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NRP Blotter

Natural Resources Police LogoMaryland Natural Resources officers on the Eastern Shore and in the Central Region recently charged 13 men with oyster poaching and hunting violations.

Officers conducting surveillance of the Nanticoke River Oyster Sanctuary in Wicomico County last Friday shortly after 4 a.m. saw two men dredging within its boundaries. The officers intercepted the unlighted vessel after it finished dredging and began heading upstream.

Aboard, they found 32 bushels of oysters, four of which contained undersized oysters.

Vaughn Edward Collins Jr., 44, of Nanticoke, and Kristopher Daniel Graves, 20, of Salisbury, were each charged with illegal oyster harvesting more than 150 feet inside a sanctuary; harvesting oysters before legal hours; possessing oysters onboard a vessel between two hours after sunset and before sunrise; being over the daily harvest limit; failing to tag oysters; and two charges each of possessing unculled oysters at 40 percent below legal size. Collins also was cited for operating a vessel without running lights.

The 32 bushels of oysters were returned to the sanctuary and the dredge was seized.

Both men are schedule to appear in Wicomico District Court on March 3. If found guilty of all charges, each man could be fined a maximum of $6,000.

On Jan. 20, officers charged two Dorchester County watermen with multiple violations after they were caught harvesting oysters from a sanctuary and from a polluted area.

Alan Richard Wessells Jr., 33, of Fishing Creek, and Donald Matthew Wroten Jr., 35, of Cambridge, were observed dredging for oysters north of the Choptank River Bridge at 11:30 p.m.

An NRP officer boarded the vessel and found 15 ½ bushels on the deck, over the daily harvest limit. He escorted the workboat back to shore. The oysters were returned to the sanctuary.

Wessells was charged with: harvesting oysters more than 150 feet inside a sanctuary; harvesting oysters more than 150 feet inside a polluted area; exceeding the daily harvest limit; and operating a vessel without proper running lights. A criminal summons was issued.

Wroten was charged on Jan. 24 with harvesting oysters during illegal hours, and possessing oysters more than two hours after sunset and before sunrise.

Both men are schedule to appear in Dorchester District Court on April 15. If found guilty on all charges, Wessells could be fined a maximum of $7,500 and Wroten could be fined as much as $2,000.

On Jan. 29, officers responded to a call about shots being fired near the intersection of Western Run Road and Gerber Lane in Baltimore County. A Baltimore County Police officer stopped a truck after noticing blood on the tailgate. A search of the vehicle turned up a rifle, a shotgun and a spotlight.

Morris Keith Dunn, 40, of Glenco, was charged by NRP with: hunting at night, shooting from a roadway, hunting on private land without written permission, hunting out of season, hunting deer with rifle in shotgun-only county, possessing a loaded weapon in vehicle and hunting deer with spotlight.

Baltimore County Police charged Dunn with two counts of being a convicted felon in possession of firearms. In 2008, he was convicted in Florida of armed robbery and violation of probation and sentenced to two years in a county House of Corrections.

Dunn was released on bond and a teenager with him was referred to Juvenile Services. The firearms were seized as evidence. A court date has not been set.

On Jan. 17 in Harford County, NRP officers checking a field in the 3100 block of White Hall Road, White Hall charged four men with hunting waterfowl with the aid of bait: John Charles Akehurst, 49, of Street; Robert Nathaniel Burleson, 46, of Forest Hill; Charles Howard Burrs, 45, of Middle River; and George Robert Hall, 49 of Glen Rock, Pa.

The hunters are scheduled to appear in Harford District Court on March 25. If found guilty, each man could be fined as much as $500.

Nine days later, officers on patrol in the same area of White Hall found four Baltimore area men hunting for waterfowl over bait.

Citations were issued to: Dominick William Marchini, 24, of Baltimore; Troy Alexander Marzocchi, 25, of Fort Howard;

Jereme Melvin Kolstrom, 24, of Sparrows Point; and Anthony Paul Marzocchi Jr., 28, of Sparrows Point.

Eight Canada Geese were seized and donated to charity. The hunters are scheduled to appear Harford District Court on March 25. If found guilty, they each face a fine of $500.