Ex-TN deputy busted in undercover jerky sting - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Ex-TN deputy busted in undercover jerky sting

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MANCHESTER, TN (WSMV) -

A former deputy is facing charges after authorities say they caught him in an undercover bust. He reportedly wasn't trying to sell drugs or weapons, but jerky.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officers have their trucks and badges. But in this undercover case, their best tool was Facebook.

"Social media has become a friend of ours," said TWRA Officer Dan Hicks.

Hicks says officials caught Josh King, a former Warren County deputy and a current bail bondsman, advertising deer jerky for sale on his Facebook page.

In Tennessee, selling or purchasing any wildlife is illegal, so investigators organized an undercover buy and say they caught King with three bags of white tail deer jerky in hand.

"I guess people should be aware that what they put on their Facebook page can sometimes get them in trouble," Hicks said.

Hicks says breaking this law isn't as uncommon as some might think. He says people have tried to sell snakes, turtles and even certain black bear parts.

"In Asia, the gall bladder and some other parts of the black bear are considered an aphrodisiac and are highly sought after," Hicks said.

The act is illegal because the USDA doesn't regulate wildlife products like they do with food products such as store-bought beef. Plus, if it was legal, Hicks says, some wildlife species would become endangered.

"We like to protect that resource and make sure it's there for the next generation and the next generation," Hicks said.

So while an undercover jerky bust might sound a bit extreme, and perhaps a bit odd, Hicks says you can count on more of them to come.

"As long as that law is on the books, we're going to enforce it," Hicks said.

King now faces a Class A misdemeanor. When reached for comment, King hung up the phone.

King waved his right to a preliminary hearing and instead requested a jury trial. If he is found guilty, King could face almost a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

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