Charges Dismissed for Canal Striper Poachers

As reported by the Cape Cod Times, all charges against two men cited for poaching striped bass at the Cape Cod Canal will be dismissed if they forfeit their fishing equipment and pay $1,200 to cover court costs.

Jose Rodrigues, 47, and Fabio Sampaio, 40, were both charged with catching over the limit, failure to display fish for inspection upon request and aiding a marine fisheries violation.

Fishermen are allowed to keep one striped bass per day that is at least 28 inches in length. Police said they found Rodrigues, Sampaio, and Sampaio’s brother in possession of 12 striped bass, weighing more than 250 pounds.

  1. Frank ORourke

    Same thing happens in every court in this commonwealth multiple times everyday. I would bet the da’s office did not think much of the case, and work at it from that perspective. CWOF-continued without a finding, as a resultnof criminal charges againdt domeone, is an insult against law abiding citizens everywhere!

    Reply
    • Maxx

      Its kind of a slap in the face to the ones of us that abide by the rules and take our limit and only our limit

      Reply
    • Raymond Zienowicz

      If they were illegal Mass. doesn’t want them to have a record so they can be deported.

      Reply
    • Glenn S

      I HAVE LIVED THROUGH THE TOUGH TIMES OF STRIPER FISHING. I STARTED IN THE LATE FIFTIES AS A CHILD AND SAW THE EFFECT OF UNBRIDAL COMMERCIAL WASTE
      THE SHUTDOWN IN THE LAST 80″S . THAN THE REBIRTH OF THE STRIPER FISHERY.
      NOW WE ARE GOING THROUGH A CONSTANT DOWN SWING SINCE 2013 . COMMERCIAL GUYS ALL ALONG THE EAST COAST ARE GETTING CAUGHT OVER LIMIT OR CLOSED SEASON VIOLATIONS WITH MIMINAL FINES. 98% OF THE FISH I CATCH I RELEASE. REECREATIONAL FISHERMAN ALSO SHOULD NOT BE ABOVE THE LAW. REMEMBER YOU CAN FEED YOUR FAMILY BUT NOT YOUR WALLET.

      Reply
    • Evan J. Williams

      What a great message to give slimy critters (and I’m not talking about the fish). Do whatever you damn well please and you’ll only have to give away your equipment (which you probably stole) and be levied a fine you probably will never have to pay by claiming poverty and oppression by the “man”. Oh and BTW, are they citizens or “illegal” immigrants?

      Reply
  2. John Lynch

    Why should these charges be dismissed? The forfeiture of equipment and sometimes boats and vehicles are punishments available to the court. But these men should have this on their records so that, if they violate fish and game laws again, their punishment can be enhanced.

    Reply
    • John

      Thats exactly right. Their equipment could have been seized under fedetral forfeiture laws immediately, and fines could have been imposed under a plea bargain without outright dismissal of charges.

      Reply
    • Geoff

      Not only will they lose their gear, they pay $1200 in court costs, and get their license suspended for a period of no less than one year. It stays on their record regardless of the dismissed charges and if they are caught fishing without their license, they will face stiffer fines.

      All is not forgotten. Same as when you get pulled over and let off with a warning, the PD can see that in their system!

      Reply
    • Phil

      It will still appear on the record available to law enforcement and the courts as a CWOF, IF that’s the court’s finding. A CWOF is imposed for a defined period, and can be reopened for that period, and a sentence imposed, if, for instance, there is another violation. At the end of the defined period, if there are not reopened, the charges are dismissed. Usually, defendants have to “admit to sufficient facts for a finding of guilty”. A straight dismissal however, is just that. The charges and dismissal show up, but are legally meaningless. The media tends to use legal terminology interchangeably when it isn’t.
      Regarding pleas, back in the day, cynics like myself used to say: ” if you’ll admit to the disorderly conduct, the DA will probably drop the homicide charge….”

      Reply
    • The Rev

      No matter if dismissed or guilty, it always stays on your record..get caught again and oh boy..

      Reply
  3. Gregory Campbell

    Im puzzled by the leniency of this verdict. Can someone please explain how exactly you are caught with 10, 15#-20# striped bass and basically get a slap on the hand? I feel a $1000.00 per illegal fish, loss of license for 10 years, and all associated gear, tackle, and vehicle used during the act would be a more appropriate sentence. I hope de’s two’s gets a dose of Canal karma!

    Reply
    • Ed aka (Newfie)

      what’s the difference in catching over your limit, then to kill a moose, or deer without a license ,you lose everything that u use, truck, car, boat, gun, huge fine ,and sometimes jailed !whatever you use to catch what u poached ,should be same rules all around ! Don’t give a good god damn who you are !

      Reply
  4. John

    Pay a fine of $1200.00 and surrender your rod and reel . What kind of deterraent
    is that not to poach.

    Reply
  5. John Mondoux

    Pay a fine of $1200.00 and surrender your rod and reel . What kind of deterraent
    is that not to poach.

    Reply
  6. Fisherdad

    this is wrong they should lose their gear and the hunting and fishing privileges for life they new what they were doing

    Reply
  7. steve-o

    So, why are the charges dropped, again?
    They should lose the gear, pay the fine, and STILL face the charges.
    They were caught red – handed

    Reply
  8. David Allan

    Baffling decision. Not tried and found guilty in a court of law, but fined anyway? Bonkers!

    Reply
    • John

      If both parties agree its done. They could have said I want a trial and the fines would have to wait until conviction. The equipment could still be seized immediately under federal forfeiture laws. If found not guilty at trial, they would apply for return of the seized equipment.

      Reply
  9. Steven Zanussi

    Its a big crime! They will do it again someday!your court system sucks in ma come to ny, hang you by your balls?

    Reply
  10. Mib

    So with this little bit of information it would appear ridiculous to obey the law if your money gets you no record. Can only hope there’s more to this story and poaching is treated seriously.

    Reply
  11. Norman

    Poaching should be considered a “Felony” to give the crime some bite. Slap on the hand will just cause them to do it again, and again. They got caught one day, how many days did they get away with it and sold there catch illegally to a Restarant or fish buyer conducting business under the table.

    Reply
  12. Rob Thorpe

    Because the people making these decisions are lawyers not fisherman and don’t understand the extent of the crime – they just think ‘oh it’s only a few fish’ – and for lack of a better term believe ‘they have bigger fish to fry’ – they just want what is in their view a minimal issue off the docket as quickly as possible.

    Reply
  13. Jim Fitzpatrick

    Sounds like a business opportunity. Catch and sell striped bass until you get caught, pay a small fine and do it again.

    Reply
  14. Larry C

    Wow…. Just when you think the law is cracking down on poaching, the law does a complete 180 and dismisses the charges in favor of a trivial penalty…. They caught them with 12, I am sure they were keeping fish all summer that they didn’t catch them with…..

    Reply
  15. Norman

    Let me ask a question;

    “Isn’t it a federal crime as the species is protected under federal laws”

    Reply
    • Kathleen

      Who is the judge who made this decision? If he/she is elected then it is time to get this judge out of the courts .

      Reply
  16. Bob S

    We have similar crimes here in South Jersey and I’m in favor of community service cleaning up around the jetties and piers. Perhaps one days labor for each infraction spread out over the season under the direction of the Fish and Wildlife people.

    Reply
  17. Mark Sullivan

    Don’t know if I agree with the idea that our criminal justice system is a disgrace or a laughing stock, but this verdict is both.

    Reply
  18. Derrick D La Rue

    I think they should post these guys pictures along the canal bike path so we can keep an eye on them when they come back! I just hope they don’t show up at the canal again!

    Reply
  19. Mad Professor

    Who was the liberal judge and DA? They should be disbarred.

    How about publishing their names so they can be part of the poachers hall of shame

    Reply
  20. Jack Chepren

    This is a case where an “illegal fishing case” is brought to a criminal court that is overwhelmed with criminal cases like, B&E, Robbery, Auto theft, etc. all these cases are sent to a similar disposition all day long. Then along comes an “illegal fishing case” and no one in the court has time for such pettiness. Illegal fishing is a serious environmental issue but only to those who are concerned. All these types of cases should be tried in a special court that deal solely with fishing industry violations. Where people care about the environment !

    Reply
    • Strider

      Agreed! We had slack laws here in Quebec as well until cases stopped being sent through the regular court system. Fines and penalties have increased to the point where they now hurt the perpetrators. It’s not perfect but it is a step in the right direction. Maybe not a deterrent to the diehard poacher in it for profit but certainly to the casual offender.

      Reply
  21. Grady McCormick

    this is an insult to the many of us who value and respect our fisheries.. the fact that these bastards only have to give up their walmart rods and pay a small fine is a complete and utter joke.

    Reply
  22. Dan

    This verdict is why we have so many poachers. I saw poaching happening on the canal at least a dozen times this summer and every time I called natural resources they said they were busy and would check it out when they could. Poaching will not slow down until they have more resources and stronger punishments.

    Reply
  23. Chris Reimann

    This is wrong and so are some of the racist, politicized comments above. Last names, deport, liberal judge to be disbarred? Seen plenty of people with pilgrim blood poach over the years, get over yourselves. People can be greedy, regardless or race or politics. When they get caught, punish them equally.

    Reply
  24. Dave in NH

    What a ridiculous punishment. Guys like them are doing this every day and not getting caught. They actually have suspects and hard evidence this time and still nothing happens to them to deter future poaching. A fine and lost tackle is a joke.

    Reply
  25. Mike T

    Maybe we are all getting worked up over this unnecessarily; it could be another example of fake news! At a minimum, they should lose their fishing licenses for life and have to walk the Canal with a sign that says “I stole fish that you will never catch.” But not having a license probably won’t stop poachers either. Jail time and significant fines are the best deterrents.

    Reply
  26. Trip

    This is a travesty to our fishing community. Not only are these guys repeat offenders they get a hall pass? I see this happening in Montauk in broad daylight. Guys walking fish back to their cars and coming back to the beach again and again. It’s just plain sad and half of them don’t even have a saltwater license

    Reply
  27. Rick Bannerot

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!
    This was the perfect opportunity to send a clear message, oh wait, I guess they did: Open Season on bass. Damn the consequences to the fishery, the livlilhoods of the people who run motels, restaurants, tackle shops, boat dealers, gas stations, deli’s etc. that service the recreational (and commercial fisheries).
    Shaking my head!

    Reply
  28. Antonio F

    What’s the sense of having rules and regulations when people get arrested pay a small fine and to pouch again!?

    Reply
  29. Roman

    What a surprise. Let me guess, because of their nationality? Crooks take care of crooks. Judges are the biggest crooks out there, right next to attorneys. They should all be fired. They should also be held accountable for the decision especially if these people get caught again. Scumbags.

    Reply
  30. c.c

    what a joke our judicial system is.. sick and tired of poachers not being punished to full extent of the law. It should be automatic fines, plea bargins shouldnt be allowed. …I have no problem with taking home a limit, that’s your right as a licenced fishermen. but these assholes over bagging by hundreds of pounds and taking shorts needs to be stopped .

    Reply
  31. Scott O

    At $18 a pound they had $4500 in Striped Bass
    Figure poachers use $50 walmart setups
    X2 poachers =$100

    That’s a $3200 profit Who says crime doesn’t pay?

    Reply
  32. LEO

    THATS WHAT YOU GET WHEN YOU PUT OR ELECT DUMOCRATS IN HIGH OFFICE. THATS RIGHT DUUMOCRATS I KNOW HOW TO SPELL. IF SOME ONE KNOWS HOW TO PUT THEIR PICTURE UP PLEASE DO SO. I BET HOWIE CARR CAN GET THEIR PICTURES.

    Reply
  33. Rich Collins

    I guess it pays to poach. Consider nothing except the $1200 “fine” – that equates to a potential take of $4.80 a pound (considering they had 250 pounds of fish). Sure it was illegal but where is the incentive NOT to poach? If they did 10 trips like this they made out like bandits, even after getting caught. This is disturbing.

    Reply
  34. KV

    Tired of following the rules and watch scum bags do wrong and have no consequences. The next time I go fishing (for example fluking) and I catch 17-17 1/2″ fish that I normally release, I will think twice. Time to stop worrying about morals and getting caught. I see how it all works now.

    Reply
  35. Larry Dupuis

    This shows how DA’s and the court system as a whole can pick and choose when to uphold the laws and when to look the other way. Maybe the DA would not get enough press for the poaching case or maybe the judge needed the time to get one last golf game in before winter, rather than spend it on his job holding criminals responsible for the deeds. The only lesson learned is that laws don’t mean sh-t, and you can get away with anything as long as our judicial system is to busy is to it’s job.

    Reply
  36. Smokin' Joe

    Striped bass are a protected group, some fishermen are of a protected group. Some times you have to let some go . So if you or a peace officer catch a member of that group , too bad, let them go.

    Reply
  37. chris

    when commercial guys do the same thing – and you know some do – its a thousand times more damaging.

    consider goining the Coastal Conservation Association if you want a voice at the policy level as a rec fisherman

    Reply
    • tommy

      Well Mass keeps voting in stupid reps/senator who apponint Judges! you want law followed….vote in people who CARE about America……Don’t you all know…no one is responsable for THIER actions anymore!

      Reply
      • Van

        I totally agree! Caring about America starts with caring for the fish. You run on that and you got my vote!

        Reply
  38. Phil Lee

    I think maybe we could police ourselves better, but we need to have full support of the courts and a dedicated legal staff, (knowing of course that the lawyers and judges reply only to financial rewards to themselves), the convictions, fines and sentences have to be appropriate, and strong! What kind of punishment do you think is in store for those stupid college basketballers caught shoplifting in China last week? End of sermon to the choir!

    Reply
  39. Matt

    The fines should have been greater and lost of fishing equipment just to start !
    I would not allow to even keep 1 fish. Next I would cleaning around the jetties and piers in orange jump suits label poacher on the back of them .

    Reply
  40. john

    I love it that people somehow are trying to blame these poachers getting off on Democrats while the GOP and Trump are dismantling every environmental reg and letting people who violate the few regs left standing off. Soon you’ll be able to poach all the irradiated stripers you like MAGA– Go back to sleep.

    Reply
  41. RozzieBo

    We need due diligence here. If you see something wrong, say something. Everybody carries cell phones these days. Make a call. Take pictures of these POS. Confront them if safe to do so in a way that let’s everyone nearby what’s going on. I’ve been a fisherman/hunter for 60 years. These cretins make me sick. I hate them with a passion. But the dumb ass judge that made this absurd decision is the real enemy to our fisheries and wildlife.

    Reply
    • jeff

      if their names were Smith or Pennington no one would be bitching or assuming they were immigrants or non documented.

      Reply
  42. Winter Blues

    Witnesses claim that the men tried to release them each time they caught a bigger fish, but for some reason, they didn’t swim away!

    Reply
  43. Biff

    Canal needs full time station of EPO literally walking or bike riding the beat checking everyone and everything all the time but no one wants to pay for it. They’re spread too thin as it is. Tired of seeing these things get murdered cutting thru the canal on the way home. People wonder why fisheries shrink all the time

    Reply
  44. Joey

    These guys were wrong regardless but some comments are so racist. Same people calling poachers are illegals. Seriously? Grow up people. Stop this hate. This is like saying all the sexual predators are white male from recent events.

    Reply
  45. Rod Man

    They don’t want to ban them from fishing
    This state is all about money and they want that $10 for that license
    They just created a new source of income
    What are they really doing with the revenue from recreational fishing licenses

    Reply
  46. John

    It’s called catch and release.
    Police catch and DA’s office tells judge to release them
    Too bad they didn’t do that with their “illegal” fish. Maybe the Cape Cod Canal is a Santuary City

    Reply
  47. Frank

    These jerks should have spent a week in jail. Their equipment including vechicle should have been taken. Fined the value of the fish at market price plus a fine which is automaticly taken from their paycheck if their work legally and are here the same. Disgracfull decision from court system.

    Reply
  48. Squid Billy

    No doubt if that happened to a law-abiding American citizen, they would be sitting in jail right now.
    This infraction reeks of Sanctuary State liberalism.
    SNAFU!

    Reply
  49. Henry

    People are just jealous because they can not catch or know to catch and take oversized fishes. PS: we should only punish people with undersized fishes. 3-5 oversized fishes are fine to take home.

    Reply
  50. jordan

    funny how you look at a name and claim they are illegal immigrants they could of been born here and that have nothing to do with poaching. Everyone should be held accountable for their actions no one is above the law.

    Reply
    • jeff

      agreed. no one is going to take a bunch of bigots seriously. They make us all look bad. They are more pissed off about race than the actual poaching. Idiots.

      Reply
  51. Ripper

    It’s not like those fish we’re 27 3/4″!! For those of us who go to great lengths to see that fish are released safely, this is a travesty. It’s close to the time when responsible recreational fishermen will need to take matters into their own hands, since the criminal justice system is clearly neutered.

    Reply
  52. Joe P

    I was there one morning in Sept by herring run and EPO’s were busting someone in the parking lot, that had 3-4 fish laying on the ground. I could see one was definitely short. Was glad to see it. Another day, a Saturday, I looked around at the craziness, women and people that brought their kids fishing. I bet at least half of them did not have a license.

    Reply
  53. Joe Gomes

    Holy moly, they’re fish! $1200 is a lotta money. They go to jail like some of you commented seem to want and it’ll cost US between $30,000 and $60,000 a year. Would that be a smart use of the taxpayer dollars? I don’t think so. Stow yer Puritan desire for punishment and force yourselves to use common sense for once please. Settle down!

    Reply
  54. NOt Again

    First everyone remember the scum bags names who were charged.
    Second Why have EPO or Cops if you break the law in this state you get rewarded.
    Third Keep reporting all these idiots, someday the courts will set and example, hopefully if will not be you .

    Reply
  55. Roy Barlow

    all the replies above are great. all have some truth in their perspective. I don’t know the exact specifics of the law, but jailing them is costly. If they are illegal aliens they should get deported. Who is is to say they can’t buy new fishing gear when they have paid the fines? Where is ICE when you need them? It s not the fact they broke a law. the law is small. They are crimes against nature and federal law. This year I have seen a very large influx of people who don’t know and don’t care about the laws. They don’t care about taking care of the species. I have heard countless other stories from other canal regulars that have had run-ins’ with various foreigners who don’t follow the law. My wife has a state job where she sees how foreigners abuse the system all day. It is allowed because of the socialist democrats in this state. They will ruin the canal as the greatest fishery on the east coast for shore fisherman. The political elite could care less as long as they can buy their 35$ 6ounce striper up in chatham or boston. WE need to stand and make our voices heard. ? Striper march on boston? haha that would get headlines.

    Reply
  56. Flounder

    What I’ve learned from all the comments above. All the violators are illegals or foreigners. All the sexual predators are white Americans.

    Reply
  57. Justin Smith

    So….. the initial article showed more fish than 12, 20 in fact. This article claims there were more than 250lbs of fish. Almost 21lbs per fish, but all were less than 18″ in length, again, according to the original article. To me, and really to anyone that fishes…this whole thing should stink because there are way too many errors. No way an 18″ fish weighs 21lbs, let alone smaller fish. The photos are either fake, the story fake, or whoever the person is writing this can’t get their facts straight. But, it sure did get the ignorant all inflamed making nonsense comments about politics, race, immigration status, etc. You Yankees are something else….

    Reply
  58. Keith schapp

    I guess it doesn’t matter any more I think we should keep as many fish as we want, It’s a free for all why should I buy a licence or respect any laws if no one is going to enforce any laws. That’s a great message to send. That judge should loose his job this will keep happening ever year so get use to it. And you wonder why this country is falling apart no one respects are laws anymore because no one enforces them any more.

    Reply
  59. TBYRD

    Everyone who has commented on this report is obviously concerned about the future of the greatest shore accessible game fish on the Northern East coast. If we all got together with the thousands of other law abiding anglers, and somehow got millions of non-angler citizens on our side, we could Influence our elected officials to join us in the Conservation of our natural resources. If left unchecked ,or in this case, actual criminal acts against fisheries or wildlife are just “dismissed” I feel we will all be to blame when there is nothing left. Stop pointing fingers and placing blame….. If you really care. Do something about it!

    Reply
  60. NJ Dave

    Great opportunity here to disclose what goes on with the shad fishing in the Delaware R near Trenton. :
    Every spring, an Hasidic Jew from
    Lakewood gets written up for excessive
    harvest..like 15 of them-I guess he’s a
    pretty good fisherman. So he goes to court, every spring , & the case is dismissed because this Shit Head claims the law
    infringes on the free practice of his religion..he’s full of shit but the judges are not going to risk the counter suit.
    Case dismissed.

    Reply
  61. Legal eagle

    Forfeture really occurs regarding vehicles, as most have a lien. In many cases forfeture of expensive vehicles in misdemeanor non violent cases has been found to be extreme. We as a society simply do not take poaching cases seriously. The exception is a violation of the Lacy Act which is a federal crime and rarely prosecuted. On a final note, illegal immigrants when caught,as a rule never show up for court. They just become someone else.

    Reply
  62. Dave Tottenham

    The liberal whacko Judge that dismissed the charge should be fined! This is a slap in the face! What a nutty State we live in!

    Reply

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