NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – United States Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced that INDIAN RIDGE SEAFOOD COMPANY, LLC, (“INDIAN RIDGE SEAFOOD”) a Louisiana Limited Liability Company located in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, pled guilty today to a one count Bill of Information for the illegal sale of oysters in violation of the Lacey Act.
According to court records, from January 1, 2017 through March 19, 2019, INDIAN RIDGE SEAFOOD did knowingly sell and transport oysters in interstate commerce with a market value in excess of $350.00, when, in the exercise of due care, INDIAN RIDGE SEAFOOD should have known that said oysters were acquired and possessed in violation of and in a manner unlawful under the laws of the State of Louisiana, specifically, Louisiana Revised Statutes, R.S. 56:306.4; R.S. 56:306.5; R.S. 56:306.6. INDIAN RIDGE SEAFOOOD failed to report to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries approximately 14,346 sacks of Louisiana oysters, valued at approximately $656,865.
INDIAN RIDGE SEAFOOD faces a maximum fine of not more than $200,000 and a special assessment of $125.00. Sentencing in this matter is scheduled for February 18, 2021 before U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan.
“NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement is dedicated to enforcing federal marine resource laws, including the Lacey Act, to ensure the sustainability of our natural resources,” Tracy A. Dunn, Assistant Director, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Law Enforcement said. “This investigation is an example of how we collaboratively work with other federal and state partners, such as the Food and Drug Administration and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.”
“Accurate and timely recordkeeping about the harvesting, holding, and sale of shellfish is not only required by law, but exists to protect the public health,” said Special Agent in Charge Justin C. Fielder, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Miami Field Office. “We will continue to work with our federal partners to investigate such matters and keep our food supply safe.”
U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser praised the work of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in investigating this matter. Assistant United States Attorney Julia K. Evans is in charge of the prosecution.
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