"Facepoached" -- Internet bragging brings down Florida poaching ring

"Facepoached"  -- Internet bragging brings down Florida poaching ring
In this photo posted on Facebook, Darin Lee Waldo poses with two illegally taken whitetail deer.

Poachers have never been accused of being the sharpest knives in the drawer, and this most recent incident from Florida proves that in spades.

43-year-old Darin Lee Waldo of Davenport was arrested and charged with seven different felony charges and six misdemeanor charges after several facebook posts of his poaching crimes prompted Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation (FWC) Internet Crimes Unit officials to launch an investigation that ultimately led to his arrest.

A convicted felon who cannot legally possess firearms, Waldo and other accomplices were accessing the Lake Marion Creek Wildlife Management area during closed seasons. The group hid small boats and guns in wooded areas and accessed the WMA by waterway to avoid apprehension.


The internet crimes unit went to work when Waldo's facebook images appeared.


"Our investigators were able to gain Waldo's confidence over the Internet," said Lt. George Wilson, supervisor of the FWC's Internet Crimes Unit.


The FWC Internet Crime team received images and details of Waldo's crimes via private messaging and chat rooms. Two undercover agents were even invited to participate in two illegal hunts by the accused.

"Waldo was also trespassing and poaching on private ranches before hunting season, stealing Florida's wildlife from landowners who were maintaining conservation programs," Wilson said.

His third-degree felony charges include four counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and three counts of armed trespass. His second-degree misdemeanor charges include two counts of attempting to take wild turkey during closed season and one count each of attempting to take deer during closed season, unlawful hunting on Lake Marion Creek WMA, unlawful possession of a firearm on Lake Marion Creek WMA and unlawful entry into Lake Marion Creek WMA.


Additional charges are pending on co-conspirators. Each third-degree felony charge is punishable by up to a $5,000 fine and/or five years in prison. Second-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to a $500 fine and/or 60 days in jail.

Florida's Internet Crimes unit has been very successful in tracking down poaching crimes and other wildlife violations. In its first year of operation, the unit has initiated 168 investigations, resulting in 177 arrests and 92 warnings.

"FWC investigators use the Internet to aggressively target criminals who are abusing Florida's natural resources," Wilson said.


Recommended for You

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians. News

The Ticks Making Hunters Allergic to Meat

David Hart

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians.

Check out these top choices for building out your reloading bench. Ammo

Roll Your Own: Best Reloading Supplies

David Draper - April 19, 2019

Check out these top choices for building out your reloading bench.

The most modern ammo and gear increase the odds of bagging a tricky tom this spring. Other Game

Today's Updated Turkey Hunting Gear

Joe Arterburn

The most modern ammo and gear increase the odds of bagging a tricky tom this spring.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 11: Wheelgun Buffalo

Host Craig Boddington lays claim to hunting more than 100 Cape Buffalo over the course of his 40 plus year career, but he never took one with a handgun. That changed in South Africa when Craig faced down "black death" with a magnum wheelgun.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 13: Forest Buffalo

Craig Boddington returns to Mozambique's fame Coutada 10 for a shot a forest buffalo that's eluded him for 10 years.

Cheeseburger Poppers

Cheeseburger Poppers

David Draper shares his recipe for making delicious cheeseburger poppers with wild game in this edition of "Fare Game."

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Many of the states in our glorious nation provide great hunting, but only a few have the whitetail North America

Top 10 Trophy Whitetail States

Joseph von Benedikt - December 18, 2017

Many of the states in our glorious nation provide great hunting, but only a few have the...

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians. News

The Ticks Making Hunters Allergic to Meat

David Hart

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians.

We evaluate the four factors in determining whether a cartridge is viable for long-range hunting: trajectory, wind drift, impact velocity, and accuracy. Ammo

Is the .308 a Viable Long Range Cartridge?

Keith Wood

We evaluate the four factors in determining whether a cartridge is viable for long-range...

See More Stories

More News

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians. News

The Ticks Making Hunters Allergic to Meat

David Hart

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians.

Mike Fies was home getting ready for Christmas when his boss called. A woman not far from Fies' News

Ghost Cats: Eastern Cougars Don't Exist!

David Hart - October 24, 2016

Mike Fies was home getting ready for Christmas when his boss called. A woman not far from...

Hurricane Harvey dealt a serious blow to the state of Texas, devastating both homes and wildlife. News

Mossy Oak Spearheading Relief Effort for Texas

PH Online Editors - September 08, 2017

Hurricane Harvey dealt a serious blow to the state of Texas, devastating both homes and...

See More News

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.