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.”
|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.
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944