Michael D. Hayden, Jr., age 41, of Tilghman Island, Maryland, was arrested on Tuesday on charges of witness tampering and retaliation in connection with an investigation of felony Lacey Act violations related to the illegal harvesting of striped bass from the Chesapeake Bay.The typical fines and/or jail sentences rarely assessed on Maryland are usually so minor that it would hardly be a smart move to try to intimidate a witness to escape prosecution.
The charges were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Robert G. Dreher, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division; Regional Special Agent in Charge Honora Gordon of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement; and Joseph P. Gill, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
“Stealing striped bass and intimidating witnesses are crimes against our natural resources and against the citizens of Maryland,” said Department of Natural Resources Secretary Joseph P. Gill. “We are grateful for the partnership of law enforcement agencies and we thank our residents for coming forward and providing information to help us protect the public trust.”
If convicted, Hayden faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each of four counts of witness tampering and witness retaliation. Hayden is scheduled to have an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Baltimore today at 3:00 p.m.
Standard disclaimers apply:
A criminal complaint is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.