MAPLETON, Maine — Seven adults and a juvenile from Aroostook County were arrested this week on hunting, fishing and drug charges, the Maine Warden Service said Friday.
The charges came after a six-month special investigation by the warden service into illegal fishing and hunting activity, according to Deborah Turcotte, spokeswoman for the state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
The eight people were charged Tuesday evening after game wardens and warden service supervisors served four search warrants and an arrest warrant in Aroostook County with the assistance of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency. Two of the people were arrested and six were summoned.
The warden service received information in June alleging that Stephen Rediker, 30, of Mapleton, was engaged in activities violating fish and wildlife laws, Turcotte said Friday. During an investigation, the warden service documented more than 90 violations by Rediker, including the illegal killing of deer and moose. The inves-tigation also revealed that Rediker had several associates who allegedly were participating in the illegal possession of fish and wildlife, resulting in additional search warrants and suspect interviews.
The total number of violations by the group exceeded 125, according to warden service Capt. Daniel Scott.
Rediker was arrested on Tuesday on charges of night hunting, exceeding the bag limit on deer, and killing a moose in closed season, Class D violations, along with criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, Class C, and trafficking in prescription drugs, Class B. He was taken to Aroostook County Jail in Houlton.
Class B crimes can be punished by up to 10 years in prison, Class C up to five years in prison, and Class D less than one year in prison.
More charges against Rediker are likely as the investigation continues, according to Scott.
During the execution of the search warrants, wardens reportedly seized firearms, deer meat, fishing equipment, illegal drugs and other evidence.
In addition to Rediker, Julie R. Faria, 37, of Mapleton, was arrested on charges of furnishing prescription drugs and possession of marijuana. She was taken to the Presque Isle Police Department, posted bail and was released.
Summoned on charges in connection with the operation were: Robin D. Cobb, 37, Woodland, possessing antlerless deer, possessing unregistered deer, cultivation of marijuana; Timothy N. Rediker Jr., 55, Presque Isle, illuminating wildlife, night hunting; Joseph H. Little, 69, Presque Isle, possessing deer killed at night, possessing deer killed in closed season, possessing antlerless deer; Roy D. Little, 20, Mapleton, possessing deer killed at night, possessing deer killed in closed season, possessing antlerless deer; Adam S. Murphy, 18, Mapleton, hunting fox in closed season.
The juvenile was issued summons for fishing without a license and possessing trout in excess of the limit.
Turcotte said she believed Rediker Jr. is related to Stephen Rediker.
“These individuals are intentional violators who had a significant negative impact on our fish and wildlife resources,” said Scott. “They demonstrated complete disregard for Maine’s fish and wildlife laws and the safety of the public.”
“This special investigation was a priority for the Maine Warden Service, especially given the struggling deer herd in northern Maine,” said Maj. Gregory Sanborn. “This small group appears to have had no such reservations or concerns on the lasting impact as a result of their actions.”
The Maine Warden Service urges anyone with information regarding the abuse of fish and wildlife resources to call Operation Game Thief at 800-ALERT-US.