgg
April 9, 2006, 12:26 PM
Do you really believe it's ALL they did for 2.5 years?

No, I'm a sure a lot of doughnuts were tracked down and disposed of during this time, as well.:D

J/K.

But it still seems like the agency is making a whole lot of PR noise about a few misdemeanor cases. It could lead one to wonder if they really have a lot to do, couldn't it?

"Next week, brought to you by those brilliant politicians that brought you THE CONSERVATION POLICE, we will introduce THE FAST-FOOD POLICE. And coming soon, just announced, in time for summer, THE SUNSCREEN POLICE."

JohnBT
April 9, 2006, 03:29 PM
"It could lead one to wonder if they really have a lot to do, couldn't it?"

No, I don't see how it would lead one to wonder that.

John

TheEgg
April 9, 2006, 04:17 PM
No, I don't see how it would lead one to wonder that.

OOOOOOOOOOOKAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY.

We will just not be able to agree on this one.

You are certainly entitled to your opinion, as am I (at least for the next few days I am, anyway. Once THE INTERNET ANTI-SMART-ASS POLICE get set up, I will have to lay low.)

cliffstanc
April 10, 2006, 12:05 AM
Sam Flood, the acting director of the state's Department of Natural Resources, said in a news release that "Operation Mongo" broke up "a major network of illegal hunters."I feel sorry for the poachers. They only pawn in game of life.

- Cliff

Creeping Incrementalism
April 10, 2006, 01:02 PM
said in a news release that "Operation Mongo" broke up "a major network of illegal hunters."

Ming the Merciless is the chief of the Dpt. of Fish and Game over there.

I read about one poaching incident in CRPA's Firing Line by a California game warden. He once caught a guy poahcing deer with an M2 carbine (the full-auto version of the M1 carbine). The warden contacted every military base in the vicinity, and no one knew where it had been stolen from.

I once saw a poaching sting on TV. They used deer decoys on poachers. Pretty ironic, a decoy deer sucking in people. One guy hit one with an arrow, said "What the hell?" when the decoy didn't move an inch after being hit, then loosed another arrow before being busted.

PCGS65
April 10, 2006, 01:36 PM
Steven W. Gross, 55, of Grafton, faces seven misdemeanor charges, including unlawful possession of an owl's feet.

Owls feet????:confused:


by CI I once saw a poaching sting on TV. They used deer decoys on poachers. Pretty ironic, a decoy deer sucking in people. One guy hit one with an arrow, said "What the hell?" when the decoy didn't move an inch after being hit, then loosed another arrow before being busted.Must be something wrong with my arrow? Well I'll just have to shoot another one into it? You have to be pretty close to a deer to shoot it with an arrow. Usually less than 35yds.
Makes me wonder about the intellegence of some people?

sturmruger
April 10, 2006, 03:15 PM
At least most of them do. I once new a kid who provided venison for his family all year long. He didn't hunt deer for kicks he hunted to put meat on the table while his father was sick and could't leave the house. Technically he was a poacher and would have seen some very serious charges if he had ever been caught, but I don't think he was ever caught.

On the other hand while I was in high school there were a couple of my classmates that were caught shooting deer at night. They were using a spotlight and then shooting them between the eyes with a .22 LR and leaving them lay. They had found close to 50 dead deer over three months before they finally caught them. I didn't mind them going to jail at all they deserved everything they got. While both poachers were breaking the law the kids that were shooting the deer at night and leaving them were the real criminals in my mind.

I wonder what these 12 guys did??

cliffstanc
April 10, 2006, 05:48 PM
Technically he was a poacher and would have seen some very serious charges if he had ever been caught, but I don't think he was ever caught.

I wouldn't expect him to be. I'm no expert in the field, but from what I understand most poachers are caught by tracing the hides, meat, horns, hooves, etc. they sell, going back through the various hands that bought the product until they reach the poacher. Someone who's hunting for subsistence isn't selling his harvest, he's eating it. And if he has a lick of sense, he's not going to try to sell the hides or whatever and draw attention to his crimes. But a commercial poacher, by definition, is going to sell his takings in the market - thus giving law enforcement a trail to follow.

Yes, it's theoretically possible for the subsistence poacher to be caught, but it requires either him being caught red-handed (heh) out in the field or a search warrant to be issued for his home so that the game LEOs can seize his freezer's contents for DNA testing. Neither event is particularly likely, IMO.

I don't have much of a problem with true subsistence poachers, even if we disregard the ethical aspects (law vs. starvation), because they are by their very nature self-limiting. After all, there's only so much venison or rabbit any one family can eat, right? This also limits the chances of their being caught, simply by limiting the number of times the person actually poaches.

In contrast, the commercial poacher is a much greater problem, as you can never have too much money! So there's every reason for the poacher to take as much as he can as often as he can, and even to concentrate on the very species that are most endangered - since they often have the highest value on the market due to their endangered status and thus rarity. So they're going to be a much bigger target for law enforcement efforts because they're likely to cause much more damage to wildlife populations.

My guess is that, given the length of time the investigation took, the 14 arrested were market poachers of some kind. It probably just took time to trace their products back to them, and then to wait while they gathered enough evidence to bust them (and maybe their fences/distributors) in one fell swoop.

- Cliff

isp2605
April 10, 2006, 05:57 PM
If anyone has ever worked a drug conspiracy case then you know that you don't start out with all 14 subjects when you open your case. You have one or 2, who either cooperate or unwittingly take you to the next, who takes you to another level, and that guy takes you to still another. All that takes a lot of time, particularly when working with unwittes, to gain their confidence and let them move you on to their next connection. You don't arrest the first guy you come across as generally that's all you'll end up with, the one guy. If there's a group, you let them play it out until you make a case on all of them. There's plenty of time and no hurry to rush the case.
It's like the story of the young bull and the old bull. They see a pasture of cows standing below them. The young bull says "Let's run down there and get us one of those cows." The old bull replies "Let's walk down there and we'll get them all."

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