Eel traffickers indicted

January 19, 2018

BOSTON (AP) — Two men have been indicted for illegally harvesting and selling juvenile eels from New Jersey and Massachusetts waters.

Federal prosecutors say Joseph Kelley and James Lewis were indicted in Newark, New Jersey Thursday with conspiracy to smuggle the valuable eels, which are also known as “elvers” or “glass eels.”

The indictment alleges Kelley and Lewis illegally harvested the elvers and then sold them to dealers and exporters. The two men were charged as a result of an interagency sting known as “Operation Broken Glass.”

The baby eels are valuable and rare food commodity in Asia. Fishermen sometimes sell them for more than $2,000 per pound. Their harvest is prohibited in the U.S. except for in Maine and South Carolina.

It couldn’t be immediately determined if Kelley and Lewis had lawyers.

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