Wildlife officials shut down a massive animal-poaching ring Wednesday involving 21 people accused of illegally buying animals in Florida and shipping the meat to other states.
The animals ranged from whitetail deer — a native species that is illegal to harvest and sell — to wild turkey and several kinds of fish, including snapper, snook, bass and trout.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spent 22 months investigating.
“This was a large-scale illegal poaching operation with serious implications for the environment, economy and public health,” said Major Curtis Brown, head of investigations for the FWC.