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Natural Resources Police Report — October 2021

Photo of police truck in a fieldThe Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) filed charges in October for a variety of conservation law violations including illegal bear hunting, striped bass violations, and deer poaching. 

A Laurel man was cited for dumping undersized striped bass over a bridge in Dorchester County. On Oct. 1, police on patrol received a tip that someone was harvesting a substantial amount of undersized striped bass near Fishing Creek Bridge. Officers observed Gerber Villatoro, 42, catching undersized striped bass and placing them into a bag. Once Villatoro saw the officers, he quickly reached for his bag and attempted to dump its contents, ignoring police instructions to stop. When officers could see the fish floating outside of the bag on the surface of the water, Villatoro denied having the fish or that they were his. Police charged Villatoro with littering and failure to comply with a lawful police order. He faces up to $1,000 in fines. 

Police arrested a Pennsylvania man for driving while impaired in Harford County after they witnessed him driving recklessly. While on night patrol Oct. 4 in Jarrettsville, officers observed a vehicle crossing the double center line, swaying in and out of the road, and failing to stop at a red light. When police stopped the car, they said driver Aaron Grafton, 22, showed signs of alcohol impairment. During a field sobriety, Grafton allegedly had difficulty standing up, and emitted an odor of alcohol. Police issued Grafton three citations for impaired operation and three citations for negligent operation. He faces up to $3,730 in fines and 3 years in jail. He is scheduled to appear in court at a later date.

Police charged three suspected poachers for trespassing in Montgomery County. On Oct. 8, NRP officers responded to Damascus for a report about three people hunting; they were identified as Jorge Lopez, 38, of Laurel, Edinson Perez-Dominguez, 25, of Beltsville, and Nery De Jesus Figueroa-Corado, 53, of Hyattsville. According to police, Lopez hid his rifle in the woods and denied that he was hunting. Sgt. Benjamin Lillard and his K-9 partner Rider searched a cornfield and wooded area of about 25 acres. Rider located a loaded rifle with ten rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber. Police also learned that all three individuals did not have written permission to hunt or valid hunting licenses. All three were charged with hunting private property without permission, hunting without licenses, hunting deer during the closed firearms season, and several other firearms violations. 

Police charged a man with hunting game birds using illegal bait at Indian Springs Wildlife Management Area in Washington County. On October 23, police were checking an area that was previously baited with a mineral and corn mixture, when they observed Scott Wagner, 40, in a tree stand. Police say Wagner was not wearing fluorescent orange or pink, which is required during muzzleloader season, and as they got closer they observed a fresh mineral block near the tree stand. Also, Wagner’s tree stand was attached in a way that made it permanent, which is illegal on state-owned lands. Wagner also did not possess a required muzzleloader stamp. Wagner was charged for each infraction, and police also instructed him to remove the tree stand. He faces up to $4,500 in fines. 

NRP charged a Sabillasville man with illegal bear hunting in Frederick County. On Oct. 25,  police were on patrol checking a potential bear bait site when they observed Donald Noble, 50, sitting in a ladder stand with a rifle. According to police, Noble’s stand was located where police had found corn kernels the previous day. Maryland law requires a hunter and any bear that a hunter shoots to be at least 150 yards from bait placed for other species. Noble initially denied knowing that the area was baited but later acknowledged that there had been corn there, claiming he had removed it ten days earlier, police said. However, he had taken it out ten days prior. After concluding their investigation, police charged Noble with hunting a black bear with the aid of bait. He faces up to $1,500 in fines.