MDNR GAME OFFICERS NAB COLORADO'S 'MOST WANTED'|
LANSING--After nearly a year on the run, a felony fugitive
wanted by the Colorado Division of Wildlife was arrested
Sunday in Berrien County by Michigan Conservation Officers.
Wendell Cook fled Colorado after being sentenced on several
felony wildlife charges, and successfully evaded law
enforcement in several states despite an outstanding warrant
with nation-wide extradition and a $50,000 bond. In addition
to the outstanding wildlife charges, Cook has prior felony
drug and firearms convictions, and was considered armed and
dangerous. Colorado wildlife officials listed Cook as their
most-wanted wildlife offender.
Following an anonymous tip late Saturday night to the Report
All Poaching Hotline, Michigan Department of Natural
Resources officers quickly assembled a fugitive arrest team.
Detective Sergeant Wade Hamilton, Supervisor of the DNR's
Special Investigation Section of the Wildlife Resource
Protection Unit, was aware of Cook's possible ties in
Michigan as result of work on other cases with Colorado.
Hamilton had compiled an intelligence file on Cook's
activities, which was shared with Conservation Officers
The effort paid off when Conservation Officer Andy Bauer
recognized Cook's name on a RAP complaint, and immediately
contacted Hamilton. Working on little more than 8 hours'
notice before Cook's arrival, Hamilton organized and led the
take-down team that included Detective John Jurcich of the
Wildlife Resource Protection Unit, along with uniform
Conservation Officers Bauer and Jeffrey Robinette.
The team assembled near Cook's anticipated destination, and
officers arrested him without incident at 7:55 a.m. Cook is
lodged in the Berrien County Jail, awaiting extradition to
Colorado, where he will serve a five-year prison sentence.
"We were quite pleased to help bring this convicted wildlife
offender to justice," said DNR Law Enforcement Chief Richard
Asher. "This operation was another example of outstanding
work by Michigan Conservation Officers, and it underscores
the importance and productivity or our working partnerships
with other states."
Asher urged citizens to report poaching violations statewide
by calling the toll-free RAP Hotline number, 800 292-7800.
"It is everyone's responsibility to report poachers," Asher
said. "When people take animals illegally, they're stealing