Pirate Poachers Rounded Up Again – Crisfield Criminals cleaning out oyster sanctuaries nabbed by DNR Cops

Bats and Pirate Poachers Come out at Night on Chesapeake

Ronald Lee Hall Jr. has this sketch posted on his Facebook page. The oyster sanctuaries are supposed to "Save the Fisherman" but some watermen claim they are just 'oyster cemeteries' and pat each other on their backs on their Facebook postings. If they are truly oyster cemeteries, why are these guys raiding them and risking their commercial fishing licenses? Could they possibly be that dumb or is there truly 'white gold' in the oyster sanctuary?

Ronald Lee Hall Jr. has this sketch posted on his Facebook page. The oyster sanctuaries are supposed to “Save the Fisherman” but some watermen claim they are just ‘oyster cemeteries’ and pat each other on their backs on their Facebook postings. If they are truly oyster cemeteries, why are these guys raiding them and risking their commercial fishing licenses? Could they possibly be that dumb or is there truly ‘white gold’ in the oyster sanctuary?

 

 

TANGIER SOUND, MD. — Natural Resources Police report that eight men in Somerset, Allegany and Queen Anne’s County were charged this week by Maryland Natural Resources Police officers with oyster poaching and hunting violations.

In Somerset County, five watermen were cited Thursday morning for illegally harvesting oysters from protected state waters.

Acting on a tip, officers established surveillance posts at the Somerset Oyster Sanctuary in Tangier Sound. Four vessels entered the sanctuary shortly before 9 a.m. and began harvesting oysters.

Ronnie Lynn Carman, 59, of Marion, Barry Clark Chew Jr., 39, Jason Filmore Evans, 39, Ronald Lee Hall, 47, and Ronald Lee Hall Jr., 27, all of Crisfield, were charged with harvesting wild oysters from a sanctuary.

They are scheduled to appear in Somerset District Court on April 7. If found guilty, each waterman could be fined a maximum of $3,000 and have his commercial license suspended by the state for up to one year.

UPDATE: Profiles of those cited for poaching and their relative records and even, in some cases, of relative watermen who also have violations and criminal records are being included in this report.  The profiles now included:

RONALD LEE HALL JR. Profile:

  • Charged on July 20, 2012 by Maryland State Police Trooper P. Zimmerman with assault and malicious property destruction. Somerset County States Attorney Daniel W. Powell dropped the charges on Aug. 30, 2012.
  • Charged with possession of marijuana on Oct. 19, 2010 by Officer L. Luedtke. Hall entered a guilty plea in Somerset District Court on March 21, 2011 and was sentenced to four days in jail and fined $150.00.
  • Charged with operating a vehicle on a suspended driver’s license on April 7, 2009 by Somerset County Sheriff’s Deputy R. Daum Hall Jr. entered a guilty plea on Aug. 6, 2009 and was fined $200 and no jail time in a plea deal with Somerset County States Attorney Kristi Hickman.
  • Hall Jr. was cited on June 21, 2008 with operating a vehicle on a suspended license by a Maryland State Trooper assigned to the Princess Anne Barrack. In a plea deal with Somerset County States Attorney Kristi Hickman on Aug. 26, 2008, he entered a guilty plea and was fined $107.50 with no jail time.
  • Hall Jr. was charged by Maryland State Trooper M. Pardoe on Jan. 20, 2007 with possession of marijuana and on May 3, 2007 he entered a guilty plea in Somerset County District Court and was fined $300. His legal bill was paid by the taxpayers as he was represented by Public Defender John Rue.
  • Hall Jr. was charged by Maryland State Trooper J. Pruitt on May 24, 2007 with possession of marijuana and in Somerset County District Court he plead guilty and was put on Probation without Judgment and fined $300.00 with no jail time. Hall Jr. was represented by Maryland Public Defender John Rue, who is now a District Court Judge.
  • Hall Jr. likely doesn’t know that you can hunt turkey out of season legally with your truck if you wish to nail one crossing the road or pick one up in Food Lion.  Instead, Hall Jr. opted for a very expensive turkey, perhaps the most ever paid for a turkey by the pound when on April 18, 2006, he proved he was the biggest turkey in Somerset County when he was cited by NRP Officer J. Howard with hunting turkey with bait. On June 14, 2006 the State of Maryland gobbled up $477.50 out of his pocket in the form of a fine in District Court.

RONALD LEE HALL SR. Profile: Ronald Lee Hall Sr., of 26366 E Pear Street, Crisfield, Md.

  • Charged on Nov. 19, 2014 with possession of 9 % unculled oysters by NRP Officer J. W. Bromley IV. In a plea deal with Somerset County States Attorney Daniel W. Powell in District Court on Jan. 12, 2015 he entered a guilty plea and was fined $132.50. (Editor’s Note: the District Court Clerk of Somerset County listed the race of this person as being Black African American and on another violation issued on July 10, 2014 the District Court Clerk listed his race as White, Caucasian, Asiatic Indian, and Arab.  Typos can happen and when found need to be corrected in any venue, including the government.)
  • Charged on July 10, 2014 by NRP Officer Jeffrey Howard with possession of undersized peeler/float.  In a plea deal with Somerset County States Attorney Daniel W. Powell, he entered a plea deal on Sept. 9, 2014 and was fined $177.50.
  • Domestic Violence: ordered by Somerset District Court Judge to stay away from victim, not contact, enter residence or abuse and surrender firearms in order entered on Oct. 13, 2011.
  • Charged with property destruction and assault on Oct. 4, 2011 Ronald Hall Sr. entered a plea deal on Jan. 12, 2012 with Somerset County States Attorney Daniel W. Powell who put the charges on the Stet Docket with no fine and no time.  Hall would have to behave himself for one year or the charges could be renewed.
  • Charged with assault on Sept. 29, 2011, the charges were dropped by Somerset County States Attorney Daniel W. Powell on March 30, 2012.
  • Proving that being pothead’s runs in the family Hall entered a guilty plea to possession of marijuana on Dec. 28, 2009 after being charged by Maryland State Trooper Carl Tyler on May 2, 2009. Hall Sr. was fined $300 and put on probation for one year.
  • With a disdain for conforming to laws regarding not driving while license is suspended, Hall Sr. was cited for same on Sept. 5, 2007. In a plea deal with Somerset States Attorney Kristi Hickman, he entered a guilty plea on Nov. 29, 2007 and was fined $307.50 with no jail time. The deal included that $200 of the fine was suspended.
  • Not heeding the admonition to “get the lead out” Hall Sr. was charged with possession of lead shot to hunt waterfowl on Jan. 14, 2004. He entered a guilty plea in Somerset County District Court on April 29, 2004 and was fined $105.00.
  • Hall Sr. was cited by NRP Officer Roger W. Bennett on Feb. 3, 1999 with hunting waterfowl with the aid of a recording. In Worcester County District Court on March 1, 1999 he pled guilty and was fined $100.00.
  • Hall Sr. was cited by NRP Officer on Nov. 30, 2009 with hunting on private lands without a permit and in Worcester County District Court on Jan. 22, 2010 he entered a guilty plea and was fined $427.50.

 

The Capt. Jason heads into Crisfield harbor which now is the center of criminal activity of commercial watermen raiding oyster sanctuaries.  THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo

The Capt. Jason heads into Crisfield harbor which now is the center of criminal activity of commercial watermen raiding oyster sanctuaries. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo

It’s a Pirate Life We Lead, Matey!

Poaching family adds another Lednum to the list of Pirate Poachers of the Chesapeake

TILGHMAN ISLAND, MD. — The Natural Resources Police report that another waterman has been charged with poaching oysters.

In Talbot County, a Tilghman Island waterman was charged on Feb. 4 with illegally harvesting oysters from the Choptank River.

Michael Alan Lednum, 53, was observed by NRP officers in the air and on the water power dredging for oysters in an area designated for sail dredging. When he was stopped, he had 5 ½ bushels of oyster on board, which were seized and returned to state waters.

Lednum is scheduled to appear in Talbot District Court on April 16. He faces a maximum fine of $1,000.

Poacher Patrol

MORE FROM THE WORLD OF CHESAPEAKE BAY PIRATE POACHERS AND CRIMINALS

Sold 4 Stolen Guns to Undercover Law Enforcement Officer

Baltimore, Maryland (October 23, 2009) – U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced Michael Lednum, age 24, of Denton, Maryland, today to seven years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm , announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.

According to Lednum’s plea agreement, in January 2009, the Maryland State Police began investigating a person, later identified as Michael Lednum, who was selling guns without a license. An undercover operation was set up in Stevensville, Maryland to purchase guns from Lednum. On January 21, 2009 Lednum sent undercover officers pictures of guns for sale and the officers arranged to meet Lednum at a local restaurant to buy four guns for $1,000. Lednum met the undercover officers in the restaurant parking lot and the officers purchased a .45 caliber rifle, a .223 caliber rifle, a 12 gauge shotgun and a..223 caliber rifle.

Law enforcement officials attempted to stop Lednum’s car after it left the parking lot. Instead Lednum drove his car to a gas station in Stevensville, got out and ran away. After a chase lasting over a mile, police officers arrested Lednum.

On January 22, 2009, a search warrant was issued for Lednum’s residence and law enforcement recovered several guns, including a .220 caliber rifle; a .50 caliber rifle; a .44 caliber black powder pistol; a .44 caliber revolver; a .22 caliber blank gun; and a .308 caliber assault rifle. Further investigation revealed that several of the guns recovered from Lednum’s residence, as well as those bought by the undercover officer, were previously stolen in a home burglary.

Two Maryland Fishermen Plead Guilty to Illegal Fish Harvesting Conspiracy in the Chesapeake Bay

Ship Captains Poached Hundreds of Thousands of Pounds of Striped Bass

TILGHMAN ISLAND, MD. — Michael D. Hayden, 41, and William J. Lednum, 42, both of Tilghman Island, Maryland, pleaded guilty Aug. 1, 2014 to conspiring to violate the Lacey Act and to defraud the United States through their illegal harvesting and sale of striped bass.

The plea was announced by Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division Sam Hirsch, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Superintendent of the Maryland Natural Resources Police Colonel George F. Johnson IV and Regional Special Agent in Charge for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Honora Gordon.

“These defendants admitted to systematically plundering the Chesapeake Bay of an important and protected natural resource, and at the expense of the many honest fishermen who play by the rules,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Hirsch. “The Justice Department is committed to enforcing environmental laws that protect our shared natural resources and sustain the vital marine life of the Chesapeake Bay for future generations.” According to their plea agreements, Hayden and Lednum were “captains” on fishing vessels owned by them, William J. Lednum Fisheries d/b/a Michael D. Hayden Jr. and Michael D. Hayden, Jr., Inc.  The defendants also employed numerous “helpers” as part of this scheme, including co-defendant Kent Sadler. From at least 2007 to 2011, Hayden and Lednum illegally harvested, possessed, falsely labeled and/or sold at least 185,925 pounds of striped bass.  They used illegally weighted and/or anchored gill nets, left the nets in the water overnight, and set the nets during times when the commercial striped bass gill-netting season was closed.

The defendants exceeded their maximum daily vessel limit of striped bass and either unloaded the surplus onto an anchored vessel or paid others a fee to check-in fish for them.  Hayden and Lednum falsified the permit allocation cards and daily catch records for their striped bass fishing trips to over-report the numbers of striped bass caught and under-report the weights.  This allowed them to request additional state tags under false pretenses and therefore harvest additional striped bass illegally.

Hayden and Lednum shipped and sold $498,293 worth of striped bass to wholesalers in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland.  None of the fish was properly reported at check-in stations or on the permit allocation cards of daily catch records submitted to the state of Maryland.

Maryland in turn submits such paperwork to numerous federal and interstate agencies responsible for setting harvest levels all along the eastern seaboard. The investigation in this case started in February 2011 when the Maryland Department of Natural Resources found tens of thousands of pounds of striped bass snagged in illegal, anchored nets before the season officially reopened.  The conspirators were seen on the water in the vicinity of the illegal nets. The subsequent investigation unveiled a wider criminal enterprise to which Hayden and Lednum pleaded guilty on Aug. 1, 2014.  Co-defendant Kent Conley Sadler, 31, also of Tilghman Island, previously pleaded guilty to his participation in the conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 21, 2014. Hayden and Lednum face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  The defendants have agreed to pay restitution to the state of Maryland of between $498,293 and $929,625.  The defendants have further agreed to forfeit the monetary equivalent of 80 percent of the value of the vessel primarily used during the conspiracy.  U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett scheduled sentencing for Hayden and Lednum on Nov. 4 and Nov. 5, 2014 respectively. This case was investigated by investigators from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and special agents with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.   The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Cunningham, of the District of Maryland, and Todd W. Gleason and Shennie Patel of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Hayden and Lednum took some special steps to try to avert this day of reckoning

Baltimore, Maryland (September 18 , 2013) – Michael D. Hayden, Jr., age 41, of Tilghman Island, Maryland, was arrested yesterday on charges of witness tampering and retaliation in connection with an investigation of felony Lacey Act violations related to the illegal harvesting of striped bass from the Chesapeake Bay.

The charges were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Robert G. Dreher, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division; Regional Special Agent in Charge Honora Gordon of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement; and Joseph P. Gill, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

“Stealing striped bass and intimidating witnesses are crimes against our natural resources and against the citizens of Maryland,” said Department of Natural Resources Secretary Joseph P. Gill. “We are grateful for the partnership of law enforcement agencies and we thank our residents for coming forward and providing information to help us protect the public trust.”

According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Hayden is a commercial fisherman, licensed in the state of Maryland and operates commercial fishing vessels on the Chesapeake Bay. During an investigation of the illegal harvesting of striped bass from the Chesapeake Bay, agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, and the Maryland Natural Resources Police learned that Hayden allegedly attempted to manipulate some witnesses’ testimony while trying to prevent the testimony of others. The criminal complaint alleges that in at least one incident, Hayden threatened to retaliate against a potential witness he believed to be cooperating with investigators.

If convicted, Hayden faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each of four counts of witness tampering and witness retaliation. Hayden is scheduled to have an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Baltimore today at 3:00 p.m.

 

 

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