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Florida Fisherman Pleads Guilty To Bombing Fish-eating Dolphins

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PANAMA CITY, Florida -- Acting United States Attorney Thomas F. Kirwin, Northern District of Florida, announced today that Garry Alvin Key, a/k/a, “Alvy Stancle Key, Jr.,” 50, of Panama City, Florida, pled guilty in United States District Court in Panama City to a two-count federal indictment charging him with possession of explosives by a convicted felon and unlawfully taking or attempting to take marine mammals, specifically, dolphins.

The investigation began in May 2008, when Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials received reports that Key was manufacturing pipe bombs and using them to kill dolphins.

Key, a captain of the “WBS” fishing vessel, admitted to the Court that he manufactured pipe bombs and threw them at dolphins in order to scare them away from his fishing lines. Key also admitted to being a convicted felon.

Facts presented during the plea hearing revealed that on August 16, 2008, authorities stopped the “WBS” as it was heading out to sea for a fishing trip. Key was onboard the vessel and serving as captain. A search of the vessel revealed galvanized end caps, black powder, and fuses. Key admitted the items were his and explained how he used those items, along with pipes, to manufacture and detonate pipe bombs.

Sentencing has been set for March 25, 2009, before the Honorable Richard A. Smoak. Key faces a maximum penalty of ten years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release for possession of explosives, and a maximum penalty of one year imprisonment, a $20,000 fine, and one year of supervised release for the attempted taking of a marine mammal.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Patrol Marine Unit, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney J. Ryan Love.

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