DEA and Coast Guard make arrest on F/V Sea Hunter
November 10, 2007
The DEA and Coast Guard launched a search and rescue operation to help a disabled fishing vessel and ended up arresting the captain for a parole violation and illegally taking too many fish.
From a Coast Guard press release: Following a Coast Guard search and rescue operation to secure a disabled fishing vessel, the Coast Guard in cooperation with agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and Alaska State Troopers conducted a boarding on the fishing vessel Sea Hunter near Seward Thursday. The agents were looking for drugs, firearms and fish taken illegally.
Jim Frary, 48, the master of the F/V Sea Hunter, was convicted earlier this summer of drug and weapons related charges. He was out on bail. It became evident during the boarding that Frary was not under supervision of his third party custodian, thereby violating his bail terms. Frary was arrested and taken into custody by the Alaska State Troopers for violation of conditions of release. Frary is a resident of Homer.
Coast Guard and DEA personnel went over the vessel with an ION scanner looking for drugs or drug residue but nothing was found.
Additionally, it was suspected that there were firearms on board and that the catch might be illegal. Alaska State Troopers ran the names of the other crewmembers on board and discovered that Jason Davis is on parole for a Class A felony and is not allowed to possess a firearm. During the course of the boarding two firearms were found, a .308 and a 30-06. Davis admitted to agents that one of the rifles is his. His parole officer will decide what the repercussions of possessing the firearm will be.
NMFS Enforcement investigated catch related matters to make sure the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) quota on board the Sea Hunter was within the IFQ cardholder's quota. Mr. Frary was in violation of IFQ catch quotas by 700 pounds of IFQ sablefish. NMFS will seize approximately 1,500 pounds of catch on board and assign a fine which is yet to be determined.
The fishing vessel Sea Hunter was towed in from the Gulf of Alaska by the Coast Guard Cutter Hickory after they were reported disabled and adrift Tuesday due to an engine casualty. The Good Samaritan vessel Deliverance attempted to tow the vessel but heavy weather made it difficult and unsafe. They remained on scene until the Coast Guard arrived Wednesday morning. The Hickory arrived in Seward safely at 10:30 a.m. Thursday. The Sea Hunter was moored at the cruise ship terminal.
The Coast Guard Cutter Mustang from Seward originally responded to the disabled Sea Hunter but was turned back due to weather. After the Sea Hunter was in more sheltered waters the Mustang did transport the joint boarding team from Seward to the vessel. The law enforcement boarding began while the vessels were still en route to Seward.
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