A Southeast resident was ordered to pay a $5000 fine and serve a year on probation after he was convicted of violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Raymond Chatham — who has a cabin in Edna Bay, but provided a mailing address in Wyoming — participated by telephone in Thursday’s hearing in U.S. District Court in Juneau.
As part of an agreement with prosecutors, the 64-year old Chatham changed his plea to two misdemeanor counts of violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act. They were for transporting eighty-seven sea otters for an acquaintance in October 2008, and keeping fourteen sea otter skulls for himself.
His defense attorney acknowledged that ‘ignorance of the law is no excuse,’ but she noted her client’s willingness to set things right. Prosecutors agreed that Chatham was upfront and very cooperative with investigators.
Chatham told the court that “I’m very sorry for this and it is an embarrassment to me.”
The maximum penalty for each of the charges could’ve been a year in jail and a $100,000 fine.
Chatham was just one of nine people charged in what was called ‘Operation Enhydra,’ a joint state and federal undercover investigation into the illegal taking and sale of marine mammals.
- As a child in Iran, Parisa Elahian was told by school officials she wasn’t equal with other children. "They called us dirty, so they had to separate us from the other kids, so I was in the corner of the class," Elahian said.
- This weekend, crowds showed up in the pouring rain to do their holiday shopping at Juneau’s Public Market, but it wasn’t the only place in town to buy local goods.
- Southeast Alaska biologists had a rare opportunity to watch the hatching of thousands of market squid eggs.
- Diverse commercial markets for the snake-like creature have opened up over the past few years but catching them can be tricky.