"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

North America

Bear Hunting Makes Quebec the Ultimate Springtime Destination

Lynn Burkhead - February 01, 2019

Hunting in Quebec offers plenty of quality outfitters, affordable hunting options, great...

North America

From Bucks to Bears to Ducks, Saskatchewan Is a Hunter's Heaven

Lynn Burkhead - February 05, 2019

Whether you're looking for a whitetail, bruin or waterfowl adventure, Saskatchewan can be the...


HUNTING's Booth Babes of SHOT Show 2014

David Draper - January 21, 2014

A record crowd of more than 67,000 people fell upon the halls of the Sands Expo & Convention

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Camp Chef at SHOT Show: Elk Venison Slider Burgers Recipe

Have a freezer full of ground elk venison from your fall hunting trips? Never fear, the folks at Camp Chef have a great SHOT Show recipe that is lean and mean, easy to prepare, and a crowd-pleasing favorite!

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.

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.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


Which Firearm Is Best for Bear Defense?

Larry Case - July 11, 2018

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these...


The Ticks Making Hunters Allergic to Meat

David Hart

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


7 Favorite Truck Guns

Joseph von Benedikt - May 11, 2015

Since the first explorers and pilgrims landed, the inhabitants of this glorious country have...

See More Stories

More News


The Ticks Making Hunters Allergic to Meat

David Hart

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


The Hunter Decline and How We Can Fix It

Andrew McKean - August 20, 2018

We've lost 2.2 million hunters since 2011. Here's how to help save hunting. Photo Credit:...


Second Season of 'Yellowstone' with Cole Hauser

Mike Schoby - June 19, 2019

2018's number-­one watched new cable series is back for Season 2.

See More News

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Temporary Price Reduction.


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


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