Related to an investigation into the illegal harvesting of striped bass
Michael D. Hayden, Jr., age 41, of Tilghman Island, Maryland, was arrested on Tuesday on charges of witness tampering and retaliation in connection with an investigation of felony Lacey Act violations related to the illegal harvesting of striped bass from the Chesapeake Bay.
The charges were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Robert G. Dreher, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division; Regional Special Agent in Charge Honora Gordon of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement; and Joseph P. Gill, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
“Stealing striped bass and intimidating witnesses are crimes against our natural resources and against the citizens of Maryland,” said Department of Natural Resources Secretary Joseph P. Gill. “We are grateful for the partnership of law enforcement agencies and we thank our residents for coming forward and providing information to help us protect the public trust.”
According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Hayden is a commercial fisherman, licensed in the state of Maryland and operates commercial fishing vessels on the Chesapeake Bay. During an investigation of the illegal harvesting of striped bass from the Chesapeake Bay, agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, and the Maryland Natural Resources Police learned that Hayden allegedly attempted to manipulate some witnesses’ testimony while trying to prevent the testimony of others. The criminal complaint alleges that in at least one incident, Hayden threatened to retaliate against a potential witness he believed to be cooperating with investigators. More....