Maryland Natural Resources Police Charge Three St. Mary’s County Men

December 5, 2017

A St. Mary’s County man has been charged with illegally selling oysters online and failing to pay the state fee assessed to all commercial harvesting operations.

Matthew Wayne Morgan, 36, of Mechanicsville, received citations Nov. 22 after an online investigation turned up ads on social media and websites offering oysters for sale. Under state law, an unlicensed person is allowed to harvest one bushel of oysters a day for personal consumption and may not list them for sale.

Morgan is scheduled to appear in St. Mary’s County District Court Feb. 18 on charges of failing to obtain a Tidal Fishing License and failing to pay the state oyster surcharge. Each violation carries a maximum fine of $1,000.

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A waterman was charged with illegally harvesting oysters and ordered to return them to the area on the St. Mary’s River where they were removed.

Devin Ellis Benoit, 20, of Piney Point, was stopped by officers on routine patrol Nov. 17 as he returned to the dock after power dredging a bar. None of the 12 bushels aboard his vessel had been tagged, as required by law.

Officers measured two bushels and found they contained 15 and 21 percent undersized oysters, well above the 5 percent tolerance allowed under state law. Benoit was ordered to return to the oyster bar to measure the rest of his harvest and put the undersized oysters back in the water.

Benoit was charged with two counts of possessing unmeasured and undersized oysters and one count of failing to tag his oysters before leaving the bar. Each charge carries a maximum fine of $1,000. He is scheduled to appear in St. Mary’s County District Court Feb. 1.

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A St. Mary’s County man has been charged with multiple counts of illegal hunting after police investigated an incident in Charles County.

Russell Wayne Weekley, 56, of Mechanicsville, received citations Nov. 20 for hunting on private land without written permission, failing to produce a hunting license, failing to tag a deer, and removing the head, hide or body parts before check in.

An officer was alerted by an off-duty Charles County deputy sheriff of a trespassing and illegal hunting complaint on Piney Church Road. The officer approached Weekley, riding a bicycle, as he returned to his truck with hunting gear. Weekly acknowledged trespassing, but said he was scouting for deer, not hunting.

After Weekley left, the officer walked a mile-and-a-quarter stretch of the wood line and found four legs and two back straps freshly removed from a deer. A few hundred yards away, the officer found a bow and arrows, a backpack, a collapsible tree stand and a duffel bag stuffed with hunting clothes.

The officer contacted Weekley, who acknowledged the gear was his and that he intended to return for it and the deer meat.

Weekley is scheduled to appear in Charles County District Court Feb. 21. The maximum fine for each charge is $1,500.

8 Responses to Maryland Natural Resources Police Charge Three St. Mary’s County Men

  1. Adam 12 on December 5, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Good lord people, how hard is it to just follow the rules?

  2. Bone Up on December 5, 2017 at 11:52 am

    All the fines in the world are useless. The local oysters are about extinct. But the licensing of them along with all the other resources will continue until they are completely gone.

    The deer are being pushed to constantly relocate by the extensive land development, so eventually they will be gone too. It’s all about the what? money.

    But the illegal harvests and private property trespassing should be stopped by adequate punishment. Never happen with the judges here.

    • Anonymous on December 7, 2017 at 4:11 pm

      The deer will never be gone due to development. They may go more ‘nocturnal’, but they will thrive. Overhunting or disease are about the only two things that will eradicate deer.

  3. Anonymous on December 5, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    I hate trespassers i pay a lot of money and property taxes for me and my family to live and enjoy the great deer hunting and some POS sneaks in because they’re to crappy of a hunter to hunt public or get permission from someone and harvest a deer like a real hunter. Sorry a$$ pieces of $hit. You never know who just might shoot shovel and shut up

  4. Heather on December 5, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Stupid rednecks…lol

    • Mac N Cheese on December 6, 2017 at 9:45 am

      #OLM – Oyster Lives Matter! Fight the poachers! Bivalves forever!

    • Truth Hurts on December 8, 2017 at 6:45 pm

      And you’re a stupid liberal bi###. Talk crap as usual. We all know you wouldn’t to their face.

  5. cheywolf on December 7, 2017 at 11:09 am

    It’s a shame that these people who are poaching don’t see the consequence they are causing to the environment. The are selfish individuals who need to be put in jail maybe they will finally learn a lesson. Rules are in place to protect the natural resources not your personal gain.