RIPLEY — Two people have been arrested and three others issued criminal summonses to appear in court on charges related to the illegal killing of five deer in Ripley earlier this month.
Three additional people are due to be charged in connection with the case, Cpl. John MacDonald, of the Maine Warden Service, said in a news release.
The charges were announced Friday afternoon, on the eve of deer hunting season in Maine.
Jesse Kwasniewski, 21, of Harmony, was arrested on three counts of night hunting and one count of hunting under the influence.
Kwasniewski, said to have been the one who organized the poaching, also was charged with two additional counts of night hunting, five counts of hunting or possessing deer in closed season, shooting too close to a dwelling, shooting from motor vehicle and hunting without a license, according to MacDonald.
All of the charges are misdemeanor crimes punishable by up to a year in jail on each count.
Also arrested for night hunting was Maynard Kwasniewski, 42, Jesse Kwasniewski’s father, also of Harmony. He also was summoned for drug-related violations, placing bait to entice deer and possession of unlabeled deer meat.
The following people were issued summonses:
* Roger Bickmore, 23, of Harmony, summoned for possession of deer killed at night.
* Vicki Boutilier, 44, of Harmony, summoned for possession of deer killed at night.
* An unnamed 17-year-old juvenile female from the Dexter area, summoned for night hunting, illuminating wildlife and illegal transportation of deer.
MacDonald said game wardens began investigating the report of deer poaching on Oct. 8, when a call was received about three dead deer — two adult females and a fawn — found in a field on the Lane Road in Ripley, in rural Somerset County.
A fourth deer was shot and removed the same night, according to the release.
During the investigation wardens learned of a fifth deer that was shot at night by the group during the same time frame in early October, according to the release.
Wardens also found a another deer that had been run over with a vehicle. The deer was kept and the crash was not reported to any law enforcement agency, according to MacDonald.
MacDonald said help from the public and the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office were important to obtaining search warrants.
MacDonald said Operation Game Thief received information that was critical to the investigation. He said the program, which is a private organization, offered a $3,000 reward for information about the Ripley poaching incident.
MacDonald said the reward process had not been completed as of Friday afternoon.
Doug Harlow — 612-2367