Facebook Post Leads to Poaching Ring Bust

A Facebook photo of a deer hunt eventually led to the conviction of four men on firearms and poaching charges, according to authorities. 

The Nevada Department of Wildlife studied a Facebook post of a deer hunt near Hiko, Nev. that appeared to be of an illegally hunted deer in June 2013 which led to the arrests and conviction of the four men, USA Today reported. The game wardens found the group of men had "fraudulently obtained hunting licenses and illegally possesses rifles and shotguns," which led to federal charges because three of the men were suspected of being in the country without documentation.

The photo of three men with two dead deer started the investigation and led to the identification of Jose Manuel Ortega-Torres and began seeing more evidence on his Facebook page of "Illegally killed deer, migratory birds, butchering tools, weapons and ammunition."

With a search of Ortega-Torres' home and Facebook posts, it led investigators to three other men: Adrian Acevedo-Hernandez, 36, Jose Luis Montufar-Canales, 31, and J. Nemias Reye Marin, 31, were "actively engaging in several different wildlife crimes," according to the Department of Wildlife. The Las Vegas Review-Journal said the men were also suspected of killing federally-protected birds.

Acevedo-Hernandez, Montufar-Canales and Marin are suspected to be in the country illegally. According to the Department of Wildlife: 

  • Montufar-Canales was convicted in Churchill County, Nev., of using false information to obtain a hunting license
  • Acevedo-Hernandez was convicted in Lincoln County, Nev., of unlawful possession of two mule deer and ordered to pay $5,000 in fines and civil penalties and to forfeit six firearms
  • Acevedo-Hernandez also was convicted in Elko County for another incident of illegal possession of a deer and ordered to forfeit a rifle and his truck
  • Marin pleaded guilty in Elko County for illegal possession of a mule deer and is awaiting sentencing.

Ortega Torres was convicted on local poaching charges, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. 

The game wardens were surprised that the men were so "blatant" about flouting rules, but if they have read anything about Facebook and criminals, they will know it's not an uncommon practice. 

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