Witness-Tampering Charges in Bass Harvesting Case

     (CN) – Officers investigating the illegal harvesting of striped bass from the Chesapeake Bay arrested a commercial fisherman on witness tampering and retaliation charges.
     Michael Hayden Jr., 41, of Tilghman’s Island, Md., is a licensed commercial fisherman who operates commercial fishing vessels on the Chesapeake Bay, according to a statement from the Justice Department
     Hayden became ensnared in an investigation into the harvesting of striped bass from the Chesapeake Bay in violation of the Lacey Act.
     Agents with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement and the Maryland Natural Resources Police allegedly learned that Hayden allegedly attempted to manipulate testimony from some witnesses while trying to prevent the testimony of others.
     In at least one incident, Hayden threatened to retaliate against someone he believed had been cooperating with investigators, according to the criminal complaint.
     If convicted, Hayden faces up to 20 years in prison on each of four counts of witness tampering and witness retaliation.

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