Crime & Courts

Wrangell father and son plead guilty to illegal halibut fishing

Federal prosecutors announced Tuesday that a father and son from Wrangell pleaded guilty to charges that they misreported where they'd caught thousands of pounds of halibut in Alaska waters.

Charles "Chuck" Petticrew Sr., 70, and Charles "Jeff" Petticrew Jr., 42, were arraigned and pleaded guilty in Juneau federal court to Lacey Act violations committed in the Gulf of Alaska. The federal act bans the trade of illegally sourced wildlife.

Petticrew and his son submitted "false locations for the statistical areas where halibut were caught on federal IFQ forms, Alaska Department of Fish and Game Longline Fishery Logbook entries and halibut tickets," according to elder Petticrew's charges. The logbook and tickets were submitted to Fish and Game, prosecutors said.

Petticrew Sr. fished in the Yakutat area, but his permit called for fishing in the middle of the state's southern coast, closer to Kodiak Island. The illegal fishing occurred from June 2010 to September 2013.

The father and son allegedly faked records relating to about 4,000 pounds of halibut, which federal prosecutors valued at $23,375. They were charged earlier in October.

Petticrew Sr. pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy while his son admitted to a misdemeanor Lacey Act violation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack S. Schmidt said the felony carries a maximum prison sentence of five years and a $250,000 fine; Petticrew Jr.'s lesser charge carries a possible penalty of a year behind bars and a $100,000 fine.

As part of their plea agreements, the men have agreed to pay $100,000 between them. Petticrew Sr. will pay the majority of the fine, $90,000. The government recommended the father-son duo be placed on probation for five years, Schmidt said.

The Petticrews also agreed to install and pay for monitoring technology for their fishing vessel, Arlice. It's ultimately up to the court to decide what penalties are imposed.

Jerzy Shedlock

Jerzy Shedlock is a former reporter for Alaska Dispatch News. He left the ADN in 2017.