Four Men Charged by Marine Patrol with Multiple Violations

Augusta - Two lobster fishermen and two crew members have been arraigned in Hancock County District Court on multiple charges including molesting lobster gear after an investigation conducted by Marine Patrol Officer Rustin Ames.

Walter Foster, 56 of Castine, and Nicholas Wood, 22 of Penobscot were issued summonses after Marine Patrol received a complaint from Stockton Springs harvester William Nichols that someone was cutting his traps.

Also charged as a result of the investigation were Wood's crew members Samuel K. Stearns of Penobscot and Nicholas Jennings of Castine.

An investigation followed the initial complaint and revealed that Foster, Wood and the two crew members had cut Nichols traps on numerous occasions between August 2018 and October 2018.

Each was charged with molesting lobster gear, a Class D Crime that that could result in a $2,000 fine and up to a year in prison. The violation also requires the court to order the person to pay the owner of the traps an amount equal to twice the value of the traps lost.

According to the investigation, Nichols lost more than 71 traps valued at $3,692 for a total restitution value of $7,384.

Wood was also charged with operating a motorboat with imprudent speed and distance, criminal mischief, criminal conspiracy, violation of a condition of release, littering, and lobster fishing without a proper license class. Foster was also charged with criminal conspiracy, criminal mischief and littering, while Stearns and Jennings were charged with criminal mischief and littering.

"These are major violations and Im proud of Officer Ames for conducting a thorough investigation which took place over months," said Marine Patrol Colonel Jay Carroll.

Both Wood and Foster have received notice that their licenses have been administratively suspended for three years. While Wood's took effect March 29, Fosters suspension is currently stayed until the completion of a hearing.