VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) - Five charter fishing boat captains operating out of Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach have been indicted for allegedly selling illegally harvested striped bass.
The Justice Department says the captains also face charges of making false statements to law enforcement officers and destroying property to prevent its seizure by law enforcement. The indictment was handed up Thursday.
Each of the captains faces charges that they sold charter fishing trips and harvested striped bass from the United States exclusive economic zone. Since 1990, the U.S. has imposed a moratorium on fishing for striped bass within that zone.
If convicted, each captain faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count. They could also forfeit the fishing vessels they used during the commission of any crimes.
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A company has been hired to complete the repairs to the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge on the Outer Banks, but how long those repairs will take remains unknown.
Drivers traveling between Hatteras Island and the mainland were forced to use an emergency ferry Wednesday, following the sudden closure of the Bonner Bridge Tuesday.
State officials say construction on a new Bonner Bridge has been delayed for years because of a legal battle with an environmental group.