ODNR announces 66-count indictment in deer poaching ring

CLEVELAND --  The Ohio Department of Natural Resources on Tuesday announced a 66-count indictment against a group accused of poaching deer. Hundreds of animals were illegally killed, resulting in nearly 3,000 pounds of deer meat, netting thousands of dollars in profit.

Prosecutors say John Zayac, 70, of Broadview Heights, ran the deer poaching ring with seven others in Cuyahoga County. Thirty-nine deer were killed; twenty-two were bucks. The deer were processed into meat and sold.

Officials said the poacher ignored laws and hurt Ohio's ecosystem by killing so many bucks.

The illegal hunting was conducted in Brecksville, North Royalton, Broadview Heights, and Richfield; the processing was done in Ashtabula County.

Authorities stumbled upon the poaching ring during a different investigation.

Charges include racketeering, identity theft, criminal tools, wire fraud, money laundering, and receiving stolen property.

Zayac, who has no priors, is looking at 55 years in prison and restitution to the state could be hundreds of thousands of dollars.