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Two Men Sentenced Following OSP Investigation into Unlawful Taking of Flat Abalone
01/21/2010
Sergeant David Anderson
Oregon State Police
Fish & Wildlife Division
Office: (503) 934-0338
 
Scott Groth
Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife
Office: (541) 888-5515

Photograph links valid for 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
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An investigation by the Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife Division Special Investigations Unit (SIU) led to the conviction and sentencing of two Gold Beach-area men related to activities surrounding the unlawful taking of Flat Abalone along the southern Oregon coast. One of the men convicted, KEVIN LEE HIERSCHE, age 51, was the only person in Oregon to be issued a permit by the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) to harvest wild Flat Abalone. He was also the only person legally allowed to commercially harvest wild abalone along North America's west coast.
 
"Mr. Hiersche was entrusted with a tremendous privilege, but greed and temptation led him to violate that trust in the worst possible way," said OSP SIU Sergeant David Anderson. The OSP SIU is primarily responsible for conducting in-depth and complex investigations of individuals or groups in violation of the fish and wildlife laws and regulations, with specific emphasis on those violators that are flagrant or illegally commercializing our state's fish and wildlife resources.
 
In March 2009, OSP investigators served a search warrant at HIERSCHE's residence and seized evidence including personal log and invoice books. Thirty pounds of frozen, vacuum sealed Flat Abalone was also seized that HIERSCHE and DANIEL WILLIAM WRIGHT, age 40, illegally harvested in 2009 without a valid permit. WRIGHT assisted as a ‘tender' while HIERSCHE dove from his boat named the "Jerry Lee".
 
HIERSCHE admitted to investigators he reported false harvest poundage, and a review of seized personal log books revealed he exceeded annual allowable harvest amounts in 7 of the 8 years he had a permit.
 
In August 2009, a Curry County Grand Jury indicted HIERSCHE on 44 misdemeanor and felony counts and WRIGHT on five felony counts.
 
This month, both men entered guilty pleas and received the following sentences in Curry County Circuit Court:
 
HIERSCHE
  • One count of Unlawful Taking of Flat Abalone Closed Season (class C felony)
  • Two counts of Unlawful Taking of Flat Abalone Closed Season (class A misdemeanor)
  • One count of No Wholesalers License (class A misdemeanor)
  • One count of Falsifying Business Records (class A misdemeanor)
 
He was sentenced to:
  • 40 days in jail
  • 36 months probation
  • 120 hours community service
  • $21,000 in fines
  • Pay $18,538 in restitution to ODFW
  • Ordered to have no contact with WRIGHT
 
WRIGHT
  • One count of Unlawful Taking of Flat Abalone Closed Season (class C felony)
 
He was sentenced to:
  • 10 days in jail
  • 18 months probation
  • $2,500 fine
  • Pay $5,000 restitution to ODFW
  • Pay $800 attorney fees
  • Ordered to have no contact with HIERSCHE