Monday, February 6th, 2023
Monday, February 6th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Poaching ringleader in ’93 pinched for eight new deer

By Steve Pollick Contributing Writer

Toledo, Ohio — A Toledo man, convicted in 1993 as the ringleader
of a major statewide commercial fish and game poaching ring, has
been arrested and charged with poaching eight deer while under
lifetime suspension of hunting and fishing privileges.

Douglas E. Andrews, 47, was convicted Dec. 5 soon after his
arrest a day earlier for hunting while under a lifetime license
revocation. For that, he was lodged in the Carroll County jail in
Carrollton, about 20 miles southeast of Canton.

He was sentenced to six months for that conviction and was fined
$1,000 by Carroll County Judge Charles Johnson.

Andrews was charged on the 12 new poaching-related counts Dec.
6, including eight counts of possession of untagged deer or deer
parts, and two each of hunting deer without a valid special deer
permit, and of hunting deer by an illegal method (a rifle).

Because of Andrews’ prior convictions, each of the charges is a
first-degree misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of six months
jail and $1,000 fine, said Reno “Jay” Reda, a wildlife officer in
District 3 at Akron.

Reda said that the DNR Division of Wildlife also plans to seek
restitution of $400 each for eight deer allegedly killed by
Andrews.

Andrews was among nine Toledo area men who were arrested and
charged in 1993 with more than 250 violations in what was said to
be a well-entrenched commercial fish and game poaching ring.

At the time, wildlife authorities seized a virtual mountain of
fish and game from several area residences. The investigation,
dubbed Operation Clanbake, was considered one of the largest
undercover cases in division history.

Andrews, identified by authorities as the ringleader of a gang
then known as The Clan, faced 51 charges in Clanbake and on
conviction was ordered to pay an $8,200 fine, $3,800 in
restitution, and serve 28 days of a one-year jail sentence.

At the time, he also had his hunting and fishing privileges in
Ohio revoked for life, though he would have been allowed to reapply
in 15 years if he had no further violations.

Ironically, Andrews has purchased hunting tags, permits, and
licenses since 2001, according to Steve Thomson, a wildlife
investigator who was involved in the arrest and a search of
Andrews’ truck and later of his Toledo home.

“That alone is a violation,” Thomson said. “We had the ability
to check (on the illegal license and permit purchases) but we just
couldn’t believe he would do it.”

Reda said Andrews was intercepted Dec. 4 by state troopers and
wildlife officers at an Ohio Turnpike interchange in Summit County
near Akron. He was taken to the Summit County jail, but was quickly
transferred to Carroll County, where arrest warrants had been
issued earlier.

“This investigation began in early fall as a result of a
heads-up effort by one of our officers, who happened to spot the
suspect in a Carroll County restaurant,” Reda said. “Seeing him
triggered a recollection. Then it became a matter of surveillance
and legwork.”

On Dec. 4, Reda said, Andrews was under surveillance and his
movements, believed toward Toledo, was tracked by state wildlife
officers by helicopter.

Immediately after his arrest, wildlife officers executed a
search warrant in Carroll County on an enclosed trailer, which
contained an ATV allegedly involved in the deer poaching. Another
search warrant later was executed at Andrews’ Toledo home.

Thomson said a search of Andrews’ truck turned up deer meat, a
.30/06 rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun, and an array of hunting clothing
and other gear, plus illegally obtained licenses. All the items and
the truck were seized, as was the ATV and trailer.

In a search of the home, authorities seized five sets of deer
antlers, some suspected metal deer check-tags, and from a freezer
some meat that was being tested for identity.

“It seems like he just can’t stop shooting deer,” wildlife
officer Thomson said. “Obviously, he can’t get it out of his
blood.”

Reprinted by permission of The (Toledo) Blade, December,
2006.

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