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Maine Lawmakers to Quiz Wardens on Controversial Poaching Sting

The legislative committee that oversees the Maine Warden Service will hold a hearing about a poaching sting in Allagash that triggered complaints from residents and raised questions about the conduct of an undercover agent.

Republican Senate President Michael Thibodeau said Inland Fisheries and Wildlife chief Chandler Woodcock and Col. Joel Wilkinson, head of the warden service, are expected to attend.

“Obviously there’s been a lot written about what went on in the St. John Valley with our warden service. We want to make sure legislators have a clear understanding as to what transpired there,” Thibodeau said. “This is an opportunity for the commissioner and the folks from department to come over and explain, from their perspective, exactly what transpired, in a public forum, so that everybody hears it the same way.”

The hearing follows a report by the Portland Press Herald that raised questions about the 2014 poaching raid, the conduct of an undercover agent and whether the operation was fueled by the presence of a reality TV crew. The Warden Service has sharply disputed the newspaper’s account.

Thibodeau said the hearing will take place within the the next two weeks.