"Facepoached" -- Internet bragging brings down Florida poaching ring

"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.


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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 16: Cedar Break Bucks

Kevin Steele treks to the cedar breaks and coulees of north-central Nebraska for a shot at a big prairie whitetail.

Cheeseburger Poppers

Cheeseburger Poppers

David Draper shares his recipe for making delicious cheeseburger poppers with wild game in this edition of "Fare Game."

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 14: Swamp Bulls

With his Mozambique forest bull in the salt, Craig Boddington sets his sights on the Marromeu grasslands in pursuit of a swamp buffalo.

2018 Petersen

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 Articles

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

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...

I have never felt that camping trailers at least the Hunting

The Ultimate Hunting Trailers

WA Staff

I have never felt that camping trailers at least the "house on wheels" variety that most people

Looking for a great gun for the young hunter in your family? Here are eight favorites. Guns

8 Great Youth Guns Designed for Growing Hunters

Brad Fitzpatrick - July 18, 2016

Looking for a great gun for the young hunter in your family? Here are eight favorites.

My deer-hunting seeds were planted and nurtured as a youngster on my family's small farm in North America

Best Units for Hunting Western Mule Deer

Josh Dahlke

My deer-hunting seeds were planted and nurtured as a youngster on my family's small farm in

See More Trending Articles

More News

After more than four decades, the Yellowstone grizzly bear is being removed from the Endangered News

Yellowstone Grizzly Bear to be Delisted from ESA

Kali Parmley - October 02, 2017

After more than four decades, the Yellowstone grizzly bear is being removed from the Endangered

Hunters should't let the pandemic scare them away from license draws. News

Will COVID-19 Pandemic Kill Hunting Tag Applications?

Joe Arterburn - March 27, 2020

Hunters should't let the pandemic scare them away from license draws.

Social media: Where hunters must #keepITPublic and Stay #sickforit — or else. News

The Impact of Social Media on Hunting

Andrew McKean

Social media: Where hunters must #keepITPublic and Stay #sickforit — or else.

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

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: Matt

See More News

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now