California Wardens Bust Three on Charges of Buying and Selling Abalone


State game wardens arrested three northern California women on Jan. 27 on charges of buying and selling abalone harvested under the authority of a sport fishing license.

In California, it is illegal to buy or sell sport-caught abalone, or any other fish or wildlife, because it leads to the over-harvest of the resource. There is no commercial abalone harvest from California’s coast.

“The arrests remove another threat to California’s precious abalone resource,” said Captain Bob Farrell of the Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Law Enforcement Division. “The illegal harvest and commercialization of our abalone resource can devastate the abalone population if left unchecked.”

In August 2011, wardens observed Nuanrat Musser, 44, of Cotati purchase sport-caught abalone at a Cotati massage parlor. Wardens maintained surveillance on the business and observed Musser make several more abalone purchases. In September, wardens observed her as she resold the abalone contraband to Helen B. Macariola, 55, and Kritkaew McCulley, 65, both of Sacramento.

All three women were arrested and booked into Sonoma County Jail. The case was filed with the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office, where each defendant will face three poaching-related misdemeanor charges.

Honest anglers and members of the public can help wardens stop poaching by reporting poaching crimes to California Department of Fish and Game’s CalTIP line at 1-888-334-2258.

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