6 Mineola residents arrested on illegal hunting charges following game warden investigation
MINEOLA, TEXAS (KLTV) - A game warden investigation into a group of Mineola residents and their alleged involvement into deer hunting at night with a spotlight and from public roads has led to six arrests.
Jacob Thomas Blair, Dustin James Hartley, Kaleb Lee Brown, Aspen Lynn Umphries, Dalton Jeronimo Robles and Hilario Lynch Garcia are facing multiple charges separately, including hunt white-tailed deer with the aid of an artificial light, hunt white-tailed deer at night and hunt white-tailed deer from a vehicle.
According to arrest affidavits, game wardens interviewed the suspects in February and each, at some point, admitted to illegal hunting over the previous two hunting seasons. The affidavits detail how each suspect would go out with one or more of the other suspects at various times and hunt at night using a spotlight.
According to an affidavit, Blair said he, Brown, and his girlfriend, Umphries, rode around drinking alcohol on a November weekend night in 2018. He said Umphries drove while Brown spotlighted when they found a herd of deer from the public road on County Road 2724. Blair said he shot a doe on private property and they loaded it into his truck.
The affidavit states Blair admitted to several other instances of killing deer during the night.
According to another affidavit, Hartley admitted to going spotlighting with Blair and Garcia on County Road 2100 in fall of 2017. He said they came upon a large pasture and discovered several deer while spotlighting. He said “I thought about it before I got out. Ain’t got no deer meat or nothing” and he and Blair each aimed at a different deer and shot each one. Hartley said they then saw spotlights coming down the road and they left and never retrieved the deer, and their guns were seized as evidence, according to the affidavit.
In a second interview, Hartley admitted to being with Blair and another man, who has not yet been charged, when the man shot at a set of eyes in the fall of 2017, but it ended up being a cow.
According to the affidavit, multiple cows and calves had been shot that year.
In another affidavit, Robles admitted to also hunting at night illegally and doing it with Garcia and Blair. He said at least 10 deer were shot at and not retrieved during a 10-year span.
The affidavits state each suspect could have had around 100 violations each filed against them but game wardens chose three or four charges against each suspect.
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