Tahlequah Man Arrested In Cherokee County Elk Poaching Case

<p>Game wardens arrested a Tahlequah man&nbsp;in an elk poaching case in Cherokee County.</p>

Friday, January 26th 2018, 8:16 am



Game wardens arrested a Tahlequah man in an elk poaching case in Cherokee County.

According to court records, Rocky Watts, 37, killed the elk on land at the Nature Conservancy near Tahlequah, where hunting is illegal.

Game warden Brady May says Watts checked in an elk through the wildlife department as a legal harvest.

May says Rocky Watts is a convicted poacher in Cherokee County, so game wardens stopped by his house and he showed them the elk.

Court records say Watts took them to private property where they say he had staged a kill site. May says Watts left the elk's carcass on the conservancy property, so wardens collected meat from it and seized meat from the elk Watts claimed he harvested legally and did DNA testing.

Court records show the two samples were a match.

Cherokee County Sheriff deputies arrested Watts on Thursday as well as two others on drug complaints.  

Court records say while looking into the poaching case, investigators found Rocky Watts, Debbie Vaughn, 45, and Johnny Barnett, 38, were in possession of a large amount of marijuana that was in the drying process.

Investigators say Johnny Barnett also helped Rocky Watts cover up the poaching incident and stage the fake kill site.

Barnett and Vaughn face charges of drug possession with intent to distribute.

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