Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Detailed look at "the downfall of one of the nation’s deadliest poaching crews"

A grim story by Bryan Schatz for High Country News:

But even after the evening’s staggering discoveries, the officers had no idea how much darker the case would become. Billy Haynes and Erik Martin knew something the officers didn’t: For years, the men had been illegally killing wildlife in the wooded Oregon-Washington borderlands, and they hadn’t been doing it alone. The investigation that began that cold night would be unlike any the wardens had known before, ultimately pushing the boundaries of what they imagined people were capable of — and what they themselves could endure.

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Video after video played, each eerily similar to the last, the men’s hands and faces coated in blood spray from point-blank shots.

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The poachers didn’t appear to harvest much meat; they rarely kept pelts. Heads, when they took them, were apparently often chucked behind old trucks. Their trophies mostly seemed to be the pictures and videos they took and shared with each other.

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The first round of videos had turned up acts of brutality, but this latest batch was worse. At times, young children were the ones pulling the triggers