March 15, 2017 — A 70-year-old Woolwich man has been indicted by a federal grand jury alleging that he trafficked in poached elvers — juvenile American eels — between 2011 and 2014.
William Sheldon, a longtime commercial elver dealer operating as Kennebec Glass Eels, is charged with conspiracy and violating the federal Lacey Act, which prohibits interstate transport or transactions of any species of fish or wildlife illegally harvested or handled in any state.
Each of the seven counts carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Sheldon will plead not guilty to the charges, his attorney, Walter McKee, said Tuesday. He is scheduled for arraignment on March 30 in U.S. District Court in Portland.
Prosecutors say that from 2011 to 2014, while Sheldon was licensed in Maine and South Carolina to commercially harvest elvers, he violated the Lacey Act by buying or selling eels illegally poached in Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia and North Carolina.