Bahamas Information Services Updates Bahamian fisheries laws and the United States Lacey Act violated
By Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources
Feb 16, 2010 - 12:22:40 PM
The Bahamas Department of Marine
Resources wishes to inform the general public of the guilty pleas of both Mr. James Hanson, a
citizen of the United
States and Mr. Robbie Franklin Smith of Bimini, The Bahamas, in the United States' Court of violating
Bahamian fisheries laws and the United States
Evidence were presented at U.S.
Court that Mr. Hanson sometime between
June and December 2005, on approximately a dozen occasions, purchased spiny lobster and conch from Mr.
Smith and imported those items illegally
in the United States using boats owned by Mr. Hanson's companies and employees of Mr. Hanson's companies.
Mr. Hanson pleaded guilty in U.
S. Court and was sentenced to pay a criminal fine of seventy-five ($75,000.00) thousand dollars, perform three hundred (300) hours of community service
and to serve a period of three (3) years'
probation. He was also ordered to relinquish
any claim to the proceeds of the seized product which was valued at thirteen thousand nine hundred and
thirty ($13,930.00) dollars. Mr.
Hanson also proposed the donation of two hundred and twenty three acres (223 acres) of undeveloped
property to form a part of Florida's
Windly Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park.
Also Mr. Hanson's fishing vessel
involved in committing the offense was ordered
guilty plea was accepted before a United States' judge who set Mr. Smith's sentencing at 6th
April 2010. On a single count to which
Mr. Smith pled guilty, he faces a possible sentence of up to five (5) years in prison
and a three (3) year period of supervised release.
The Department of Marine
Resources wishes to thank U.S. Wildlife Services, ICE's Office of Investigations in Miami,
NOAA Office for the Law
Enforcement and the Office of the United States Attorneys for the successful conclusion of the matter.
Bahamian National Pleads Guilty
In International Seafood Smuggling Operation
Jeffrey H. Slornan, United States Attorney for the
Southern District of Florida, H. Jeff Radonski, Assistant Special Agent in
Charge, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Office of Law
Enforcement, Eddie McKissick, Resident Agent in Charge, U.S. Fish &
Wildlife Service, and Anthony V.
Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Office of
Investigations, announced that defendant Robbie Franklin Smith, 45, of Bimini,
Commonwealth of the Bahamas, pied guilty today in Fort Lauderdale District
Court, on charges related to the illegal importation of quantities of queen
conch and spiny lobster from the Bahamas to the United States, which had been
harvested and exported in violation of Bahamian law, all contrary to the Lacey
Act, Title 16 , United States Code, Sections 3372(a)(2)(A) and 3373(d)(1)(A)
and Title 18 , United States Code, Section 2.
According to the allegations in the Indictment, court
records, and statements in Court, in December 2005 a vessel operated by a Miami-based
seafood dealer, James Hanson, was intercepted by a Coast Guard patrol vessel.
During a boarding and inspection, officers found more than 1,000 pounds of
undeclared spiny lobster and approximately 340 pounds of queen conch, which had
been supplied to Hansen in the Bahamas by Smith. Hanson planned to land the
seafood in the United States and market it through Hansen Seafood, Inc., a
company which he owned. According to records in the related cases, between June
and December 2005, on approximately a dozen occasions, Hanson purchased spiny
lobster and conch from Smith and imported it illegally into the United States
using boats owned through his companies, and employees of his companies.
According to Court documents, the total fair market value of the trips exceeded
United States District Court Judge William J. Zloch,
who accepted the guilty plea from the defendant, set sentencing in this matter
for April 6, 2010 at 10:00 am. On the single count to which Smith pled guilty,
he faces a possible sentence of up to five years in prison and a three-year
period of supervised release. Smith's associate, Hanson, was previously
convicted and sentenced to pay a criminal fine of $75,000, perform 300 hours of
community service, and to serve a period of three years' probation. He was also
ordered to relinquish any claim to the proceeds of the seized product, which
was valued at $13,930. Additionally, Hanson was ordered to forfeit the boat
used in the commission of the offense, a 2000, 37.8' fiberglass hulled sport
fishing vessel, "REDEEMED."
Statute Law of the Bahamas, Revised Edition 2000,
Chapter 244 Fisheries Resources (Jurisdiction & Conservation), Section
21(l)(a), prohibits the sale and export of any fishery resource from the
Commonwealth of the Bahamas except under and in accordance with the terms of a
license granted by the Government of the Bahamas. None of the individuals or
corporations involved in this matter ever received or possessed a lawfully
issued licence from the Government of the Bahamas, to export spiny lobster or queen conch.
CITES classifies protected species in Its Appendices.
includes ail species "which although not
necessarily now threatened with extinction may become so unless trade in
specimens of such species is subject to strict regulation in order to avoid
utilization incompatible with their survival." Accordingly, the importation
of queen conch, alive or dead, and its parts and derivatives, is subject to the
requirements of CITES, the ESA, and the regulations thereto. To engage in trade
in queen conch, all imports or exports must be accompanied by a CITES export
certificate from the country of origin, or a re-export permit from a country of
Mr. Sloman expressed his appreciation for the
assistance provided in this matter by the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine
Resources, Department of Marine Resources, of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas,
and commended the coordinated investigative efforts of the NOAA Office For Law
Enforcement, U. S. Fish &. Wildlife Service, and ICE's Office of
Investigations in Miami, which brought the investigation to a successful conclusion.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Thomas
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