Suspects involved in a massive poaching ring in southwestern Washington and north central Oregon are officially charged.
Two of them are a father and son pair well-known in hunting circles.
Combined, the suspects killed about 100 animals illegally, including bear, elk, deer, bobcat, and squirrel, which is considered a big game animal in Oregon. Multiple videos seized showed the suspects encouraging their dogs to tear bears apart after shooting them from tree tops.
Officers were alerted to the poaching ring after receiving tips about dead wildlife found without their heads or other trophy body parts.
According to WDFW, seven individuals are being charged, four of them in Superior Court and three of them in District Court. Two women were arraigned Tuesday.
The suspects include:
- Bryan Christopher Tretiak of Morton is facing two counts of unlawful hunting of big game.
- Erik Christian Martin is facing multiple counts of unlawful hunting big game, including the use of dogs, as well as charges for the waste of fish and wildlife.
- Eddy Alvin Dills of Longview, is facing several counts of unlawful hunting of big game, several counts of hunting with the aid of dogs and waste of fish and wildlife.
- Joseph Allen Dills of Longview is facing similar charges to his father, Eddy Dills.
- William J. Haynes of Longview will also face charges of unlawful hunting of big game and use of dogs.
Two juveniles are also charged with associated violations.
"This was really shocking, especially that it was going on in broad daylight right in front of us," Cpt. Jeff Wickerhsam said. "The correspondence among these individuals showed a wanton disregard for our wildlife resources and the rules meant to protect them."
For Wickersham and others, the graphic videos and other evidence was disturbing. Officers served search warrants in March, April, and May. It was like peeling back an onion, Wickersham said.
"Several suspects had the location services turned on their phone which tracked the individual actions on their phones, allowing investigators to track specific violations at specific locations," he said.
The father and son pair, Eddy "Alvin" Dills and Joe Dills, are well-known in hunting circles.
Joe Dills was investigated in 2007 and charged in 2008 for his participation in the prolific poaching group, the self-avowed "Kill 'Em All Boyz." According to his case file, Dills hunted beside Micky Gordon, a man who bragged about illegally killing bears among other wildlife and even lethally punished one his hound dogs by wrapping an electrical collar to his testicles, shocking him so severely the dog later died of his injuries.
Eddy Dills, Joe Dills' dad, hunted on nearly two-dozen state issued permits in 2011 to kill bears on timber farms, as part of the WDFW Bear Timber Depredation Management (BTDM) program. It's a program that depends on hunter ethics, entrusted behind locked gates on private land to follow the rules.
Each permit allowed his group to kill two bears. It's a program aimed at removing problem bears from peeling vulnerable trees on timber farms.
However, in a year-long investigation, KING 5 learned BTDM hunters who are caught breaking the rules are rarely held accountable by the state due to fractured and inconsistent policy driven by pressure from big timber. Hunters involved with the program told KING 5 there is often pressure to kill whatever bears are in the area rather than targeting problem animals.
Several of the suspects have not yet been officially arraigned.