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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

Monday, June 3, 2013

Virginia Charter Fishing Captain Sentenced For Lacey Act Violation

NORFOLK, Va. – William W. Lowery, IV, 44, of Tappahannock, Va., was sentenced to 30 days’ imprisonment today for violating the Lacey Act by trafficking in illegally-harvested striped bass.  After serving his sentence, Lowery will be placed on supervised release for one year.  Lowery is prohibited from engaging in the charter fishing industry in any capacity during the term of his supervised release.  Lowery was also sentenced to pay a $5,000 fine, pay $1,300 in restitution to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for the illegally-harvested striped bass, and surrender his Captain’s license for life.

Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, made the announcement after the sentence was pronounced by U.S. District Judge Henry C. Morgan, Jr.

            In a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Lowery admitted that on January 15, 2010, he took a charter fishing trip into the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to fish for Striped Bass, knowing that it was illegal to fish for Striped Bass in the EEZ. When Lowery’s boat, the Anna Lynn was approached by law enforcement, Lowery attempted to flee.  When the Anna Lynn was caught, law enforcement officers observed a plastic trash barrel with thirteen (13) Striped Bass floating in the water near the Anna Lynn. The trash barrel had been thrown overboard from the Anna Lynn during the pursuit, and the Striped Bass contained within the trash barrel had been harvested by fishermen aboard the Anna Lynn within the EEZ.

            This case was investigated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Fisheries, Office for Law Enforcement, and the Virginia Marine Police with assistance from the Federal Communications Commission Enforcement Bureau, Norfolk, Va. Office.  Trial Attorney James B. Nelson of the Department of Justice’s Environmental Crimes Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen W. Haynie from the Eastern District of Virginia are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at or on
Updated March 18, 2015