Still waiting for Hank's CWD story

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Posted by Waiting... on August 20, 2002 at 11:27:27:

So, Hank, what was that CWD C-4 and jail time story?

Found this passage below in

"That kind of teamwork was key to a major undercover operation against shipwreck looters in the late 1980s in Channel Islands National Park in California. In that case, a husband-and-wife team of rangers signed on with a charter boat carrying the California Wreck Divers Club into waters that were part of the park, the adjoining national marine sanctuary, and a state underwater preserve. For three days, the two rangers dove with the club, observing as divers hammered at the wreckage of several ships, including the General Winfield Scott, a steamer that went down in 1853 while carrying miners home during the Gold Rush. Brass and copper fittings and planks from the ship were removed as the boat captain stood watch for park rangers, ready to sound an underwater alarm to alert the divers.

When the boat returned to the dock, it was met by park rangers, local sheriff's deputies, and agents of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which administers the national marine sanctuary. A total of 56 federal and state criminal and civil charges were filed against 19 people and one corporation. All but one charge was successfully prosecuted, resulting in $200,000 in fines. The ship's captain spent 30 days in jail, and most of the artifacts were recovered. This case affirmed that the federal regulations protecting these resources superseded the rights the defendants had claimed under Admiralty Laws of Finds and Salvage. But it also drew attention to the fact that the Park Service has limited resources to prosecute these cases, which can be in litigation for years. This particular case began in October 1987 and was not settled until September 1994.

Although the Channel Islands case sent an unmistakable message to the local diving community, that doesn't mean looting has stopped, says Jack Fitzgerald, the ranger in charge of the investigation. Evidence of tampering is sometimes found among the 150 wrecks in the park's 125,000 acres of water—an indication that looters are going deeper and being more careful to avoid detection. And that's not particularly difficult in a park with just six rangers to patrol all that water as well as 125,000 acres of land, he says."

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