FWC officers arrest 3 Bradford County men for poaching
Friday, January 14, 2011
Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-758-0525
Three Bradford County men were arrested Jan. 6 for
illegally hunting on Florida State Prison property in Raiford,
according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Aaron Griffis, 18; Houston Fender, 19; and Shea
Wilson, 18, all of Lawtey, were taken into custody after FWC
officers, acting on tips from concerned citizens, conducted
surveillance on the prison property south of State Road 16.
Griffis was apprehended by FWC Officer Bret Gill
just inside the Union County line as he was hunting in a rye field.
According to officials, he was armed with a rifle. The two other
suspects were tracked with Department of Corrections K-9 units and
an FWC K-9 trained to locate hidden firearms.
Fender and Wilson were arrested by FWC Officer
Ricky Justus as they were walking on N.W. 219th Street. The
two men had left a truck parked at a vacant residence on 219th St.
Department of Corrections K-9 units tracked them from the truck to
a rye field just south of the prison and back to 219th St., where
their rifles were located by the FWC K-9 unit, said FWC
Fender had been convicted on two counts of taking
deer out of season on Dec. 14. Bradford County Judge Johnny Hobbs
sentenced him to one year probation and a 3-year suspension of
hunting rights for the December case.
For the January arrest, Fender was charged with
introduction of firearms on prison property (a second-degree
felony), hunting with a suspended license, taking deer in closed
season, hunting in a closed management area and violation of
probation. Fender was booked into the Bradford County Jail with no
Wilson also was booked into the Bradford County
Jail, charged with introduction of firearms on prison property,
taking deer in closed season and hunting in a closed management
area. Wilson was released after posting a $20,000 bond.
Griffis was booked into Union County Jail and
charged with introduction of firearms on prison property, taking
deer in closed season and hunting in a closed management
area. He was released Jan. 7.
An accomplice to the three men has been identified,
and charges are pending, according to FWC officials.
Bradford and Union County Sheriff's Office deputies
assisted in securing the search area.
"These arrests are the result of concerned, ethical
hunters providing information to area FWC officers and good working
relationships with local sheriff's offices and the Department of
Corrections," said Maj. Lee Beach, FWC regional commander.