Pirate Poachers of the Chesapeake: Boozing Boaters and Outlaw Watermen Keep NRP Cops Hopping

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Pirate Poachers of the Chesapeake

Boozing Boaters and Outlaw Watermen Keep Maryland Natural Resources Cops Hopping

Baltimore business owner indicted for negligent homicide for killing two passengers while impaired in crash into Key Bridge

Baltimore business owner indicted for negligent homicide for killing two passengers while impaired in crash into Key Bridge

OCEAN CITY, MD. – From boozing boaters to a commercial watermen poaching oysters from polluted waters, the activities of the Maryland Natural Resources Police resulted in saving one man from bleeding to death; others lined up to see a Judge and yet another weak effort by the Maryland Judicial System to deal with outlaw watermen.

NRP OFFICER A HERO

Quick action by an officer responding to a boating accident in Ocean City on Aug. 6, 2016, helped save a man from bleeding to death.

Coast Guard drill near Baltimore, Maryland. The Chesapeake Today photo

Coast Guard drill near Baltimore, Maryland. The Chesapeake Today photo

NRP reports that when officers arrived at the scene in Isle of Wight Bay at about four p.m., seven people were in the water around a rental pontoon boat that had run aground. One man was bleeding profusely from a gash on his arm created by the boat’s propeller, and another passenger was hanging onto a nearby moving boat.

As rescuers gathered up those in the water, NRP Officer Vincent Artrip saw the injured man struggling and recognized the wound as a severed artery. He applied a Combat Application Tourniquet to staunch the flow until the victim could be taken ashore. Ocean City first responders took him from Bahia Marina to Atlantic General Hospital for treatment.

According to police, Seth Murray Wilson, 21, of 30015 Eagle Point Road, Millsboro, Del., the operator of the boat, was arrested after he failed field sobriety tests. He refused a breathalyzer test. A court date has not been set. Wilson is currently on probation in Maryland until September of 2016 for a criminal charge of unreasonably loud noise. This arrest could trigger a jail sentence.

DUI arrest on land

A Pennsylvania man was arrested for drunk driving Aug. 9, 2016, after an officer on patrol in Garrett County noticed erratic behavior.

John Joseph Wilson, 26, of North Huntingdon, stopped for an extended period at a flashing red light on Route 219 in McHenry, signaled a left turn and then turned right, drove on a raised portion of the road separating turn lanes and crossed over the yellow center line.

Wilson failed field sobriety tests and refused to take a breathalyzer test. He was charged with two counts of impaired operation and one count of failing to drive right of the center line.

A court date has not been set. If found guilty of all charges, Wilson could be fined as much as $2,500.

Deep Creek Lake Boozing Boater Arrest

NRP reports that on Aug. 7, 2016, an officer on patrol on Deep Creek Lake arrested a Pennsylvania man and charged him with three counts of impaired boating and one count of negligent operation.

Kirk John Bittel, 36, of Pittsburgh, was stopped near the Glendale Bridge after an officer saw a passenger hanging off the stern of a moving boat, trying to grab a loose rope.

Bittel failed field sobriety tests and registered a blood alcohol content of .10 on the breathalyzer test; the legal limit is .08.

He is scheduled to appear in Garrett County District Court on Oct. 19.

Keeping poaching a Nelson family affair

James Phillip Nelson; court orders permanent loss of waterman's license

James Phillip Nelson; court orders permanent loss of waterman’s license

When daddy went to court and lost his commercial waterman’s license for the very few times he was caught versus the many times he was poaching and getting away with it, the courts finally removed the rights of James Nelson to fish, crab, and oyster in Maryland waters. Therefore, the poaching rights passed down in the family.

A St. Mary’s County man had his commercial oyster license revoked after he was convicted last Thursday of harvesting oysters from polluted waters.

Andrew Phillip Nelson, 20, of 44025 Sandy Bottom Road, Hollywood, Md., was charged in May by NRP Officer Leonard with catching oysters from St. Inigoes Creek off the St. Mary’s River, an area, closed to harvesting by the Maryland Department of the Environment.

Nelson and Sons Seafood Facebook profile photo

Nelson and Sons Seafood Facebook profile photo

Officers on saturation patrol say they saw Nelson hand tonging in the headwaters of the creek and intercepted him as he returned to shore. They seized 11 bushels of oysters.

In court on Aug. 4, 2016, Nelson pleaded not guilty. He was found guilty and fined ZERO dollars and got not a bit of jail time. No fine, no time.

In addition to revoking Nelson’s commercial license, a St. Mary’s County District Court judge sentenced Nelson to three year’s unsupervised probation. Nelson doesn’t need a commercial watermen’s license to continue to poach, and the Alice in Wonderland Maryland Judiciary as well as the looney legislators can’t figure out that they only way to stop career poachers is to give them time behind bars. 

The watermen banned from fishing simply sit on a boat and tell a family member what to do, thumbing their noses at the witless wonders of the legal system.

Nelson is also facing criminal charges of theft in District Court in Leonardtown.

Nelson and Sons Seafood ad posted on Facebook promoting crabs for the 4th of July weekend. Facebook photoJ. P. Nelson also had his license suspended. Nelson and Son Seafood advertised on June 29, 2016, the following on their Facebook page: Live Md. Crabs

$30 dozen #1 males

$20 dozen #2 males

We do sell by half and full bushels.

Live Fresh Soft Crabs $24 dozen

Please call or text

240-561-2424

A Court order for domestic violence against Andrew Nelson is in effect until Nov. 12, 2016, which required him to surrender his guns and stay away from the victim.

J P Nelson wasn’t going to go quietly, decided to fight Oyster Police efforts to check his booty

HOLLYWOOD, MD. — A convicted felon and illustrious leader of the pack when it comes to the Pirate Poachers of the Chesapeake Bay, J. P. Nelson of Hollywood, Md., refused to cooperate with the Oyster Police of Maryland and ended up going to jail.

During the final days of the 2014-15 oyster season, Maryland Natural Resources Police officers charged J. P. Nelson of Hollywood with illegal harvesting.

Nelson was arrested Tuesday, April 15, 2015, the last day of the season, after he hindered attempts by NRP officers to check his catch.

Nelson doesn’t need a commercial watermen’s license to continue to poach, and the Alice in Wonderland Maryland Judiciary as well as the looney legislators can’t figure out that they only way to stop career poachers is to give them time behind bars.

James Phillip Nelson, 38, of Hollywood, was charged with obstructing a law enforcement officer and refusing to obey a lawful order. Also, NRP will be issuing citations for oyster law violations.

Officers checking catches at Feldman’s Marine Railway saw Nelson leave the dock and return at about 2:50 p.m. As the officer approached Nelson and his helper after they trailered the vessel, Nelson attempted to reverse his trailer toward the boat ramp. During the distraction, the helper hid a bucket among the outbuildings.

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Nelson was angry and refused to comply with multiple orders from the officers, who attempted to handcuff him to keep him in one location. The Waterman continued to resist and was sprayed with oleoresin capsicum, or OC, spray. He was taken into custody and driven to the St. Mary’s County Detention Center.

Officers inspected and measured the 12 bushels of oysters on Nelson’s vessel and found that 10 bushels contained between seven and 10 percent undersized oysters. The bucket contained 28 percent undersized oysters.

Nelson has been the recipient of Good Old Boys justice in St. Mary’s County for decades.

Nelson is to be charged with overharvesting, improper tagging and having unculled oysters.

Nelson has been the recipient of Good Old Boys justice in St. Mary’s County for decades.

The following is a run-down of his criminal and pirate poacher outlaw record:

On Jan. 7, 2015, cited by NRP Officer Grice for failing to comply with an oyster tag required on products he sells. That case is pending trial on May 7, 2015.

On August 14, 2014, was cited by NRP Officer Ball for possession of undersized crabs. In Charles County District Court, Charles County States Attorney Anthony Covington did a plea deal in which Nelson filed a guilty plea in return for Zero fine and no time.

Indicted in St. Mary’s County Circuit Court as a result of an investigation by Maryland State Trooper Matthew Davis for a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, Nelson entered a guilty plea on Oct. 11, 2013 and in a plea deal he was sentenced to 18 months in jail, which is the magic number of months be retained in the local jail and avoid the state prison system. He was allowed work release, which permitted him to return to his day job of being a pirate poacher of the Chesapeake while sleeping in the jail at night.

Cited by NRP Officer R. Griggs on Oct. 5, 2011, for possession of oysters under 3 inches in size; Nelson filed a plea deal in St. Mary’s County District Court which netted him a fine of $277.00.

Charged criminally with theft by Maryland State Police Trooper Michael T. Moore, Nelson’s charges were dropped by St. Mary’s County States Attorney Richard Fritz on Nov. 3, 2011, in District Court in Leonardtown.

Cited by NRP Officer R. Starliper on March 8, 2011, with possession of unculled and undersized oysters, Nelson entered into a plea deal with St. Mary’s States Attorney Richard Fritz and entered a guilty plea. He was fined $132.50.

Charged with second-degree assault by Officer Matthew Rogers in District Court on a summons issued for an incident which occurred on June 18, 2010.  St. Mary’s States Attorney Richard Fritz put the charge on the Stet Docket on Jan. 27, 2011 with no fine and no time.

One of the most outrageous incidents for pirate poachers of the Chesapeake Bay to have been revealed recently in THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY has to be when Nelson was cited on Nov. 20, 2009, with possession of 15 bushels of undersized oysters by NRP Officer M. Dyson.  In a plea deal with St. Mary’s States Attorney Richard Fritz, Nelson was fined $327.50 on April 28, 2010. With that kind of Good Old Boy treatment, it is easy to understand how Fritz wins the loyalties of so much of the outlaw watermen crowd which act as part of his campaign arm in local elections.

As Fritz had his election year opponent under indictment with over 120 counts of land fraud – all which ended in not guilty verdicts or were thrown out by an independent prosecutor – he apparently found nothing wrong with dropping all charges of possession of 17 bushels of undersized oysters. That charge had been placed against Nelson on Nov. 20, 2009, by NRP Sgt. Garren.

Cited by NRP Officer M. Kraemer on May 21, 2009, for crabbing after hours, Nelson obtained a plea deal with St. Mary’s States Attorney Richard Fritz on July 28, 2009, and paid a fine of $102.50.

Cited by NRP Officer D. Riley for dredging oysters in an area reserved for hand tonging on Nov. 6, 2008, Nelson once again found Good Old Boy Justice from States Attorney Richard Fritz. In District Court on April 24, 2009, Fritz dropped the charges against Nelson.

Charged with theft on Sept. 19, 2006, by Maryland State Trooper K. Shughart, Nelson appeared in St. Mary’s District Court on Jan. 29, 2007.  That day, Fritz dropped the charge, letting Nelson go free once again.

Cited by NRP Officer David Bailey with commercial crabbing after hours on Sept. 21, 2004, Nelson worked a plea deal with Fritz on Nov. 19, 2004, and paid a fine of $105.00.

Cited by NRP Officer Charles Vernon with commercial crabbing after hours on May 25, 2002, Nelson entered into a plea deal with St. Mary’s States Attorney Richard Fritz on July 19, 2002, and paid a fine of $100.00.

Cited by NRP Officer Charles Vernon on June 14, 1998, Nelson entered into a plea deal with St. Mary’s States Attorney Walter B. Dorsey and paid a fine of $70 for possession of undersized hard crabs. On a charge of exceeding his catch limit of crabs the same date, he paid a fine of $100.00.

In a charge of arson for an incident which took place on March 11, 1996, St. Mary’s States Attorney Walter B. Dorsey dropped the charge placed by Maryland State Trooper Charles A. Ewing. Nelson was represented by Fritz, who was then in private practice when Dorsey dumped the charge on Oct. 10, 1996. Fritz then attempted to have the record expunged, which was opposed by Dorsey and thus the record is still available as a public record.

Charged by St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Detective Michael Starnes with a fourth-degree sex offense on Oct. 26, 1995, Nelson entered a guilty plea on March 28, 1996. He was sentenced to prison for one year with 245 days suspended. A charge of contributing to the condition of a child was dropped as part of the plea deal agreed to by St. Mary’s States Attorney Walter B. Dorsey and Nelson’s attorney Margaret Abraham.

Charged by NRP Officer Bradley A. Borden with possession of a loaded firearm in a vehicle, Nelson entered a plea of guilty in St. Mary’s District Court and paid a fine of $100.00.

Charged by St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Detective Samuel T. Haynie with assault by threat and stalking on March 10, 1996, Nelson appeared in St. Mary’s District Court on Oct. 10, 1996, where St. Mary’s States Attorney Walter B. Dorsey dropped the charges with no fine, no time. A frequent reason used by prosecutors for dropping charges against a criminal facing serious time is when the accused provides information on drug dealers to police. With so many dropped and reduced charges on Nelson’s record, it’s a pretty good bet he has sent the cops to see many of his friends. In this case, Nelson’s defense attorney was Richard Fritz, who was known far and wide as the best defense attorney in the region with a large stable of drug dealers as clients. 

Melanie Wheeler responded to this story with this message: “I’m Melanie Wheeler owner and operator of Nelson and Sons Seafood. You have not the slightest idea of the truth. JP Nelson is a commercial waterman he is active and able to catch and sell his seafood. I’d appreciate you stop bashing our business!!!! Correct your post or I will see you in court for bashing and harassment. Also slandering!!!! Further most take my phone number down!!! Thanks.”

Court gives Messenger a message about fishing regulations

NRP officers report that a Baltimore County waterman was convicted of seven charges in connection with illegal yellow perch fishing in the Gunpowder River.

John James Messenger, 40 of Middle River, was cited in March after officers found illegal fyke nets in Foster Branch and Joppatown Canal. Also, they found that Messenger was violating the terms of a Department pilot program to tag and track commercial catches.

A Harford County District Court judge found Messenger guilty of two counts of having a net set more than one-third of the width of a waterway, one count of failing to have his identification number on his vessel, two counts of not marking his nets, one count of setting his nets in a restricted area and one count of failing to comply with the terms of the Fishing Activity and Catch Tracking System.

Messenger was fined $850.

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