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ECOs in New York Uncover Illegal Venison Operation

A two-year investigation by New York State DEC Officers uncovered an illegal venison sales operation.

The NYS DEC’s Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigation (BECI) executed a search warrant in the town of South Edmeston in Otsego County at a shop called ‘Farmers Place’

What investigators uncovered was a more than 3,600 pounds of illegal venison meat and meat products.

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The shop owner Joseph Leonard, a 73-year-old known as “The Deer Man”, was arrested and charged with several counts including Felony Commercialization of Wildlife, Felony Grand Larceny, Criminal Solicitation 4th degree, and Felony Illegal Scheme to Defraud in the 1st Degree after he allegedly sold illegal venison meat products to undercover agents.

Tamra Hoag, the 57-year-old company manager, was also arrested and charged with Illegal Commercialization of Wildlife (venison) and Illegal Scheme to Defraud in the 1st Degree. Both Leonard and Hoag were arraigned in the Town of Edmeston criminal court and will face a judge again in early June 2016.

According to the bulletin, “It is illegal to sell white-tailed deer meat and deer parts in New York State.”

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ECOs in New York Uncover Illegal Venison Operation