Two La Vergne residents have been banned from hunting in Tennessee and 43 other states after they illegally killed as many as 40 deer, and then took photos and videos mocking the animals, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
Densibel Calzada, 23, and Eddy Albert, 21, received the harshest penalty ever issued by the TWRA.
“We will never know how many deer these two killed, but we believe they could have poached at least 40,” said TWRA Sgt. Matt Brian, who is assigned to Rutherford County. “We charged them with violations based on the strongest evidence we found showing the seriousness of their poaching crimes. Their actions were among the worst I have seen for their lack of respect to our landowners and to our wildlife.”
Search warrants served by TWRA officers on Calzada and Albert’s homes produced cell phones where photos and videos were found of the two disrespecting the animals they had poached.
“They were getting on top of the deer and doing all sorts of things,” said TWRA information officer Doug Markham. “They had one where the deer was still alive and they blew his head off. They were high-fiving each other after showing the hole where they had shot one at nighttime. I didn’t see all of the videos, but the officer said some of it was just really grotesque.”
Eddy Albert.. (Photo: TWRA)
Calzada and Albert, who could not be reached for comment, entered guilty pleas in Rutherford County General Sessions Court after being charged with hunting without permission, hunting out of season, killing deer at night and illegal transportation of wildlife.
Along with the lifetime ban, they also were ordered by judge Barry Tidwell to pay $1,000 each in court costs and $5,000 in restitution fees. They had their weapons — a rifle and a crossbow — confiscated, must perform 100 hours of community service supervised by the TWRA and were placed on 18 months probation.
“People don’t understand what banning them for life does to them,” Markham said. “It destroys their ability to move around with a gun. If they get caught again, they could go to jail.”
Most wildlife violations in Tennessee are misdemeanors and Albert and Calzada did not have prior criminal records.
The TWRA initially became aware of Calzada and Albert on Dec. 26 after receiving a call from a Rutherford County landowner who said they were trespassing.
Both were issued citations by the TWRA for hunting without permission.
Two days later, Smyrna police officers detained them following a report that firearms had been discharged near the city’s airport.
The Smyrna officers notified the TWRA that Calzada and Albert had a rifle, beer and a dead deer in a pickup truck, which led to the TWRA obtaining search warrants for their homes and cell phones.
Reach Mike Organ at 615-259-8021 and on Twitter @MikeOrganWriter.
A few of the deer the TWRA says Densibel Calzada and Eddie Albert killed illegally in Rutherford County. (Photo: TWRA)