Three suspected poachers arrested
A Colusa County man facing prison time for possession of marijuana for sale was arrested during the weekend in connection with a poaching ring.
Bryan Carrion, 46, was one of three men arrested on Saturday, the culmination of a two-month investigation by the state Department of Fish & Game dubbed Operation High Hog.
Jason Martinez, 37, of Elk Grove, and Gerald Martin, 36, of Pollock Pines, also were arrested on a felony warrant for suspicion of illegal taking of game. Each was booked into Colusa County Jail.
The bail was set at $3,000 on Carrion. The other two had bail set at $10,000 each.
Carrion is scheduled to be in court for arraignment today, the District Attorney's Office reported.
The investigation was initiated by ranch owners in Colusa, Butte and Glenn counties who had complained of repeated poaching on their properties since mid-summer.
Game wardens were never able to get to the outlying ranches in time to catch the poachers, but property owners were able to supply license plate numbers of the suspects' vehicles, said Lt. Patrick Foy, spokesman for the state agency.
The three men were reportedly poaching deer, elk and wild boar to sell the meat to private buyers in Northern California.
Wardens put the suspects under surveillance, which included use of airplanes to track their movements, Foy said.
The suspects were seen hunting at night, "spotlighting," or shining bright lights into the animals' eyes, causing them to freeze so they could easily shoot them. They also used illegal snares, Foy said.
The investigation included the sale of the game meat to a market in Sacramento County and to a network of private buyers. Seven search warrants were served Saturday at the buyers' homes, where wardens found the meat in freezers, Foy said.
Investigators found illegal snares at Carrion's Colusa home and 38 firearms in Martin's possession, Foy said.
Foy said the men are convicted felons with past Fish and Game violations.
Foy said the meat buyers were not arrested, but the department will recommend that the District Attorney charge them with violating Fish and Game laws.
Carrion is scheduled to be sentenced on the marijuana and being a felon in possession of a firearm on Dec. 19. He had pleaded no contest to the charges. Several other counts and special allegations were dropped as part of the deal.