Feds bust major Chesapeake poaching operation

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A Virginia waterman was sentenced in U.S. District Court this week to one year and one day in prison, fined $4,000 and ordered to make $40,000 in restitution for his part in the largest striped bass poaching case in Chesapeake Bay history.

Thomas Hallock, 48, of Catharpin, Va., was ordered to surrender to marshals May 22 to begin serving his sentence, the Baltimore Sun reports. A month after his release, Hallock must pay $300 a month for 36 months, after which the court will work out the terms for the remainder of his restitution.

Hallock admitted to poaching more than 68,442 pounds of striped bass over four years, and that 10,474 pounds were taken out of season during a period when the fish spawn, according to the report.

Federal prosecutors also charged a St. Mary's County waterman and fish wholesaler and his business with falsifying catch records and illegally selling fish to buyers from New York to California.

Golden Eye Seafood and owner Robert Lumpkins were charged with four violations of the Lacey Act, which prohibits the sale of illegally caught fish across state lines, the newspaper reports.

Prosecutors charged John Struven Evans, 44, with falsifying his catch records, with the help of Golden Eye, to receive additional tags used to mark commercially caught fish.

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