| Three Barbour County residents have been arrested and charged with several violations of West Virginia wildlife laws involving the illegal killing of two black bears, according to Division of Natural Resources Lt. Jon Cogar.|
Natural Resources Police Officer Josh Prickett, stationed in Barbour County, received a complaint regarding two dead bears hanging in a tree on Talbott Road near Route 33 in the Belington area.
Officer Prickett spoke with Brandan Allen of Belington, who lives at the residence and was in possession of both bears. The bears were checked in by two different hunters and the tags showed the bears were taken in the area of Cheat Mountain in Randolph County.
Officer Prickett contacted both alleged hunters who checked the bears in during the first week of bear season in December.
While conducting the interviews, Officer Pickett determined that it was highly unlikely that alleged hunters had killed either of the bears in question because they could not remember key points of the hunt.
After a second interview conducted by Officer Prickett and Sgt. Bob Waybright, they were able to prove that all parties involved fabricated their story of the bear hunt to cover up their illegal activity. Tickets were issued January 24 and 25.
Brandan Allen, age 26 of Belington, was charged in Randolph Co. for exceeding the season limit on bear and violating the bear checking regulations. He was charged with Conspiracy to Violate Chapter 20 of the West Virginia Code (wildlife laws), Withholding Information, and Illegal Possession of Wildlife in Barbour County. Allen entered a guilty plea to the Randolph County charges and was fined a total of $2,677.60 and sentenced to 30 days in jail. The Barbour County charges are still pending.
James Edgell, age 36 of Belington, was charged with Conspiracy to Violate Chapter 20, Withholding Information and Illegal Possession of Wildlife. These charges were filed in Barbour County. Mr. Edgell entered a guilty plea and was fined a total of $542.40.
Kimberly Smith, age 40 of Belington, was charged with Conspiracy to Violate Chapter 20 and Withholding Information. These charges were filed in Barbour County. Smith entered a guilty plea and was fined a total of $361.60.