NINTH LORAIN COUNTY RESIDENT ARRESTED IN "OPERATION OVERKILL"
Investigation continues with additional arrests possible
COLUMBUS, OH - State wildlife officers netted a ninth suspect from Lorain County late today in connection with "Operation Overkill" - the investigation into an alleged deer poaching ring operating in Coshocton and Knox counties.
Johnny Saltis, 37, of Lorain faces one felony charge for shooting from a motor vehicle, as well as 32 misdemeanor wildlife violations, including: shooting deer from the road, hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle, hunting on private property without permission, failing to tag and check deer, possession of untagged deer, transporting an illegally taken deer, hunting outside of legal hunting hours, aiding an offender, littering, and hunting deer without a deer permit, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
Eight other men were arrested late Wednesday and early Thursday on a variety of felony firearms charges and misdemeanor wildlife violations. Those arrests were announced earlier today.
"Operation Overkill" began in September 2006 as an anonymous tip through the division's Turn-In-a-Poacher (TIP) hotline. Wildlife officials allege that the group of suspects drove to Coshocton and Knox counties on several occasions and shot deer from inside their vehicles or along the roadway in violation of state laws.
Charges include felonies for the illegal handling of firearms, as well as misdemeanor wildlife violations including: shooting deer from the roadway, hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle, taking more than the bag limit of deer, taking more than one buck deer, hunting on private property without permission, failing to tag and check deer, hunting outside of legal hunting hours, using a radio for hunting purposes, and hunting deer without a deer permit.
The investigation into this case is ongoing. Additional arrests may follow.
If convicted, the suspects will face fines, possible jail time and forfeiture of hunting privileges. A first-time misdemeanor wildlife offense involving the illegal taking or possession of deer could result in fines of up to $500 and a maximum of 60 days in jail. Violators also may be required to pay restitution for illegally taken animals at a minimum value of $400 per deer. All illegally taken wildlife, as well as firearms and motor vehicles used in the violations, may be forfeited.
The Division of Wildlife's TIP line continues to curtail wildlife violations across the state by encouraging citizens to report any illegal activity they observe. Tips may be phoned anonymously to 1-800-POACHER or submitted online.