Vero Beach Resident Pleads Guilty to Importing Illegal Catch from the Bahamas
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Otha Easley, Acting Special Agent in Charge, NOAA Fisheries, Office of Law Enforcement, Southeast Division, and Major Camille Soverel, Regional Commander, South A Region, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), announce that Toby Lamm, 46, of Vero Beach, entered a guilty plea in Fort Pierce before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank J. Lynch to importing illegal catch in violation of the Lacey Act, Title 16, United States Code, Sections 3371(a)(2)(A) and 3373(d)(1)(A).
According to allegations in the information and statements made in court, on or about June 23, 2013, in St. Lucie County, Lamm attempted to import queen conch (Strombus gigus), spiny lobster (Panulirus argus), stone crab (Menippe mercenaria) claws and demersal (fin fish) namely: snapper (Lutjanus) and grouper (Serranidae), in violation of the possession limits for each of the species as set forth in the laws and regulations of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, specifically, the Fisheries Resources (Jurisdiction & Conservation) Regulations, Part X, Sections 47(1)(a), (b) and 48(1)(f) and the laws and regulations of the State of Florida, specifically 68B-16.003(1), 68B-24.003(4), and 68B-13.005(2) contrary to the federal Lacey Act.
The information also seeks the forfeiture of the illegal catch: approximately, 338 queen conch, 11 spiny lobster tails, 31 stone crab claws, and 140 pounds of snapper and grouper fillets.
Sentencing is scheduled for December 16, 2013 before U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez. Lamm faces a possible sentence of up to one year in prison, the forfeiture of the illegal catch, and a fine of up to $10,000.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts the NOAA, Office of Law Enforcement, FWC, and Customs and Border Protection. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Norman O. Hemming, III and Antonia Barnes.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.