COLUMBUS — Nine suspects from Lorain County face 196 misdemeanor charges and nine felony charges involving the alleged poaching of white-tailed deer in Coshocton and Knox counties, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.
The investigation, dubbed Operation Overkill, began in September 2006 as an anonymous tip through the division’s Turn-In-a-Poacher hotline.
Wildlife officials allege that the group of suspects drove to Coshocton and Knox counties on several occasions and shot deer from inside their vehicles or along the roadway in violation of state laws.
Numerous charges will be filed in Coshocton Municipal Court, Knox County Court of Common Pleas, and the Mount Vernon Municipal Court.
Charges include felonies for the illegal handling of firearms, as well as misdemeanor wildlife violations including: shooting deer from the roadway, hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle, taking more than the bag limit of deer, taking more than one buck deer, hunting on private property without permission, failing to tag and check deer, hunting outside of legal hunting hours, using a radio for hunting purposes, and hunting deer without a deer permit.
The investigation into this case is ongoing. Additional arrests may follow. If convicted, the suspects will face fines, possible jail time and forfeiture of hunting privileges.
A first-time misdemeanor wildlife offense involving the illegal taking or possession of deer could result in fines of up to $500 and a maximum of 60 days in jail.
Violators also may be required to pay restitution for illegally taken animals at a minimum value of $400 per deer.
All illegally taken wildlife, as well as firearms and motor vehicles used in the violations, may be forfeited.
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