Authorities net ring of illegal fish traffickers in Wisconsin, Michigan

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Feds are finally netting their catch after uncovering a trafficking ring moving tons of smelly contraband across the Great Lakes in Wisconsin and Michigan. The culprits - fish buyers and sellers who were trafficking illegal trout, sturgeon, whitefish and walleye out of the Great Lakes.

Yep, for two years, U.S. Department of Fish & Wildlife agents went undercover to investigate. Turns out something fishy was going at businesses in Michigan and Wisconsin, including one in Door County, Wisconsin, a popular tourist area.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports agents set up a fake fish shop called UP North Fish Co. in L'Anse, Michigan, where they sold and bought illegally harvested fish from Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron.

Agents collected evidence by recording conversations. Warrants allowed for agents to raid the businesses that participated in illegal sales, including Dan's Fish, a popular store in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

Dan Schwarz of Dan's Fish had more than 50 sales at UP North, totaling 94,000 pounds of fish valued at $150,000. Nearly half of these transactions moved illegal fish. Some of it came from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, which cannot commercially harvest according to tribal law.

Documents show the tribal connection was disclosed to Schwarz, but he still purchased the fish multiple times as well as untagged fish, the Journal Sentinel reports.

In one recorded conversation, Schwarz told an agent, "I just buy fish. ... I don't know where they came from, I don't know how they got there, I don't care," the Associated Press reports.

The Door County Advocate reports Wisconsin DNR agents searched Dan's Fish earlier this month. Other businesses in Michigan are also under investigation.

The investigation is looking at whether the businesses violated the Lacey Act, a federal law that limits the commercial trade of wildlife that has been taken illegally. Violators face felony charges carrying penalties up to five years in prison.

No charges have been filed yet, and warrants only recently became unsealed.

Next Up

Matt Dumba

Matt Dumba beats the clock to give Wild sixth straight win

Dumba scored as overtime came to a close for another Wild victory.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Bradley Beal terrorizes Timberwolves in loss to Wizards

Beal and the Wizards handed the Wolves their seventh straight defeat.

Marcus Carr / Gopher basketball

Gophers tourney hopes take another blow with loss to Nebraska

Marcus Carr scored a career-high 41 points, but Minnesota is still winless on the road.

St. Paul police

St. Paul police arrest teenage boy in carjacking crackdown

This comes amid a dramatic spike in Twin Cities carjackings.

snow

Snow latest: Twin Cities set for up to 4 inches

A narrow system will travel across Minnesota overnight.

Blake Fredrick / Lake City Basketball

Lake City boys basketball player signs contract, honored on senior night

Frederick had a special call-up to the Tigers' varsity basketball team.

ambulance

Man dies after being shot outside home near Grove City

He was found outside a home in Acton Township.

Screen Shot 2021-02-27 at 9.39.00 AM

Teen wounded in 'accidental shooting' in Moorhead

The 18-year-old was shot in the abdomen.

Kirill Kaprizov / Minnesota Wild

Watch: Another absurd night for Kaprizov as his legend grows

Kaprizov scored a crazy wrap-around goal in the Wild's victory over the Kings.

Related