By Kathy McCarty
Four individuals, including two local residents, have been charged with buying and selling wild animals, following a tip to the Maine Warden Service.
“The Maine Warden Service received information regarding the illegal purchase and sale of wild animal parts. Wardens investigated the complaint, corroborated the information and were successful at obtaining two search warrants,” said Lt. Tom Ward, MWS, based in Ashland.
According to Ward, the operators of a Presque Isle eatery are among those charged.
“On June 30, warrants were executed at The Chopsticks Chinese restaurant in Presque Isle, as well as at the residence of Eric Zeng, 46, and Winnie Zeng, 44, of Presque Isle,” Ward said.
Eric and Winnie Zeng were each charged with buying and selling wild animals, a Class D crime.
“Also charged were PEI Kuang Chen, 42, and Weisi Dai, 30, both of Manchester, N.H. Both individuals have been charged with buying and selling wild animals,” he said.
Under the law, the sale of wild animal parts is highly restricted.
“Title 12 Section 11217 reads, other than a few exceptions, ‘a person may not buy, sell or offer for sale or aid in the buying, selling or offering for sale any bear, deer, moose or wild turkey,’” explained Ward.
Ward confirmed that bear and deer meat was recovered during the investigation.
The Warden Service was assisted by special agents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department and have been in communication with the Aroostook County D.A.’s office regarding the investigation.
The Zengs are scheduled for arraignment on Sept. 15 in Presque Isle District Court.