Three Fresno men face jail time and fines after being caught poaching and unlawfully trafficking sport-caught fish, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced.
From CDFW news release (July 24)
Three people have pleaded guilty to charges in California of illegal poaching of wildlife for profit.
According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the men allegedly made thousands off dollars off the illegal sales of several fish species, including wild-caught striped bass in the state’s Central Valley. The investigation also uncovered evidence of drug sales.
Kue Her, 36, Leepo Her, 33, and Michael Vang, 31, all of Fresno, were sentenced to jail time and fines, and received court-ordered lifetime fishing license revocation.
According to the news release, Kue Her also was sentenced to 52 days in county jail and four years probation. Leepo Her was sentenced to nine days in county jail, four years probation and a $1,050 fine. Vang was sentenced to one day in county jail, six hours community service, four years probation and a $1,050 fine.
More from the news release:
Over the course of a year, CDFW wildlife officers made contact with the three men on multiple occasions as they were fishing throughout California’s Central Valley. The men were frequently found in violation of various laws, including possession of gross overlimits and retention of undersized striped bass. The egregious nature of their poaching activities led wildlife officers to suspect they might be selling fish on the black market.
Wildlife officers analyzed the suspects’ citation history and began a focused investigation into their activities. The investigation uncovered an abundance of evidence that the men had made thousands of dollars through the illegal sale of wild-caught striped bass and other local fish species. The investigation culminated in multiple search warrants served in December 2016, where wildlife officers located live crappie and bluegill in an aquarium, frozen striped bass, marijuana and evidence of a marijuana cultivation and sales, and methamphetamine and evidence of methamphetamine sales.
“The cases are a result of wildlife officers’ recognition of each independent poaching offense for the egregious offenses they were as a whole,” said Assistant Chief John Baker, Central Enforcement District, Fresno. “From there it was good old-fashioned investigative work.”
Anyone with information about unlawful fishing, hunting or pollution is encouraged to contact CalTIP, CDFW’s confidential secret witness program that encourages the public to provide wildlife officers with factual information leading to the arrest of poachers and polluters. The CalTIP number, (888) 334-2258, is printed on the back of every hunting and fishing license.
Tips can also be relayed by text to 847411 (tip411). Text messages allow for a two-way conversation with wildlife officers, while preserving the anonymity of the tipster. Texts should begin with the word “CALTIP,” followed by a space and the message. There is also an app for smartphones that works similarly. For more information on the program and the CalTIP app, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/enforcement/caltip.