Washington Fish and Wildlife police have raided more than a dozen locations around the state. The one day blitz on suspected poachers and traffickers follows a two year undercover investigation.
In November of 2010, officers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife decided to cast a wide net. So they set up an online marketplace that mainly sold farmed or ranched game meat. Deputy Chief Mike Cenci says, as hoped, the website attracted poachers and traffickers of everything from:
Cenci: “Sturgeon, antlers, hides, furs, teeth, claws, feathers, gallbladders, skulls and of course game meat.”
As many as 60 people could ultimately be implicated, as well as several restaurants that Cenci says knowingly purchased illegal meat and fish. Cenci says the motives of the suspects in the case run the gamut.
Cenci: “We have an example of a drug addict that is poaching animals so that that person can perpetuate their drug addiction. You have individuals that just like to kill things.”
Cenci says the alleged crimes range from minor to egregious. More arrests are expected.
Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network