South Peace News
A High Prairie-area man charged with a major illegal fish operation was a no-show for his scheduled trial.
Mickey Roland Andrews failed to appear for his trial Sept. 3 in High Prairie commissioners’ court Sept. 3.
He faces one charge of unauthorized sell/buy fish.
Several other people facing related charges have trials scheduled in High Prairie provincial court, according to information from the High Prairie office of Alberta Fish and Wildlife.
David Rochon, of Edmonton, is scheduled to appear for trial Nov. 5 in High Prairie to face on charge of unauthorized sell/buy fish.
Elizabeth Ann Andrews, Lee Roy Andrews and Ryan Ira Andrews, of the High Prairie area are scheduled for trial on Feb. 15, 2022 on separate charges.
Elizabeth Andrews is charged with three counts of unauthorized sell/buy fish.
Lee Andrews is charged with two counts of unauthorized sell/buy fish.
Ryan Andrews is charged with three counts of unauthorized sell/buy fish.
Louis Robert Bellrose is scheduled for trial from Jan. 24-28 in Edmonton provincial court.
He faces about 20 charges, including unauthorized buy/sell fish and unlawfully possess fish that have been combined from High Prairie, Edmonton, Stettler and Morinville for the single trial.
They are among 33 individuals from High Prairie, Faust, Slave Lake, and other Alberta communities, facing 80 charges under the General Fisheries [Alberta] Regulations by Alberta Fish and Wildlife.
Charges include the unlawful sale, purchase and possession of fish, including lake whitefish and walleye.
The other people charged reside in Morinville, Edmonton, Vegreville, Bashaw, Castor and Halkirk.
Alberta Fish and Wildlife announced the charges Jan. 23, 2020 after concluding a two-year undercover investigation focused on the trafficking of fish in northern and central Alberta.
The investigation began when officers received information alleging that unlawful trafficking of fish was occurring in the High Prairie and Faust areas.
Officers began an undercover investigation in November 2017. The investigation revealed a network of illegal killers and buyers of fish.
There is no commercial fishery in Alberta and Métis/Treaty harvesting rights allow for personal subsistence use only.
The final undercover buy on Jan. 23 resulted in the seizure of a 2002 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 truck, four gill nets, five fish tubs and gill netting equipment.
During the course of the investigation it was estimated that approximately 12,000 pounds of fish were allegedly illegally killed and subsequently trafficked from Lesser Slave Lake and Winagami Lake.
All fish that were seized during the operation will be distributed to people in need throughout Alberta.
Any unregulated trade in fish and wildlife helps fuel black market demand, which could lead to increased poaching and pressure on fish and wildlife populations.
The penalty for trafficking fish is a maximum $100,000 and one-year incarceration per count.