Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife announce the indictment of eight individuals who are accused of being part of an alleged whitetail deer-poaching enterprise.
The state alleges that hundreds of animals were illegally killed, resulting in nearly 3,000 pounds of venison, and allegedly netting of thousands of dollars in profit.
A two-year investigation by the Wildlife Division revealed that alleged ringleader John Zayac, 70, of Broadview Heights, allegedly worked with seven others to allegedly intentionally falsify information to the state of Ohio regarding the number of deer they allegedly bagged as required by law.
Co-defendants include Zayac’s wife Rebecca Gregerson, 60; Terrance Ankrom, 52, and his wife Tina, 42, of Kent; John Stofan, 52, of North Royalton; John Frost, 78, of Brecksville; Todd Neczeporenko, 46, of Jefferson; and Craig Steed, 38, of Newton Falls.
The alleged illegal hunting was conducted in Brecksville, North Royalton, and Broadview Heights, Richfield, and allegedly processed in Ashtabula County.
“The Ohio Department of Natural Resources should be commended for their diligence,” said
O’Malley. “This investigation took time and patience to show that these individuals were (allegedly) illegally and egregiously stealing natural resources from our great state.”
The investigation led the Wildlife Division to believe that Zayac allegedly organized “deer drives” and allegedly allowed the co-defendants to bring the poached deer to his property to be skinned and dressed for processing.
Zayac allegedly then made arrangements with processors and decided upon the form in which the meat would be processed. The large quantities of meat were allegedly produced without the proper tags, rendering it unlawful to sell.
To produce more meat, the defendants allegedly would kill multiple bucks each season and report them as does, the Wildlife Division charges.
Zayac and his wife Rebecca Gregerson, allegedly falsified online records regarding the number of deer they bagged, says the Wildlife Division.
The Ankroms are accused of illegally overbagged deer and falsified their hunting activities, as well as the activities of their son-in-law Steed’s tags and the tags of Terrence’s father-in-law.
Jeffrey L. FrischkornJFrischk@Ameritech.net