A fisherman's tip on Snake River sturgeon poaching last month led to over $5,000 in fines and jail time for five Washington men last week.
Keo Manivanh, 20, and Bounsom Manivanh, 26, of Seattle, and Philip Doornick, 20, Jae Yoo, 19, and Minh Pham, 17, of Pullman all plead guilty on May 17 to first and second degree misdemeanor charges of exceeding the possession and size limits on sturgeon and failing to have required fishing licenses or sturgeon catch record cards.
The five entered their pleas in Whitman County District Court.
Keo Manivanh was also charged with obstructing justice for providing false information. He was booked into custody, due to four outstanding warrants, including one for fishing for salmon during closed season. He was sentenced to spend 90 days in jail and pay $2,000 at last week's court appearance.
Whitman County District Court Judge David Frazier also sentenced Bounsom Manivanh, who also had a criminal history, to 30 days in jail and $1,500 in fines.
The three Pullman men served one day in jail and paid $600 each in fines.
The May 4 incident occurred just below Lower Granite Dam on the Whitman County side of the Snake River. The five men had 15 sturgeon between 21 and 24 inches in size in their possession. No more than one sturgeon, between 48 and 60 inches, can be retained per angler per day on the Snake River. Sturgeon are highly susceptible to over-fishing because they reproduce later in their life-cycle than other fish.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officer Jim Nelson of Pomeroy made the arrests after receiving a call from the Washington State Patrol, who had been notified of the situation by a fisherman in the area. Nelson called for and received back-up during the arrests from the Garfield County Sheriff's office.
"We would not have been able to make this case without the call from that alert and responsive fisherman," Nelson said.