August 29, 2013
Based on an intensive investigation dubbed Operation Oakland Abalone Syndicate, California game wardens arrested 13 suspects in Oakland and Sacramento for harvesting sport caught abalone and possession for commercial sale. It is illegal to harvest wild abalone for commercial sale anywhere in California.
Suspects arrested were Chinh Quan Le, 60, Khoa Dang Nguyen, 40, Hung Ngoc Quoc Vo, 41 and Toi Van Nguyen, 48. All four men are from Oakland and all four had previous abalone poaching convictions. In addition, wardens arrested Hai Van Ha, 43, Duoc Van Nguyen, 48 and Nhan Trong Le, 46, all also of Oakland, and Andy Phan, 47, of Fairfield and Charlie Le, 55, of Alameda. In Sacramento officers arrested Dung Van Nguyen, 40, Hiep Ho, 46, Hung Van Le, 42 and Tho Than Phan, 59.
“Unless it is stopped, poaching will degrade California’s abalone population over time,” said CDFW’s Capt. David Bess. “It ultimately affects the honest, sport abalone harvesters who follow the laws.”
Based upon surveillance, game wardens allege the men conspired to profit from the sale of abalone with a black market network of buyers in the Bay Area and Sacramento.
Game wardens wish to express appreciation for the honest abalone divers’ patience with abalone report card requirements and abalone checkpoints. Both were an integral part of the investigation. The suspects face charges ranging from felony conspiracy to multiple poaching-related violations.