Illegal Activity Leads to Arrest for More Illegal Activity

CapeCodToday Staff— From Massachusetts Environmental Police (verbatim):

On Saturday, April 6, 2019, at approximately 11:30 p.m., a Massachusetts Environmental Police Lieutenant encountered a vehicle with four occupants in an area of Wareham that is known for the illegal harvesting of Glass Eels *. Upon further investigation the four occupants, all residents of Maine, were found to be in possession of undersized Glass Eels and small mesh nets used for the harvesting.

With assistance from the Wareham Police Department, the MEP Lieutenant took all four occupants into custody for the Marine Fisheries violations. One of the arrested parties was found to be in possession of Class B drugs (crack cocaine) and drug paraphernalia (crack pipe). Ammunition for a .45 caliber hand gun and a magazine for a .45 caliber hand gun were located in the vehicle. It was further confirmed that none of the four occupants of the vehicle possessed a valid license to carry (LTC) or firearms identification card (FID) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The arrested parties were subsequently transported by the Environmental Police and the Massachusetts State Police to the State Police Barracks in Bourne.

A Massachusetts Environmental Police K9 Officer and his two K9 partners, certified in drug detection and firearms detection, searched the vehicle and located class A drugs (heroin), hypodermic needles containing a brown liquid, as well as additional ammunition.

All four individuals were booked by the Massachusetts Environmental Police on the below listed charges:

1. Chapter 130 Section 100D: Possession undersized American Eels
2. Chapter 130 Section 80: Harvesting Eels without a permit
3. 322 CMR 6.30: Possession of fine mesh net in the vicinity of coastal waters.
4. Chapter 269 Section 10h: Possession of ammunition without a valid LTC / FID
5. Chapter 94C Section 34: Possession of Class A drugs (heroin)
6. Chapter 94C Section 34: Possession of Class B drugs (crack cocaine)
7. Chapter 266 Section 120: Trespass
8. Chapter 266 Section 121A: Trespass with a Motor Vehicle

The Massachusetts Environmental Police would like to thank the Massachusetts State Police and Wareham Police Department for their assistance.

* Glass eels, also known as elvers or juvenile American eels, are highly valued for human consumption in certain parts of the world. Historically, eels were harvested in Europe and Asia to meet this demand; however, overfishing has led to a decline in the population of these eels. As a result, harvesters have turned to the American eel to fill the void resulting from the decreased number of Asian and European eels.

American eels spawn in the Sargasso Sea, an area of the North Atlantic Ocean bounded on all sides by ocean currents. They then travel as larvae from the Sargasso to the coastal waters of the eastern United States, where they enter a juvenile or elver stage, swim upriver, and grow to adulthood in fresh water. Elvers are exported for aquaculture, where they are raised to adult size and sold for food.

Wow. Kudos to these guys for knowing about the underground eel market. As someone with no knowledge of it, I can still offer some valuable insight: Don’t bring hardcore illegal drugs and firearms (especially across state lines) if you’re going to engage in illegal poaching for the night. Seems obvious, but worth a reminder here. Of course, they could’ve bought the crack and heroin in Onset or Wareham, so it’s wrong to assume they traveled with it.

Then again, some of are the belief that “how you do anything is how you do everything,” in which case, these guys went whole hog when it came to the mission. Nice work by the Police here, can’t imagine coming upon this scene.