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Oct 30, 2012

National monument not the place to go fishing; unless you want to get arrested

Melvin Marquez

A young Chunox fisherman has reeled in two charges after he was caught illegally fishing inside the Half Moon Caye National Monument. While the charges were filed by Fisheries officials from back in April, it wasn’t until today that nineteen year old Melvin Marquez appeared before Magistrate Adolph Lucas to answer to charges for fishing in a National Monument and illegal entry into the National Monument without a permit.  When asked why he was just being taken to court, Fisheries Prosecutor, Immanuel Westby, explained that Marquez had been avoiding the police since the incident. The Fisheries Act, however, allows the department a period of one year to bring an accused person before the court. So the hearing proceeded and Marquez quickly pleaded guilty to the two charges. He was spared prison time and Magistrate Lucas fined him two hundred dollars for illegal entry into Half Moon Caye, which is to be paid by November thirtieth. He was also fined five hundred dollars for the illegal fishing, which is to be paid by the end of January 2013. Court records showed that Marquez owes an additional four hundred dollars from a previous fine, but Magistrate Lucas gave him an extension until the end of January to pay. He faces up to eleven months in prison if he defaults on payment of the three fines.

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