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2018 AOTY/DOTY Entry

Topic: Three Abalone Poachers Hit with Heavy Fines, Other Penalties  (Read 635 times)

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Hojoman

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January 30, 2018

The Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office has settled three major abalone poaching cases involving Fort Bragg, Sacramento and Bay Area abalone poachers, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced.

Two of the settled cases resulted in hefty fines and other penalties for restaurant owners:

1.    Steven Yuan Qin Liang, 47, of Fort Bragg pled guilty to felony conspiracy involving the purchase and black market sales of sport-caught abalone for personal profit. Liang, owner of the Asian Buffet restaurant in Fort Bragg, was ordered to serve 360 days in the Mendocino County Jail, placed on probation for 36 months and ordered to pay a fine of $15,000. He is prohibited from obtaining a sport or commercial fishing license for life.

2.    Bryant Chiu Shiu Lee, 44, of Sacramento, pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of purchasing abalone for black market resale. Lee, owner of the Sushi Café in Sacramento, was placed on probation for 36 months and ordered to pay a fine of $40,000. He is prohibited from obtaining a sport or commercial fishing license for life.

Liang and Lee were both convicted in late 2017, following a joint investigation by the CDFW Special Operations Unit and Mendocino Coast squad that began in June 2015.

In the third case, the strange circumstances surrounding an emergency rescue led to an investigation and eventual conviction.

3.    Justin Joseph Adams, 44, of Alameda, pled guilty to charges of conspiracy and taking abalone for black market sale. He was ordered to serve 210 days in the Mendocino County Jail, was placed on probation for 36 months and was ordered to pay a fine of $15,000. He is also prohibited from obtaining a sport or commercial fishing license for life.

In April 2017, wildlife officers received information from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department, Elk Volunteer Fire Department and Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department about odd circumstances surrounding a cliff rescue in Elk, Mendocino County. Adams had been dropped off by a friend the day before at the headlands just north of Cuffy’s Cove in Elk. He climbed down a steep cliff to the water’s edge and harvested abalone during low tide, but when the tide returned, his return route was blocked. When he failed to appear at a pre-determined pick-up location, a friend called in a missing persons report. Rescuers found Adams stranded on the side of a steep cliff and extracted him around 2 a.m.

Wildlife officers suspected poaching activity may have factored into Adams’ predicament. The day after the rescue, CDFW Lt. Joel Hendricks and Warden Don Powers donned wetsuits and swam to the location below where Adams was rescued to look for evidence of poaching. In a deep cut under the bluff, directly under the location of Adams’ rescue, they found two bags containing 38 abalone. One of the bags also contained a half-consumed plastic bottle of water. After obtaining a DNA sample from Adams via a search warrant, they sent the sample and the water bottle to the California Department of Justice Forensics Laboratory. The lab matched the DNA evidence from the bottle to Adams.

Trafficking of illegally harvested abalone on the black market continues to pose a significant enforcement problem and further exacerbates the pressure on the abalone population. Black market values will likely increase with the closure of the 2018 sport abalone season. Wildlife officers continue to conduct in-depth investigations and arrest those who continue to poach and commercialize abalone.

“It is immensely important for wildlife officers to work with District Attorneys who understand the importance of prosecuting poaching crimes against the dwindling abalone resource,” said CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of Law Enforcement David Bess. “The Mendocino County District Attorney’s office has an excellent track record in this regard.”

CDFW’s wildlife officers and biologists alike hope to see the return of a recreational abalone harvest as soon as the abalone population rebounds.


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« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 07:38:01 PM by SlackedTide »
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Yeeeeessssssssss finally some decent punishments!    :smt003


Wilderneshunter

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Punishment more aligned with the crime, hope its publicized
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1.    Steven Yuan Qin Liang, 47, of Fort Bragg pled guilty to felony conspiracy involving the purchase and black market sales of sport-caught abalone for personal profit. Liang, owner of the Asian Buffet restaurant in Fort Bragg, was ordered to serve 360 days in the Mendocino County Jail, placed on probation for 36 months and ordered to pay a fine of $15,000. He is prohibited from obtaining a sport or commercial fishing license for life.


that's sad, i liked that restaurant.


Tote

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That's 3 dirtbags down.  :wav:
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Spring45

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Wow..thats a big hefty setback for them.


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I love the CSI-style DNA evidence acquisition & prosecution in the 3rd case.
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crash

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I'd like them sentenced to supervised work release where they have to go dive and turn in 20,000 purple urchins each.


MolonLabe916

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$15k is not enough. The guy that got charged $40k is more like it. My dad knew a guy(friend of a friend) that poached abs and he called in a anonymous tip to get the guy busted. He had a similar sentence. But the guy just went back and kept doing it because those abs sell for $200-$300 EACH on the black market.  Those poachers make a lot of money doing that stuff.  To me, the abalone fishery is priceless. I want to be able to go out and teach my sons to freedive for abalone and spear fish but with the environmental issues we been having and worst of all, POACHERS, there won’t be much of an abalone fishery left by the time my kids get old enough.

So to me, those sentences are not nearly as rough or costly as they should be.  Those type of guys(a lot of them) don’t work normal jobs. They do jobs that pay under the table. Like the guy my dad reported. He makes his money selling crap at a flea market.  So they can just refuse to pay the fines. And the state can’t do anything to collect the money because they don’t get normal pay checks for the state to automatically deduct fines from if the poacher doesn’t pay the fines. The states not gonna repo the house or car or anything like that to collect payment.

This type of thing pisses me off to no end.... I could go on and on but I’ll just leave it at that. I hope they all get their a$$ pounded in jail. Literally.  :smt013

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Wilderneshunter

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 that is sickening seeing all those abs in plastic bags
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Duckguy

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$15k is not enough. The guy that got charged $40k is more like it. My dad knew a guy(friend of a friend) that poached abs and he called in a anonymous tip to get the guy busted. He had a similar sentence. But the guy just went back and kept doing it because those abs sell for $200-$300 EACH on the black market.  Those poachers make a lot of money doing that stuff.  To me, the abalone fishery is priceless. I want to be able to go out and teach my sons to freedive for abalone and spear fish but with the environmental issues we been having and worst of all, POACHERS, there won’t be much of an abalone fishery left by the time my kids get old enough.

So to me, those sentences are not nearly as rough or costly as they should be.  Those type of guys(a lot of them) don’t work normal jobs. They do jobs that pay under the table. Like the guy my dad reported. He makes his money selling crap at a flea market.  So they can just refuse to pay the fines. And the state can’t do anything to collect the money because they don’t get normal pay checks for the state to automatically deduct fines from if the poacher doesn’t pay the fines. The states not gonna repo the house or car or anything like that to collect payment.

This type of thing pisses me off to no end.... I could go on and on but I’ll just leave it at that. I hope they all get their a$$ pounded in jail. Literally.  :smt013

I completely agree. Asset forfeiture for stuff like this should be more than the “instrumentality of the crime.” If you are selling the abs out of a restaurant, seize the business and sell off the fixtures etc. if the abs were moved in a car, seize and sell the car.
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MolonLabe916

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$15k is not enough. The guy that got charged $40k is more like it. My dad knew a guy(friend of a friend) that poached abs and he called in a anonymous tip to get the guy busted. He had a similar sentence. But the guy just went back and kept doing it because those abs sell for $200-$300 EACH on the black market.  Those poachers make a lot of money doing that stuff.  To me, the abalone fishery is priceless. I want to be able to go out and teach my sons to freedive for abalone and spear fish but with the environmental issues we been having and worst of all, POACHERS, there won’t be much of an abalone fishery left by the time my kids get old enough.

So to me, those sentences are not nearly as rough or costly as they should be.  Those type of guys(a lot of them) don’t work normal jobs. They do jobs that pay under the table. Like the guy my dad reported. He makes his money selling crap at a flea market.  So they can just refuse to pay the fines. And the state can’t do anything to collect the money because they don’t get normal pay checks for the state to automatically deduct fines from if the poacher doesn’t pay the fines. The states not gonna repo the house or car or anything like that to collect payment.

This type of thing pisses me off to no end.... I could go on and on but I’ll just leave it at that. I hope they all get their a$$ pounded in jail. Literally.  :smt013

I completely agree. Asset forfeiture for stuff like this should be more than the “instrumentality of the crime.” If you are selling the abs out of a restaurant, seize the business and sell off the fixtures etc. if the abs were moved in a car, seize and sell the car.

Yup. Exactly. Make it hurt them. And they should be convinced of multiple crimes such as using recreational equipment for illegal purposes. Ab iron(conviction), wetsuit(conviction), mask and snorkel(conviction), etc...

AND if they are ever caught having possession of such items, like the diving gear or ab irons, ever again, mandatory jail time and seizure of whatever property those things were being stored at.

Fear is necessary for there to be order. In society and even in your own home. If your kids aren’t afraid of you, they will run all over you and do what they please. But if they’re afraid to get their butt whooped and get their toys taken away, they are more willing to follow the rules.  Just an example.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2018, 10:04:52 AM by MolonLabe916 »
Joe Mag. Green/black WS Radar 135.

"Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
Mark Twain

www.Freediveshop.com