California Fishing – Final Poacher Sentenced In 2013 Abalone Sting

After almost a year of court procedures, the last of 18 abalone poachers arrested in a 2013 sting has been sentenced. All 18 suspects were found guilty or pled no contest to the charges.

On Aug. 29, 2013, California wildlife officers simultaneously served 13 search/arrest warrants throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento on 18 suspected abalone poachers. The last of the 18, Dung Tri Bui of San Leandro, was recently found guilty in Mendocino County Superior Court after a week long jury trial. Bui was convicted of three misdemeanor counts, including take of abalone for commercial use, conspiracy to take abalone for commercial purposes and take of abalone greater than the daily limit. He was sentenced to 36 months summary probation, $15,000 fine and a lifetime ban on fishing (including the take of abalone). Deputy District Attorney (DDA) Daniel Madow presented the case.

In total, $139,883 in fines and 11 fishing license revocations were handed out to the 18 subjects. All of the subjects received summary probation ranging from one to three years. All seized dive gear was ordered forfeited by the court. Mendocino DDAs Heidi Larson and Tim Stoen and support staff also spent a tremendous amount of time on these cases along with numerous staff from the Sacramento District Attorney’s office.

“We had excellent support from the respective District Attorney’s offices for taking these crimes seriously and prosecuting the poachers to the full extent of the law,” said Asst. Chief Brian Naslund of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Law Enforcement Division. “The gear forfeiture, fines and lifetime fishing license revocations for California’s worst poaching offenders will hopefully put them out of the poaching business permanently.”

Poachers    Charges    Revoked    Fine    Probation
SF Bay Area
Khoa Dang Nguyen    5521.5    Life fish/hunt    $15,000    36 months
Chinh Quan Le    5521.5    Life fish/hunt    $15,000    36 months
Hung Vo    5521.5    Lifetime fishing    $15,000    24 months
Toi Van Nguyen    5521.5    Life fish/hunt    $15,000    24 months
Dung Tri Bui    5521.5, PC 182, 29.15[c]    Lifetime fishing    $15,000    36 months
Hai Van Ha    5521.5, PC 182,    Lifetime abalone    $1,353.50    24 months
Duoc Van Nguyen    5521.5, PC 182    Lifetime abalone    $1,353.50    24 months
Andy Phan    2000/29.15 [c]    Lifetime abalone    $1,537    24 months
Charlie Le    PC 182    No    $1,420    24 months
Nhan Trung Le    PC 182, 2000/29.15[c]    No    $1,888    24 months
Suong Hung Tran    29.15[c]    No    $1,771    24 months
Chuyen Van Bui    1052[f]    No    $1,303    24 months
Diep van Nguyen    2000/29.15[c]    No    $1,537    12 months
Khoa Ngoc Nguyen    29.16[b]    No    $1,420    12 months
Dung Van Nguyen    5521.5, PC 115 (a) (F)    Lifetime fishing    $15,000    32 mo State prison
Tho Thanh Phan    5521.5    Lifetime fishing    $15,000    24 months
Hiep Ho    5521.5    Lifetime fishing    $20,000    26 months
Hung Van Le    2000, 29.16(a)    No    $1,303    24 months
PC 115 Forgery of government documents
PC 182 Conspiracy to commit a crime
F&G Code 5521.5 Unlawful to take abalone for commercial purposes
F&G Code 2000 Unlawful possession of California’s fish and wildlife
F&G Code 1052 Unlawful use of another’s hunting/fishing license
Title 14 – 29.15 abalone overlimit
Title 14 – 29.16 abalone report card violations

The original press release announcing the bust can be found at

The case was investigated by the CDFW Special Operations Unit, a specialized team of wildlife officers tasked with investigating illegal black market sales of California’s fish and wildlife resources.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.

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