SHARK DEALER PLEADS GUILTY

Release Date: 07/31/2007

The owner of Ocean Fresh Seafood LLC, Hang Thanh Nguyen-Musselman, 53, of New Orleans, pled guilty in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana on July 11, 2007. 


Nguyen-Musselman entered the plea before U.S. Magistrate Daniel E. Knowles, III.  Her plea was to a bill of information, from April 4, 2007, for violations of the Federal Lacey Act for purchasing shark fins and shipping them in interstate commerce without a required Louisiana wholesale/retail dealer's license. 


In a joint investigation by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Law Enforcement Division and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office (NOAA) for Law Enforcement found Nguyen- Musselman had purchased 7,130 pounds of dried shark fins and sold them to two companies in California without a legal license.  The shark fins in this case represented over 400,000 pounds of whole shark.


Nguyen-Musselman pled guilty to one count of violating the Federal Lacey Act.  Magistrate Knowles accepted the plea and sentenced her to three years supervised probation, and ordered her to pay a $5,000 fine, $25 assessment fee and $500 in restitution to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation.


Prosecuting the case was Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Greenfield.  Agents participating in the case were Senior Agent Buck Hampton, Senior Agent Joel Cromp and Special Agent Steve Campbell.  This case demonstrates the positive impact of the Joint Enforcement Agreement between NOAA and LDWF.


For more information, contact Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne at jmayne@wlf.louisiana.gov or 225-765-2987.
2007-194