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Colorado men to pay $6K for poaching fish in Michigan

Men were using illegal tackle to catch 50 or more salmon on Manistee River; total weight of fish caught was more than 460 pounds
Michigan DNR Conservation Officers Scott MacNeill (left) and Josiah Killingbeck retrieved 463 pounds of salmon from suspects and donated the fish to local Manistee County families the same day.

Six Colorado men have pleaded guilty to taking fish by an illegal method, stemming from an incident along the Manistee River last fall.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers caught the group illegally fishing following a tip from a concerned angler, the MDNR said in a news release.

When encountered by conservation officers along the Manistee River, near the Tippy Dam in Dickson Township, it was determined the men did not have valid fishing licenses, were using illegal tackle, and possessed 17 salmon taken by an illegal method, the MDNR said in a news release shortly after the incident.

The group willingly admitted their illegal activity led conservation officers back to their vehicles, where they had an additional 40 to 50 fish in coolers – some of the fish had already been filleted.

The group, if properly licensed, legally would have been allowed to possess 30 fish total; the total amount of illegal fish in the group’s possession weighed 463 pounds.

The last of the six men was charged earlier this month in the 85th District Court in Manistee County, the MDNR said this week.

Each owes more than $1,100 in restitution, fines and costs:

  • Agustin Barrera, 29, of Denver
  • David Cobaxin, 48, of Denver
  • Alfredo Hernandez, 56, of Denver
  • Gregorio Hernandez, 49, of Aurora
  • Leonel Lopez, 38, of Aurora
  • Raul Lopez, 37, of Aurora

The incident was not a total loss, as conservation officers donated more than 460 pounds of the fresh fish to Manistee County families in need.