Elver dealer indicted on charges of buying, selling illegally caught eels

Elver buyer William Sheldon, of Woolwich, faces a seven-count federal indictment on charges alleging he dealt in illegally harvested juvenile eels over a four-year period beginning in 2011. Sitting in Portland, a grand jury on March 1 charged Sheldon with one count of conspiracy, three counts of illegal trafficking in wildlife and three counts of “false labeling” under the federal Lacey Act. If convicted, Sheldon faces up to five years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 on each count. On Monday, Augusta attorney Walter McKee said his client would enter not guilty pleas at his appearance before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge John H. Rich III currently scheduled for March 30. The indictments arise out of a long-running federal and multistate investigation into illegal elver harvesting — called “Operation Broken Glass.” On April 30, 2014, federal wildlife agents and Maine Marine Patrol officers raided two rooms at Jasper’s Motel on High Street rented by Sheldon to execute a search warrant looking for evidence that he had taken part in the purchase and sale of illegally harvested elvers through his company Kennebec Glass Eels. Read the story here 13:07