It should have been easy: thick fog, early on a Friday morning of a holiday weekend. Hardly anybody was out on the Chesapeake Bay.
But Maryland Natural Resources Police happened to be testing a new radar system in the Tangier Sound pea-soup weather when 32-year-old waterman Adam Rodney Antes of Nanticoke motored by on his way to Somerset Oyster Sanctuary, a state-protected area.
This was one of those things that make cops go, “hmmm.” So, the officers hid nearby in the heavy fog and watched Ante allegedly enter the sanctuary in Somerset County and start dredging. That’s when police say they moved in and found two bushels of undersized oysters on board Antes’ boat.
The oysters were seized and, in return, Antes got four citations for harvesting oysters illegally and an a court appearance in Somerset District Court on March 10. If found guilty of all four charges, he faces a maximum penalty of $8,000.
This was Antes’ fourth bout with DNR cops in the past year. In December, he was charged with overharvesting oysters in Wicomico County, a case that is scheduled to be tried on March 3. Last August, he was found guilty in Wicomico County for possessing undersized crabs and was found guilty last March in Somerset County for possessing unmeasured oysters.
The oysters seized Friday morning were returned to the sanctuary so they can continue growing.
As for the radar the officers were testing in the heavy fog, the the Maritime Law Enforcement Information Network (MLEIN) worked just fine and recorded a radar-record of Antes’ boat movement.