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Richland Twp. restaurant owner charged with illegally buying, selling game

By Maria Miller

RICHLAND TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A Richland Township restaurant owner is in trouble with the law, facing charges for something most people would never consider.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission said David Horton, the owner of NyKo's, is accused of buying and selling the gallbladders of at least two wild bears.

There's no argument the allegations are bizarre, but the game commission told 6 News Tuesday that the selling of animal parts isn't uncommon. It is however, illegal in Pennsylvania and there are specific laws against it.

The game commission said in this case, the officials have proof, but Horton denies the allegations. According to court documents, the game commission said it happened twice on the same day in 2011, when Horton allegedly paid an undercover informant a total of $160 in cash for two of the organs.

It's something most Americans wouldn't even consider trying, but in Asian culture, the game commission said the gallbladders and bile of bears is often considered a delicacy, used as an aphrodisiac in different medicines and can go for big bucks on the black market.

6 News went to NyKo's and caught up with Horton Tuesday morning. He denied the allegations and called them ridiculous before referring to his attorney, Kevin Rozich, who had the same comments.

"Mr. Horton specifically denies any illegal activity and we fully intend to defend these ridiculous charges," said Rozich. "If something that happened in 2011 was so serious, why now in December of 2013, and we have yet to have a hearing?"

Not only does Rozich say the allegations are completely unfounded, he said if the charges are not dropped, he and his client plan to pursue their own legal action.

"We fully intend to defend this and if necessary, go after the game commission for slander of his reputation and situation," said Rozich.

We should note that nowhere in the complaint was NyKo's restaurant mentioned other than the fact that Horton is the owner and it is the place where the sale is alleged to have happened. The game commission said it couldn't comment on the case because of the pending legal action.

Horton has a hearing scheduled for February.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times