A federal probe into the illegal harvest and sale of Florida Keys wildlife last week netted another Keys resident.
Federal investigators working on Operation Rock Bottom allege Charles R. Jamison, 74, of Little Torch Key, sold juvenile bonnethead sharks that had been taken from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and the Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge between June and October 2012 without the proper licenses or federal permits, according to court documents.
According to court records, Jamison sold the sharks to an alleged co-conspirator, who delivered them to a commercial marine life facility on Big Pine Key.
Some of the sharks were sold to a customer in Atlanta, records state.
Jamison is represented by Key West attorney David Paul Horan, who is out of town this week and could not be reached for comment.
The U.S. Attorney's Office does not comment on pending cases, but court records indicate that a conviction could cost
If Jamison is convicted, Jamison faces five years in federal prison and $250,000 in fines. The federal government will also make him forfeit his 1974 17-foot Mako, the trailer, three fishing rods and reels, and a 3-foot shark tank, records state.
Jamison is accused of violating the Lacey Act, which makes it a federal offense to import, export, transport, sell or purchase in interstate commerce any wildlife protected at the state level.
It's the same law used over the past five years to prosecute myriad Keys defendants in the lobster casita cases.
There have been numerous defendants charged in Operation Rock Bottom since federal law enforcement agents (working with U.S. Assistant Attorney Thomas Watts-Fitzgerald) began making cases public in late 2012.