Prosecutors named in 'biggest' West Virginia deer poaching case
Feb. 9—KEYSER, W.Va. — Special prosecutors have been named in the largest poaching case in decades, and possibly history, of the West Virginia Natural Resources Police department.
Last month, 223 charges involving at least 27 antlered bucks taken illegally in Mineral, Grant and Hampshire counties from mid September to late December were filed against eight area residents.
On Tuesday, NRP Capt. Robert Clark said Attorney Rebecca Miller, the Hampshire County prosecuting attorney, will oversee charges in Hampshire and Mineral counties, and Bradley Goldizen, a Grant County attorney, will handle alleged offenses in Grant County.
"I've worked for the department 33 years (and) it's the biggest one that I can remember," Clark said of the poaching case. "The investigation is ongoing."
Former Mineral County deputy sheriffs Tyler Biggs and Dalton Dolly are among the people charged and have resigned from their jobs.
Allegany County Department of Emergency Services EMS Chief Christopher Biggs, who faces felony charges, has been suspended from his job.
Others charged with misdemeanor offenses are Colton Broadwater, Ivy Rodehaver, Robert Horner Sr., Robert "Beau" Horner Jr. and Gregory Broadwater.
According to the Mineral County, West Virginia, magistrate office, Christopher Biggs is charged with one count each of felony forgery and felony conspiracy in poaching-related offenses, and was released on a $10,000 bond.
On Tuesday, Christopher Biggs, who has a valid paramedic license in West Virginia, worked with Keyser EMS on an ambulance call, according to Mineral County Administrator and Director of Emergency Services Luke McKenzie.
IAFF Local 1715 President Ken McKenzie, who said he's not related to Luke McKenzie, said the union is concerned that Christopher Biggs is working with Keyser EMS, which responds to calls in parts of Allegany County including Cresaptown and Westernport.
Before the felony charges were issued against Christopher Biggs in West Virginia, Local 1715, which represents paid full-time firefighters and emergency medical services personnel, formally asked the Allegany County Government Department of Human Resources to remove him as EMS chief due to allegations including nepotism, Weingarten Rights violations, derogatory comments about employees to other employees and questionable ethics and integrity.
"It's going to be an extremely awkward situation," Ken McKenzie said of the potential for Christopher Biggs and Local 1715 members to work at the same scene.
He also talked of public perception and liability.
"It's just a bad situation," Ken McKenzie said. "The risk outweighs the benefit."
While the ambulance work is technically considered voluntary, the EMS company offers a pay-per-call incentive that can range from roughly $50 to $70.
The company's agreement with Christopher Biggs was unclear Tuesday.
Colby Simpson, of the Mineral County Ambulance Authority, said he had "no comment" regarding Christopher Biggs.
Teresa McMinn is the Digital Editor for the Cumberland Times-News. She can be reached at 304-639-2371 or email@example.com.