Maine man charged for allegedly buying, selling eels between Virginia and New York

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An American eel. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
An American eel. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

A Maine man has been charged in federal court after officials say he bought and sold American eels between Virginia and New York.

Richard D. Austin, of Waldoboro, ME, is charged with one count of Lacey Act Trafficking, a felony offense. The Lacey Act bans the illegal trafficking of animals and plants in the United States.

Officials believe that on March 23, 2015 Austin bought and sold juvenile American eels between Virginia and New York. The market value of the eels was more than $350, according to documents filed in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Officials first began looking into Austin around April 29, 2015, when he was the subject of a financial affidavit. That document is sealed and was not entered into record until Feb. 14.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.  

Mayfield can be reached at adrienne.m@southsidedaily.com.