Catching poachers and other wildlife violators often involves lengthy criminal investigations and requires diligence and dedication on behalf of conservation rangers. RFC David Webb, representing Towns County, was named Investigative Ranger of the Year for demonstrating true devotion to investigative work, which included a multi-year, multi-agency, complex case.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement Division names an Investigative Ranger of the Year annually.
“I commend RFC David Webb on his drive and his efforts to protect Georgia resources,” says Col. Eddie Henderson, director of the Law Enforcement Division. “His ability to work with other agencies and compile information for the investigation, plus being able to finalize reports shows great multi-tasking skills.”
RFC Webb was a principle investigator in a case titled Operation Something Bruin. This case required cooperation with agencies such as U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service as well as other state wildlife agencies. Ultimately, the operation documented over 900 state and federal charges, including 139 state charges against eight defendants in Georgia, and 110 state charges against 26 defendants in North Carolina.
For his part of the investigation, RFC Webb served as an undercover officer for 18 months where his duties included infiltrating groups suspected to be hunting illegally. During this time, he generated over 189 reports and 500 audio recorded conversations. Webb then managed to produce more than six weeks’ worth of reports within a month of time in order to be prepared for the takedown part of the operation which occurred in February 2013.
These violations included:
- Taking bears out of the legal hunting season
- Taking bears over bait
- Failure to tag bears
- Taking protected wildlife
- Taking game animals out of season
“Without doubt, this is one of the best investigations I have ever read about,” said Jim Freeman of Safari Club International, Georgia Chapter. The Georgia Chapter of the Safari Club International sponsors this award. For more information about that organization, visit www.gasci.org .
Other conservation rangers nominated for the award for their outstanding investigative work: RFC Chad Cox, Cpl. Brian Hobbins, Cpl. Mitch Oliver, Sgt. All Greer, RFC David Brady.
For more information about DNR Law Enforcement, visit http://gadnrle.com .