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Nenana salmon seller lied about species, indictment alleges

Elizabeth Bluemink

A Nenana resident has been indicted for illegally selling 100 pounds of chum salmon strips while claiming it was king salmon.

The two-count grand jury indictment filed last week says that Willis Maxon, 52, sold an unspecified amount of faux king salmon strips at the Alaska Federation of Natives meeting in 2009 in Anchorage.

Also, between January and August last year, Maxon mailed four large boxes of chum salmon strips identified as king salmon for commercial resale outside of Alaska, the indictment said.

Maxon is accused of negotiating a price of $1,347 for 48 pounds of smoked Yukon River king salmon and $1,250 for 50 pounds of smoked king salmon. In both cases, the salmon was actually chum.

The two counts against Maxon are false identification of wildlife and false identification of fish species sold in interstate commerce. The maximum penalty for those violations is five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, but the actual penalties in false-advertising cases are usually pegged to the value of the items sold.

Maxon did not have a listed phone number and could not be reached for comment.

His arraignment has been scheduled for March 25 in federal District Court in Fairbanks.

Reach Elizabeth Bluemink at or 257-4317.