Snap! Frazee market owner charged with illegally having a ton of turtle meat


Three northwestern Minnesota men face criminal charges for allegedly having snapping turtles out of season.

The Department of Natural Resources says an investigation at Ketter's Meat Market in Frazee this summer has led to charges of illegally taking and possessing snapping turtles during the closed season.

Under Minnesota law, turtle season is closed during May and June.

The DNR says a search of the Frazee market on June 29 turned up 23 live snapping turtles (which were later released), 243 snapping turtle shells, and 291 10-pound packages of turtle meat.

The Star Tribune says the defendants are market owner Kevin Ketter, 54, his nephew Jordan Ketter, 21, and market employee Darwin Bartel, 54.

The Perham Focus reports an undercover DNR operative and surveillance photos were keys to building the case. The paper says in applying for a warrant to search Ketter's, the DNR wrote that photos showed numbers of turtles were brought into the market from June 13-18 by various vehicles, some of which were registered to market employees.

The Becker County Attorney's office is prosecuting the case. The DNR says each defendant is charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

Snapping turtles a species of concern in Minnesota

Although snapping turtles are widespread in Minnesota, they have been listed as a species of concern since 1984 – mainly, the DNR says, because the effects of a commercial harvest on the turtles are unknown and are possibly detrimental to the species.

The DNR says the situation is complicated by the fact that peak harvest is typically in late June, which coincides with egg-laying season.

Snapping turtles are commonly harvested for their meat, which is used for human consumption.

According to its website, Ketter's Meats & Locker Plant has been in business for more than 90 years.

A DNR captain tells the Star Tribune Ketter's was selling turtle meat to restaurants and commercial customers in areas including the Twin Cities.

Next Up

Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins saves the day again to get Vikings to .500

Cousins' overtime toss to K.J. Osborn earned a 34-28 victory.

Nurses on strike

Nurses start 3-day strike at Allina WestHealth in Plymouth

A "last attempt" at negotiations failed to produce an agreement last Wednesday.

boating minnesota lake

Minnesota has experienced its deadliest boating season since 2005

Minnesota has seen 17 boating-related deaths so far this year.

Drew Doughty

Kirill Kaprizov makes Kings’ Doughty eat his words

The Kings defenseman isn't a fan of the Wild star's new deal.

Quinn Olson / UMD Hockey

Watch: UMD's Olson goes between-the-legs to set up highlight goal

Another Saturday. Another highlight for a Minnesota college hockey team.

Gopher Hockey

Watch: No-call lifts Gophers to OT victory over St. Cloud State

A blatant hook marred a top-four battle in St. Cloud.

Ambulance hospital emergency

Driver killed after crashing into parked semi-trailer

The crash occurred on the 5800 block of University Avenue Northeast.

Mike Zimmer

Vikings-Panthers: 5 things you can count on happening

The Vikings will look to open things up in Carolina.