HAMPTON, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire Fish and Game officers have two men in custody and two buckets of baby eels as evidence of what they say is part of an eel-poaching operation believed to be driven by a worldwide shortage of eels.
Maine brothers, 35-year-old Justin Kinney, from Mount Vernon, and 29-year-old Matthew Kinney, of Bremen, are charged with taking eels without a harvest permit and taking glass eels less than six inches.
Matthew Kinney is also charged with assault on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest and disobeying a conservation officer. Officials say the younger Kinney fled with a handcuff fastened to one wrist — leading officers on a pursuit that involved canines and a helicopter before he was apprehended at a nearby hotel.
A state police helicopter and several police dogs searched the area of U.S. Route 1 in Hampton before tracking the younger suspect to a hotel in Hampton Falls, Fish and Game officials confirmed.
Both are due in court Monday.
The investigation began after a Fish and Game officer got a tip that two men suspected in illegally fishing eels off the New Hampshire coast would be in Hampton around 4:30 this morning.
Immature eels, known as elvers, can fetch $2,000 a pound overseas.