Citizen rewarded for information on abalone poachers

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Posted by Curt Degler of SCAN on July 25, 2004 at 11:40:22:

The Sonoma County Abalone Network SCAN awarded $1,000 on July 13 to the citizen who provided state law enforcement officials with information that led to the arrest and conviction on felony conspiracy charges of Kurt Ward and Joshua Holt of San Diego.

Ward and Holt were arrested May 21, 2004 by Fish and Game Wardens Dennis McKiver, Gary Combes, and Ed Ramos at Albion River, Mendocino after their boat "Blind Strike" was searched and found to contain 468 red abalone, the largest single haul of abalone on record. The legal limit is three in possession with an annual limit of 24. California abalone can never be sold or brought to market.

On June 30, Kurt Ward and Joshua Holt pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy charges in State Court in Ukiah. They were sentenced to two years in state prison, fines of $40,0000 and $20,000 respectively, confiscation of their boat and diving equipment, and were barred permanently from sport or commercial fishing.

Law enforcement officials were led to Ward and Holt's boat by a tip given to the California Dept. of Fish and Game.

Although he wishes to remain anonymous, SCAN was able with the help of Fish and Game officials to identify and reward the citizen who provided California Fish and Game with $1,000 in cash for his help in apprehending those responsible for this serious crime that threatens the State abalone resource.

George Lawry, spokesmen for SCAN, in commenting on the award, stated, "The maximum award of $1,000 was justified by the magnitude of this case. We need to encourage citizens to report acts of wrongdoing and we hope that by offering a significant award and letting others know of its existence we can deter would-be poachers, help law enforcement and help preserve this unique and fragile resource, said Lawry.

SCAN is a non-profit organization founded in 1995 based in Santa Rosa and dedicated to the preservation of abalone resources by combating poaching.

For more information, contact:
George Lawry, SCAN, 707-539-1523
P.O. Box 3801
Santa Rosa, CA 95402


Curt Degler
SCAN, 707-477-9591
P.O. Box 593
Cotati, CA 94931

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