Kodiak Strip Boat Owner Sentenced to Probation and Fine
Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that Darren Byler, 56, resident of Zachar Bay, Kodiak Island, Alaska, was sentenced on Monday by U.S. District Judge Sharon L. Gleason to five years’ probation and a fine of $10,000, for violating the Refuse Act and making false statements to Coast Guard officials.
Byler was convicted in December 2015 after an 11-day trial. According to the evidence at trial, Kimberly Riedel-Byler and Darren K. Byler were the owners of the Wild Alaskan, a floating strip club anchored in Kodiak Harbor between June 2014 and November 2014. On the Wild Alaskan was a customer bathroom for patrons and an employee bathroom for dancers and other staff. The United States established at trial that sewage from these bathrooms on board the Wild Alaskan was plumbed to flow directly overboard into the waters of Kodiak Harbor.
When asked to produce documentation about his sewage disposal from the Wild Alaskan, Darren Byler gave the United States Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Kodiak a false ship’s log. In the log, the defendant claimed to have disposed of 1,500 gallons of raw sewage from the Wild Alaskan at the Pier 2 sewage disposal facility in Kodiak Harbor on July 29 and 30, 2014. In his log, the defendant also reported that he disposed of 800 gallons of sewage on five additional occasions in September and October 2014, by transporting the sewage in his landing craft, the Gulf Coast Responder, and dumping it at sea beyond 3 nautical miles. The United States proved at trial that these statements were false.
Judge Gleason based her sentence on numerous factors, including the nature and circumstances of the defendant’s conduct, and the defendant’s history and characteristics. Judge Gleason also noted the need to deter others from committing similar environmental crimes, and then engaging in steps to hide those illegal discharges. “There is a need for the sentence to afford some degree of adequate deterrence to the many other mariners that are in our state,” said Judge Gleason.
The case was the product of an investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies, including the United States Coast Guard Investigative Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Kodiak Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Reardon and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney William George prosecuted the case.