AUGUSTA — Four Maine men have been arrested on multiple charges of violating hunting laws including hunting out of season and killing large numbers of deer.
The Maine Warden Service, United States Fish and Wildlife Service and Pennsylvania Game Commission executed five search warrants in Androscoggin and Kennebec counties on Monday, Jan. 24, the culmination of a four-month investigation into illegal hunting activity in Maine and Pennsylvania.
The four arrested and/or summonsed during the execution of the warrants at their residences are: Everett Tyler Leonard, 31, of Turner; Carlton “John” Enos, 19, of Turner; E.H. “Lenny” Leonard, 59, of Turner; and Jason Clifford, 27, of Turner.
During the summer of 2010, the Maine Warden Service received information that Everett Tyler Leonard and E.H. “Lenny” Leonard killed large numbers of deer over the legal limit, according to Maine Warden Service Captain Dan Scott. An investigation was initiated and information regarding the killing of deer during the closed season was confirmed.
The investigation continued through December 2010, during which time the Warden Service detected nearly 150 violations of Maine’s hunting laws.
The investigation led Maine Warden Service investigators to Pennsylvania, where a joint investigation between the Maine Warden Service and the Pennsylvania Game Commission ensued. PGC Conservation Officers allege hundreds of violations by the suspects during the months of October and December in Armenia Township.
During the execution of the warrants, Game Wardens seized firearms, deer meat, antlers, bows, arrows, ammunition, a hawk, owls, a computer, documents and other hunting-related equipment.
“These individuals are intentional violators who are having a significant impact on Maine and Pennsylvania’s wildlife resources,” said Captain Scott. “They demonstrated complete disregard for wildlife laws as well as the safety of the public.”
Captain Scott said the effectiveness of good interagency cooperation with the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was paramount in the successful outcome of the investigation.
Thomas Grohol, Special Operations Chief, for the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Bureau of Wildlife Protection, remarked on the egregious violations the subjects committed in Pennsylvania.
“We anticipate the suspects will be extradited to Pennsylvania where they will be subject to stiff game laws recently enacted in Pennsylvania to address just this type of poaching,” Grohol said. “Their activities are a great detriment to the natural resources of both states. The Pennsylvania Game Commission greatly appreciates the cooperation and teamwork provided by the Maine Warden Service throughout this investigation.”
The Maine Warden Service has been working with the Androscoggin County District Attorney’s Office on the violations.
Captain Scott encouraged anyone with information regarding abuse of our fish and wildlife resources to call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-Alert Us.
The men were charged and arrested on these violations, and were taken to Androscoggin County Jail. Those charged and the class of crime were:
Everett Tyler Leonard — night hunting (D); illuminating wildlife (E); shooting firearm from motor vehicle (E); hunting deer after killing one (D);
E.H. “Lenny” Leonard — unlawful trafficking of schedule w drugs (B) 2 counts; criminal trespass (D) 2 counts; unlawfully driving deer (E) 2 counts
The following were issued summons on these violations and class crimes:
Carlton “John” Enos — hunting deer in closed season (D); possessing an antlerless deer (E); false registration of deer (E); trapping without a License (E); hunting deer after killing one (D) 2 counts; criminal trespass (D) 2 counts; unlawfully driving deer (E) 2 counts; illegal transportation of deer (CIV).
Jason Clifford — hunting deer after killing one (D) 2 counts; possession antlerless deer (E); possession of an unregistered deer (E); criminal trespass (D) 2 counts; hunting without proper orange (CIV) 2 counts; unlawfully driving deer (E) 2 counts; hunt antlerless deer (E).
Maine law Title 17-A issues the following sentencing guidelines: Class B — 10 years maximum jail time and $20,000 fine; Class D — 364 days maximum jail time and $2,000 fine; Class E — six months maximum jail time and $1,000 fine. Pennsylvania’s penalties carry stiff fines and jail time as well.
MWS Captain Scott said that many additional violations were detected and additional charges are likely to follow in both Maine and Pennsylvania.