Using its new surveillance network of radar units and cameras, the Maryland Natural Resources Police last week charged four watermen with oystering violations on the Eastern Shore. Officers also charged four people with hunting violations in Western Maryland.
Talbot County ─ Officers with laptops tapped into the Maritime Law Enforcement Information Network, MLEIN, on December 20 and noticed what appeared to be illegal harvest activity on the Choptank River.
A land-based officer over the horizon alerted a patrol boat and directed it to the scene.
William Keith Elliott, 53, and John Richard Wilson, 36, of Cambridge, were each cited for harvesting oysters with a power dredge in a sail-dredge area and harvesting oysters more than 200 feet inside a prohibited area with prohibited gear.
Also in Talbot County, On December 11, MLEIN was employed to track a work boat to the Choptank River and then to Knapps Narrows, where officers on land intercepted it and seized 20 bushels of oysters.
After an investigation, Bartlett Wade Murphy Jr., 39, and Catherine Dawn Gowe , 24, both of Tilghman, were charged with dredging on submerged lands reserved for tonging, dredging in an area reserved for hand tonging, improper tagging of an oyster container, and harvesting oysters more than 200 feet in prohibited area with prohibited gear. In addition, they were issued 18 warnings.
No court date has been scheduled.
Wade has been found guilty in district court of numerous natural resources violations dating back to the mid 1990s.
Allegany County ─ NRP officers charged two men on December 21 with illegal hunting within Dan’s Mountain Wildlife Management Area.
John Thomas Keller, 50, and James Edward Winebrenner, 69, both of Barton, received citations for hunting with the aid of bait on a wildlife management area.
On December 20, officers on patrol found three piles of bait along Old Miller Road near Barton. When they returned the next day, they apprehended Keller and Winebrenner hunting in two of the baited areas. Keller and a juvenile male were hunting about 30 yards from the bait which was within their area of view. Winebrenner was hunting about 20 yards from the bait which was in his area of view.
The two hunters are scheduled to appear February 27 in Allegany District Court. If found guilty, they could face a maximum fine of $1,000 each.
Garrett County ─ A man and woman were charged with multiple hunting violations on December 21 after a complaint of someone firing from a road on Westernport Road.
Michael Allen Wilt, 24, of Westernport, was charged with hunting while under the influence of alcohol, hunting deer in a closed season and hunting without a license. He also was issued warnings for hunting without written permission, failure to wear florescent orange, and hunting without completing the state hunter safety education course. If found guilty, Wilt could be fined a maximum of $4,000.
Sadie Marie Wilt, 23, of Lonaconing, was charged with failure to wear florescent orange. She faces a maximum fine of $1,500.
The Wilts are scheduled to appear in Garrett District Court on March 26.