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Two Indicted for Interstate Transportation of Stolen Oysters


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 10, 2002

Contact:
Tom MacKenzie, 404/679-7291

On December 10, 2002, Dunn Lampton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi announced the indictment of Mr. William B. Epperson and Mr. Donnie M. Diket after a joint investigation conducted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement.

In one of the indictments, Epperson, 41, is charged with conspiracy to violate laws and regulations of the States of Mississippi and Louisiana and the Lacey Act. The conspiracy alleges that Epperson and his co-conspirators would take, by theft, as many oysters as possible from privately held oyster reefs in Louisiana and then transport and sell the oysters in Mississippi for profit. The indictment also alleges that Epperson and his co-conspirators would create false and fictitious dock logs, trip tickets, harvest logs and oyster tags. The indictment also charges Epperson with the illegal sale of 3,235 sacks of oysters with a market value of $38,379.00, and making false records, accounts, labels, trip tickets, logs relating to the illegally taken oysters which were then sold.

Epperson was also charged with threatening to cause bodily harm against a federal witness. If convicted, Epperson could receive a maximum of 25 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

In a different indictment, Diket is charged with aiding and abetting in conduct involving the illegal sale of 58 sacks of oysters with a market value of $754.00 on August 7, 2002. If convicted, Diket could receive a maximum of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

“We are very pleased with the effort set forth by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Agents and the assistance provided by Special Agents of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service during this investigation,” said Colonel Winton Vidrine, Chief of Enforcement for LDWF. “This investigation will benefit the public, the oyster industry and the resource.”

“State and federal agents will continue to aggressively pursue these types of investigations that could have serious impacts on public health and the oyster industry,” said Robert Oliveri, Resident Agent In Charge with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

 


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Atlanta, GA 30345
Phone: 404/679-7289 Fax: 404/679-7286

   
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