Three men from southeast Iowa are facing more than $100,000 in fines for their roles in a large deer poaching and “commercialization of wildlife” case. Shawn Meier with the Iowa DNR says the arrests followed several years of investigation. “The more information that came in actually created this case,” Meier said. “It took a lot of people working late nights and talking to a lot of different individuals before the late information came through – and once it did, it really came to light and it definitely showed with the number of violations detected from the search warrant.”
The men who are charged in the case are identified as 38-year-old Brad Johnson and 32-year-old Shae McCabe, both of Fairfield, and 38-year-old Southep Souchanh of Mount Pleasant.
Meier says the men were primarily illegally killing white-tail deer and selling the antlers inside and outside of the state. Johnson’s fines total more than $51,000. McCabe is facing fines of more than $31,000 and Souchanh faces nearly $26,000 in fines.
Most of the animals were killed in Jefferson, Van Buren and Henry Counties. The case remains open and Meier says more people could be arrested. “I don’t know how many more people will be charged, but interviews are being conducted and we’ll continue until we feel we’ve accomplished all the loose ends that need to be taken care of,” Meier said.
In addition to charges of unlawful possession of deer, Souchanh is charged with 145 counts of unlawful possession of squirrels. Meier says Souchanh was killing and eating the squirrels. “He would go out and kill as many squirrels as he could over a four to five county area, put them in his freezer and fix them up in many different ways,” Meier said. “It’s one of the largest squirrel cases that’s probably ever been made in the state.”
Officers conducted search warrants on the Johnson and McCabe properties last week and filed the charges this Wednesday.