The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) this spring issued citations throughout the state for waterfowl poaching, deer spotlighting, turkey baiting, illegal fishing and oystering, outdoor fire violations, and more.
A Montgomery County man was charged with illegal possession of river herring and hickory shad. On May 14 at about 12:25 pm, officers on patrol in the Potomac River observed two men, one of whom was carrying several large bags. Police approached the man, identified as Xinpei Yu, 45, of Silver Spring; Yu dropped his bags and both men fled in opposite directions. When officers recovered the bags, they discovered 20 river herring and a hickory shad, both of which are catch-and-release fisheries. Police found both individuals with the assistance of Montgomery County Police. Officers charged Yu and issued a summons for a mandatory appearance in Montgomery County District Court at a later date. The maximum penalty for each offense is $1,000 with additional charges potentially filed pending further investigation.
Six men face charges for illegally fishing for striped bass on Tilghman Island, Talbot County. Officers conducting surveillance May 13 found six men fishing on the south side of the Knapps Narrows Bridge, where numerous conspicuously “no trespassing” signs are posted. As officers approached the bridge, they observed five of the six males walk off the bridge, each holding fishing rods that were set up with lures used to catch striped bass. The sixth man was fishing on the west side of the bulkhead. Police located a backpack that contained five striped bass belonging to the suspects. They found an additional striped bass within the suspects’ vehicle. Police charged Elmer Antonio Villatoro Hernandez, 40, of Virginia; Jose Fermin Escobar Bonilla, 40, of Severn; Juan Villatoro Bonilla, 64,of Virginia; and Oscar Hernan Escobar Bonilla, 35, of Severn with trespassing on posted property. They face up to $500 in fines, 90 days in jail, and must appear in court. Jose Ignacio Mejia Cruz, 32, of Hyattsville and Luis Alberto Nativi, 41, of Virginia were both charged with targeting striped bass in a spawning area, trespassing, and using more than two hooks per line. They face up to $2,500 in fines and 90 days in jail if convicted.
Police issued more than 100 charges against six seafood workers in St. Mary’s County for multiple violations. NRP received information about alleged illegal activity at Nelson Seafood in Hollywood; officers conducted surveillance and investigated the establishment throughout March. Officers observed three individuals participating in illegal commercial oystering-related activities, including selling and harvesting while on suspended and revoked licenses. Additionally, officers reported observing false tagging information, false oyster reporting, and storage of oysters in an unlicensed cooler facility, Police issued charges on April 20, including multiple health department violations for storage and facility licensing. Those charged were Caleb Hancock, 20; Andrew Nelson, 26; Robert Nelson Jr., 39; James Nelson, 45; Tyler Nelson, 19; and Melanie Wheeler, 43. Fines range from $350 to a maximum of $25,000 and up to one year in jail.