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Island Packet Online: Shrimp harvest plentiful
Joel O'Quinn, of the Department of Natural Resources' Law Enforcement Division.
But for O'Quinn
officers, a good shrimp baiting harvest brings with it one big problem.
"When we have a big harvest like we have now, people (are) catching over the limit," he
SPECIAL TO BLUFFTON TODAY Former law ...
SPECIAL TO BLUFFTON TODAY Former law enforcement officer Joel O'Quinn was cleared by a jury of all charges Friday in the Sept. 11, 2009, shootout with Rusty Spencer and his nephew Timothy Spencer outside a Point South restaurant.
O'Quinn, a former officer with the S.C. Dept. of Natural Resources, was found not guilty of assault and battery with intent to kill and assault with intent to kill shortly after a jury of five women and seven men continued its deliberations Friday morning.
They had deliberated for about two and a half hours Thursday before leaving for the night.
Coastal Carolina Herp Society
Joel O'Quinn didn't quite know what to do with the man standing before him Saturday night, his backpack filled to the brim with 114 turtle eggs he'd allegedly collected from the beaches of Hilton Head Island Plantation.O'Quinn, a law enforcement officer for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, has dealt with a staggering variety of criminals in his career, from drug-dealers to shrimpers plying their trade out of season.But a turtle egg poacher?That was a new one."This is the first case I've had like this," O'Quinn said.
charged him with 114 counts of illegally possessing an endangered animal -- the Atlantic Loggerhead sea turtle.Disturbing the eggs is punishable by state and federal fines and jail time.O'Quinn
believes Craig was collecting the eggs for sale in native islander bars as aphrodisiacs.
After consulting superiors, O'Quinn
decided to charge Craig with violating the federal law.
believes the federal punishments have to be at least as stiff.What's more, O'Quinn
said, the federal felony does not require selection of a jury; a state trial would.According to O'Quinn, Craig was detained by Hilton Head Plantation security officer Don Lagomarsino at about 11:30 p.m. after two residents called to report a stranger banging on their windows.
said Craig told the security officer the backpack "was holding nothing but turtle eggs."
Many eggs broke in the backpack, O'Quinn
said.The others were away from the nest for too many hours to be put back.O'Quinn
has sent the eggs to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife lab in Charleston for analysis, where experts will be able to tell for sure if the eggs indeed come from the endangered turtles.
Joel O'Quinn, a Marine Patrol conservation officer with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR)."DNR officers in boats and a DNR helicopter caught violators trawling up to one-half mile inside state waters."
Thursday morning DNR Marine Patrol officers identified several shrimp boats in Port Royal Sound that appeared to be trawling inside state waters.Helicopter pilot Bucky Harris with the DNR
flew over the boats in question where their positions were marked and identified using Global Position Satellite (GPS) technology, O'Quinn
said.Those caught inside state waters were escorted by DNR
officers in patrol boats to Port Royal Seafood Co.
where the captains were charged with unlawful trawling shrimp out of season.
News | Jasper County Sun
Joel O'Quinn, a former officer with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources who quit to run for sheriff in 2007, will be prosecuted by the state Attorney General's Office in a trial set for March 14.