Minneapolis men caught with 117 walleye
Home search finds 305 sunfish
Lino Lakes, Minn. An officer who smelled something fishy during a routine traffic stop led to the discovery of 117 walleyes in a car trunk, authorities said last Friday.
"The vehicle had been stopped for speeding when the officer noticed the strong odor of fish," said Anoka Conservation Officer Travis Muyres. "We later counted 117 walleye in the trunk."
The Lino Lakes police officer called the DNR after pulling over the car along Interstate 35W. The men told authorities they caught the walleyes in the St. Louis River in Duluth.
Charged with gross misdemeanor overlimit in Anoka County were Bunchan Srey, 51; Dymong Chhoun, 20; Bunsean Lieng, 19; Samnang Pich, 19; and a juvenile, all from Minneapolis.
The men should have had no more than 10 St. Louis River walleyes in the vehicle, police said.
Officers then obtained a search warrant for the home of three of the suspects and found 305 sunfish, which is 145 fish over the limit. The sunfish were caught in the Twin Cities.
The adults face fines of up to $3,000 each, one year in jail, or both. The restitution value for the walleye listed in the criminal complaint is $2,790, while restitution on the sunfish would hit $725.
The adults have a June court date. The juvenile pleaded guilty to gross misdemeanor overlimit, but was not ordered to pay restitution. Charges for the illegal sunfish were pending in Hennepin County.
Muyres told Outdoor News that there was no evidence of netting in the case and that it appeared all the fish had been caught via hook and line.
Anyone observing illegal fishing activity should contact their local conservation officer, local DNR office or the Turn-In-Poacher hotline at 1-800-652-9093.