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VIRGINIA BEACH (AP) -- Five charter fishing boat captains operating out of Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach have been indicted for allegedly selling illegally harvested striped bass.

The Justice Department says Jeffery S. Adams, Raymond Carroll Webb, David Dwayne Scott, William W. 'Duby' Lowery, IV and Nolan L. Agner also face charges of making false statements to law enforcement officers and destroying property to prevent its seizure by law enforcement. The indictment was handed up Thursday.

Each of the captains faces charges that they sold charter fishing trips and harvested striped bass from the United States exclusive economic zone. Since 1990, the U.S. has imposed a moratorium on fishing for striped bass within that zone.

If convicted, each captain faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count. They could also forfeit the fishing vessels they used during the commission of any crimes.

Jeffrey Adams, captain of the F/V Providence II, and his corporation Adams Fishing Adventures, are charged with conspiracy, trafficking in illegally harvested Striped Bass in violation of the Lacey Act and making false statements to law enforcement officers.

The indictment alleges that, between March 4, 2009, and Feb. 9, 2011, the defendants sold charter fishing trips to harvest Striped Bass illegally from the EEZ. The indictment also alleges that, as part of the conspiracy, Adams and others would puncture the air bladder of Striped Bass and, if contacted by law enforcement, would throw illegally-harvested Striped Bass into the sea in hopes of avoiding detection. Adams is also charged with making a false statement to law enforcement officers regarding the location where his charter fishing clients harvested Striped Bass.

Raymond Carroll Webb, captain of the F/V Spider Webb, and his corporation Peake Enterprisees, Ltd., were charged with trafficking in illegally harvested Striped Bass and Destruction of Evidence for actions taken during a Striped Bass charter fishing trip on February 12, 2011.

David Dwayne Scott, captain of the Stoney's Kingfisher, was charged with trafficking in illegally harvested Striped Bass and destruction of evidence for actions taken during a Striped Bass charter fishing trip on Feb. 7, 2009.

William W. 'Duby' Lowery, captain of the Anna Lynn, was charged with trafficking in illegally harvested Striped Bass and destruction of evidence for actions taken during a Striped Bass charter fishing trip on Jan. 15, 2010.

Nolan L. Agner, captain of the Flat Line, and his corporation, Agner, Inc., were charged with trafficking in illegally harvested Striped Bass for actions taken during a Striped Bass charter fishing trip on Jan. 16, 2011.

AP-WF-11-09-12 0810GMT

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