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While working under a Joint Enforcement Agreement between the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Division and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationís Office for Enforcement, LDWF's Special Investigative Unit made several arrests involving a scheme to illegally sell recreationally caught fish to a commercial wholesale seafood dealer.
Alan P. Porche, 41, of Baton Rouge, manager of Gulf Island Shrimp and Seafood LLC, and previous owner of Big River Seafood Inc., was arrested on September 17 by enforcement agents for obstruction of justice, conspiracy to obstruct justice, money laundering, forgery, filing/maintaining false public records, injuring public records, felony theft, purchasing fish from recreational fishermen, illegally selling recreationally caught fish, failure to maintain records, failure to report commercial fishery information and violating Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission rules and regulations. The maximum penalties for these violations exceed $50,000 in fines and 20 years imprisonment at hard labor.

The alleged offenses against Porche result from an elaborate scheme of fraudulent financial transactions involving proceeds derived from illegally purchased red snapper, cobia, reef fish and other managed fish caught and sold by recreational fishermen. Proceeds in the scheme were derived from allegedly committing forgery and falsifying records designed to generate money, conceal and disguise the nature and source of the purchases and avoid reporting requirements that provide management guidelines to conserve the resources.

Also arrested in connection with the alleged scheme were two recreational fishermen. John P. Hagmann, 42, of Prairieville was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison for conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice, failure to maintain records, selling fish without commercial fishing licenses, selling fish caught recreationally and failing to abide by LWFC rules and regulations. Hagmann also faces fines of up to $50,000 and 20 years imprisonment at hard labor.

George H. Donaldson Jr., 36, of St. Amant was arrested and booked with selling fish without commercial licenses, selling fish caught recreationally, failure to maintain records and violating commission rules and regulations. The fines for these violations can add up to $1,000 and a year imprisonment.

Other recreational fishermen are also involved in the investigation and will be processed in the near future.

"This case identifies the type of activity that can not be tolerated if we are to conserve our fisheries resources for future generations," said LDWF Enforcement Division administrator Colonel Winton Vidrine. "This case also highlights the positive impact state and federal partnerships can have when teamed together to achieve a common goal."

Agents participating in the case were Sgt. Jay Diez, Sr. Agents Billy Gomillion, Buck Hampton and Cadet Joel Cromp.

For more information, contact Maj. Jeff Mayne at 225/765-2345




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