Maine man charged for allegedly buying, selling eels between Virginia and New York is your source for free local news and information in Virginia Beach

An American eel. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
An American eel. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

A Maine man has been charged in federal court after officials say he bought and sold American eels between Virginia and New York.

Richard D. Austin, of Waldoboro, Maine,  is charged with one count of Lacey Act Trafficking, a felony offense.  The Lacey Act bans the illegal trafficking of animals and plants in the United States.

Officials believe that on March 23, 2015 Austin bought and sold juvenile American eels between Virginia and New York. The market value of the eels was more than $350, according to documents filed in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Officials first began looking into Austin around April 29, 2015, when he was the subject of a financial affidavit. That document is sealed and was not entered into record until Feb. 14.

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Adrienne Mayfield is an award-winning, multi-media journalist hailing from Clermont, Fla. She moved to Lynchburg, Va. on a whim when she was 19, and worked her way to Hampton Roads in 2013. Adrienne is passionate about telling people stories via covering public safety and the judicial system. She isn’t afraid to take a heads-on approach to covering crime, including knocking on doors to get the details police aren’t sharing. Adrienne is a 2014 Old Dominion University graduate who still lives within walking distance of the college. You may see her cruising around Downtown Norfolk on her bike, enjoying a sandwich from Grilled Cheese Bistro or playing fetch with her dog, Greta, at the Colonial Place dog park.