Three men suspected of poaching during the annual salmon run were arrested the morning of November 2, after leading police on a wild chase in the woods in Niagara County.
The incident occurred just after 2 a.m. when DEC Environmental
Conservation Officers (ECOs) were conducting a night patrol along the
Lake Ontario shoreline and its tributaries.
ECOs Roger Ward and Nathan Ver Hague were checking the Burt Dam area
of 18-mile Creek in Newfane when they noticed several large garbage bags
piled on a pathway. The officers inspected the bags and found them
loaded with freshly caught salmon.
At the same time, a pickup truck slowly drove by the area. Two men
approached on foot and ECO Ward revealed himself and ordered the men to
stop. The men took off running through the woods. ECO Ward apprehended
one suspect hiding in the brush, but as ECO Ver Hague chased the other
down to the creek, the man dove in and swam off. The Niagara County
Sheriff's Department was called for assistance.
Deputy Matt Grainge responded and located a pickup truck a short
distance away matching the description given by the ECOs. The driver was
sitting inside awaiting a call from the other two men.
Deputies Keith Hetrick, John Vosberg and a K-9 officer tracked the
suspect who swam across the creek and eventually located him attempting
to climb up a gorge. He was taken into custody.
A total of 69 salmon ranging in size from 5 to 35 pounds had been
poached from the creek, the subjects using a weighted treble hook and
net to snag the fish.
The three men - Sergey Yatchuk, 41, of 55 Applewood Ln., Getzville,
Petro Parfenyk, 29, of 2204 Prospect Ave., Erie, Penn., and Mikhail F.
Sakalosh, 39, of 8322 Taylor Colquitt Rd., Spartanburg, S.C. - were
charged with 32 violations, including fishing without a license,
possessing foul-hooked fish, taking fish by snatching, taking fish in
excess of daily limit, and illegal fishing at night.
The three suspects were remanded to the county jail in lieu of bail, $1,100 for Parfenyk and Sakalosh and $1,000 for Yatchuk.
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