COLUMBUS — A former Steubenville police officer was sentenced last week along with four other men for running an illegal poaching scheme in Jefferson County, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced today.
A three-year investigation by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife with assistance from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Environmental Enforcement Unit found that former officer Nathan Cline and his accomplices took paying clients to private and public properties to hunt without approval from landowners. The crimes occurred from 2006 to 2017.
"These convictions are the product of a strong multi-agency partnership between my office and the Department of Natural Resources," Attorney General Yost said. "Let it be known that we will continue to demand accountability from all who breach the laws protecting Ohio’s wildlife."
Assistant attorneys general from Yost’s office served as special assistant prosecutors for the case.
Judge Michelle Miller of the Jefferson County Common Pleas Court sentenced Cline to two years in prison, five years of probation and ordered him to pay restitution of $29,165 to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. Cline, who was the ringleader of the group, also had his hunting license suspended for three years and must pay a $3,000 fine.
He was convicted in December of five felony charges, including attempted engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and unauthorized use of the Law Enforcement Automated Data System (LEADS), in addition to 11 misdemeanor wildlife violations. The City of Steubenville fired him in October.
The other men sentenced include:
Marlon Hale: Three months in jail; six months in community-based correction facility; five years of probation; 500 hours of community service; three-year hunting license suspension; $3,000 fine; $2,600 restitution.
Robert Gilbert: 910 days in jail (suspended); five years of probation; three-year hunting license suspension; $6,000 fine; $18,725 restitution.
Waylon Deatrick: 90 days in jail (suspended); two years of probation; $1,000 fine; $1,000 restitution.
Richard Harr: $750 fine; $1,250 restitution.
Another two men, Joshua McLaren and Ronnie Griffith, were sentenced previously to one-year hunting license suspensions and ordered to pay fines and restitution of more than $1,000 each for their roles in the scheme.