Auburn Township Residents Charged with Poaching
By D.C. Koviack
Seven men were arrested late Saturday night for felony violations of the large game laws. The men, who were immediately taken into custody, are all accused of poaching numerous buck and doe whitetail deer before deer season was open and during nighttime hours.
Three of the men accused currently live at 803 Apt. 1 SR3013, Auburn Township, Susquehanna County. However, all of those involved are from out of state.
According to reliable sources, all the accused work for a company subcontracted to Chief, one of the companies engaged in Marcellus Shale gas drilling in the area.
The accused are: Timothy Barnett, 26, Imoden, AR; Kenneth Aden, 28, Robert Sauls, 32, Jonathon Aden, 22, and Steve Ware, 58, all of Oakdale, LA; Weldon Thibodeaux, 36, Pineville, LA, and Christopher Lowe, 32, Pitkin, LA.
According to the Affidavit of Probable Cause, on Saturday, Nov. 26, Wyoming County 911 received a call just after 11 p.m. regarding gunshots and spotlighting in a field near Stange Road, Washington Township. The affidavit also states that there had been deer poaching occurring in this area for the last few weeks.
Officer Victor Rosa of the PA Game Commission proceeded to the location and was met by other law enforcement persons; a dead deer was observed lying in the field and the officers waited to see who would come back to the spot to retrieve the deer.
In the early hours of Sunday, two men in a dark pickup truck arrived at the spot and loaded the deer carcass into the truck bed. The officers followed the truck, which bore Arkansas plates, and initiated a felony stop. Five individuals, Barnett, Aden, Thibodeaux, Aden and Lowe were removed from the vehicle and questioned about their involvement with the deer carcass. Barnett allowed the vehicle to be searched and then admitted killing the deer unlawfully. The other four men also made statements. No firearms were discovered in the vehicle, and it was later learned that the gun belonging to Barnett had been dropped off at the Auburn Township residence of the Adens and Lowe earlier in the timeline.
The officers and five suspects then drove to that residence and, according to the affidavit, “observed in plain view was blood going into the side doorway of a detached garage.” Inside the residence were Robert and Michelle Sauls and Steve Ware. Sauls gave permission for the residence to be searched and he also admitted to his involvement in the illegal taking of several whitetail deer in the past weeks. The search uncovered six sets of antlers, about 100 lbs. of freshly cut deer meat and four firearms.
The affidavit states that Ware is denying involvement in the actual poaching, although he admits that he knew of the deer meat at the Auburn Township residence. However, the affidavit states that Ware is specifically implicated in the unlawful taking of at least one deer. All seven are charged with unlawful possession, transport, aiding, abetting and conspiring to possess, transport or taking whitetail deer illegally. Five are also charged with possession of seven illegally killed deer and two are further charged with possession of six illegally killed deer.
The preliminary hearing has been set for Dec. 7 before Magisterial District Judge John Hovan but will likely be continued.