The Maryland Natural Resources Police arrested five Garrett County men for deer poaching activities, which stemmed back as far as 2016.
Public tips and social media posts prompted an investigation into a string of illegal hunting incidents. Homes in Garrett County were served search warrants in July, before charges were filed against the five suspects.
Twenty-nine-year-old Dakota Lee Hinebaugh, of Oakland, was fined for 24 hunting violations. He faces up to $39,500 in fines and loss of hunting privileges for up to five years, police said. He allegedly hunted without a license and during a closed season, as well as possessed a deer during a closed season. Hinebaugh is accused of hunting deer at night without written permission, with a spotlight and hiding a deer or removing the head before check-in, according to police.
Twenty-one-year-old Michael DeWitt, of Swanton, was fined for a total of 30 violations. He faces maximum fines up to $45,500 and loss of his hunting privileges for up to five years, police said. DeWitt allegedly hunted during and possessed a deer in a closed season. He is also accused of firing his gun from a vehicle, hunting deer with a spotlight, hunting without written permission, failing to return a turkey kill, obstructing a police investigation and hiding a deer or removing a deer’s head before check-in.
Forty-two-year-old Michael Allen DeWitt, of Oakland, was charged with littering and hindering or obstructing a police investigation. He faces a 30-day jail sentence and a maximum fine of $1,500.
Forty-one-year-old Donald Lee Hinebaugh, of Oakland, was fined for aiding and abetting hunting without a licensed and failing to report two deer kills, police said. He faces a maximum five of $1,500.
Fifty-eight-year-old Phillip Lyle DeWitt, of Mount Lake Park, was fined for “failing to report a kill and failing to record the kill on his Big Game Harvest Record,” police said. He faces a maximum fine of $3,000.
Additionally, the Maryland State Police charged 19-year-old James Wesley Lewis, of Accident and 18-year-old Lukas Issac Holler, of Oakland, for possession of a shotgun or rifle and illegal ammunition after conviction of a disqualifying crime. Both men face a maximum three-year prison sentence and maximum $1,000 fine. They also face an additional one-year prison sentence and maximum fine of $1,000 for the ammunition charge.