Texas Company Charged with Violations of the Federal Lacey Act
U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that GARCIA SHRIMP CO., LLC, a Texas Limited Liability Company headquartered in Brownsville, Texas, was charged today in a one-count Bill of Information for falsely labeling shrimp that it sold to a New Orleans seafood distributor in violation the Federal Lacey Act.
According to the Bill of Information, on or about October 9, 2012, GARCIA SHRIMP purchased 35,000 pounds of Mexican shrimp from Mexican businessmen. After taking receipt of the shrimp, company personnel removed Mexico labels from the packages and attached new tags indicating that the shrimp was caught in U.S. waters. Company personnel also created false records and bills of lading to make it appear that the shrimp was caught by a U.S. flagged fishing vessel. On or about October 12, 2012, GARCIA SHRIMP sold the shrimp to a New Orleans based seafood distributor for $120,800.
If convicted, GARCIA SHRIMP CO., LLC faces a maximum fine of $500,000 and an organizational probationary term of five years.
U. S. Attorney Polite reiterated that the Bill of Information is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the U.S Department of Commerce NOAA Office of Law Enforcement, in investigating this matter. Assistant U. S. Attorney Spiro G. Latsis and Department of Justice Trial Attorney Christopher L. Hale with the Environmental Crimes Section in Washington D.C. are in charge of the prosecution.