Two Midland men arrested on charges of commercializing black bear partsContact: Detective Lt. Jason Haines, 989-839-4711 or Ed Golder, 517-284-5815 Agency: Natural Resources
March 6, 2014
Two Midland, Mich., men have been arrested on charges of the illegal buying of Michigan black bears and black bear parts. The charges, authorized by the Midland County Prosecutor's Office, are the result of an undercover investigation by the Department of Natural Resources' Law Enforcement Division's Special Investigations Unit.
The case is pending arraignment of the defendants in the 75th District Court in Midland County. Names of the defendants are being withheld until the arraignment.
A conservation officer assigned to the Bay City District received information that one of the subjects was contacting hunters and soliciting the purchase of black bear parts. Investigators established undercover contact with the suspect and an associate based on this information. A number of transactions involving black bears and black bear parts were conducted with the suspects.
Each of the seven counts against the defendants carries a fine of up to $1,000 and 90 days in jail plus $1,500 in reimbursement per animal that was illegally bought.
"Individuals soliciting for the purchase of black bear parts creates a market for the illegal parts and provides a financial incentive for poachers to take the animals during closed seasons, in excess of established limits, and by unlawful methods," said Detective Lt. Jason Haines. There is a black market for black bear parts in Asia, where the parts are used for medicinal purposes.
"The Special Investigations Unit plays a vital role investigating and arresting major violators, and its cases often include interstate and international violations," said DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler. "The unit's role in the Law Enforcement Division is to use undercover investigations, the latest in technology and forensics to apprehend poachers and others who are illegally commercializing fish and game in our state. The unit works with our conservation officers to build strong cases and to protect our natural resources."
Anyone with information of the illegal commercialization of any Michigan wildlife or fish or any natural resources violations are encouraged to call the Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.