When an Ordinary Day Becomes Not So Ordinary
You never know when that next phone call might lead to something BIG
by By Mark McKinnon
(All suspect names have been changed for this article)
An ordinary Tuesday one spring, specifically March 22nd of 2016, Game Warden Joe Hill with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division received a complaint from citizens about their dog being caught in a steel trap in White County. Hill had no idea the call would launch a five-month investigation leading to a 36-count indictment. Such is how things often go in the world of conservation law enforcement. Many big cases, also referred to as “good licks”, blossom from a simple tip.
Hill, along with his supervisor Sergeant Steve Seitz, responded to the area and located a trap that was sprung, other areas where additional animals had been caught, and a trap that was still set. The legal trapping season in Georgia for furbearing animals had ended on the last day of February. The closure was 22 days earlier.
The sprung trap had Carrie Louden’s name on an attached metal tag as required by law. A trapping license check revealed she possessed a valid trapping license in her name. The officers photographed and documented evidence in the area and placed surveillance cameras on the set trap. Hill checked the memory cards on the cameras each day and within a couple of days, he had photos of a male subject checking and tending the traps.