Wildlife officers close deer-turkey poaching ring


D'Arcy Egan, Cleveland Plain Dealer Reporter

Richmond, Ohio - Ohio wildlife officers say they shut down a poaching ring that centered around a Jefferson County deer and turkey check station with the arrests yesterday morning of eight people, including the shop owners.

The arrests resulted from a 21-month undercover investigation, called Operation Tag, by the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

Keith Beebee, 52, and Karen Beebee, 48, the owners of K&L Sports in Richmond, Ohio, were the focus of the investigation. Also cited were Ken Dorsey, 33, Michael G. Maurer, 21, and Brian Benner, 22, of Bloomingdale; Curtis H. Judy, 52, and Steven Gamron, 21, of Richmond; and James A. Schrecengost of Cortland. Dorsey topped the list with 42 charges.

"We have filed more than 70 counts of illegally tagging and taking wild turkeys and white-tailed deer, over-harvesting deer and turkey, spotlighting and shooting deer in the closed season and tagging deer in other people's names," said division law enforcement supervisor Dan Schneider. "The investigation is continuing. More people were involved in this poaching operation, and we'll be filing additional charges in the next few days."

The poachers are believed to have illegally killed hundreds of game animals, say wildlife officials. The investigation was triggered by sportsmen's tips to the Turn-In-A-Poacher hot line and Jefferson County wildlife officer Tim Stevens.

degan@plaind.com, 216-999-4378