Early last week, Alaska Dispatch questioned why an Oregon man suspected of committing a string of commercial fishing crimes in Alaska over several years was only charged with crimes from only one of the outings.
It appears the government was merely waiting for its chance to float the case to a grand jury for review. On Friday, Freddie Joe Hankins, who was previously charged only by complaint, was indicted by a grand jury on six counts. The grand jury found that on two additional dates -- April 20, 2007 and May 26, 2007 -- Hankins commercially fished out of bounds for sablefish and halibut and lied about it. Previously he had only faced charges for a fishing trip on Sept. 4, 2006.
During the outings, Hankins was operating a boat owned by Arne Fuglvog, a former fisheries aide to U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski who quit his job after similar crimes he committed were made public.
Hankins will be formally made aware of the new charges at an arraignment scheduled to take place Tuesday.
He's accused of making false statements and creating false records to cover up the illegal harvests.