Man pleads guilty to illegally selling live Asian Carp - WNEM TV 5

Man pleads guilty to illegally selling live Asian Carp

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David Shane Costner David Shane Costner
Asian carp Asian carp
MIDLAND, MI (WNEM) -

Attorney General Bill Schuette and Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh announced that an Arkansas man arrested in June for illegally possessing and selling live invasive Asian carp has pleaded guilty to twelve felonies. 

The conviction stems from an incident in Midland, Mich. where the man tried to sell the carp to undercover DNR investigators.

David Shane Costner, 42, of Harrisburg, Arkansas, has admitted to possessing and selling over one hundred live grass carp, a type of invasive Asian carp. The fish were transported and sold from tanks housed in a semi-truck furnished by parent company Farley's Arkansas Pondstockers. 

Authorities said Costner traveled around the state, conducting sales of the illegal carp from store parking lots. The trucks also contained live fish species permitted under state law, including channel catfish, largemouth bass and fathead minnows. On May 16, authorities said Costner sold two of the live grass carp to undercover DNR investigators in Midland. 

"If destructive Asian carp enter our waterways, the results will be devastating for the Great Lakes ecology & economy," said Schuette.  "We must be aggressive to protect Michigan's tourism and sport-fishing industries from this dangerous threat."

Grass carp, which are herbivorous and could potentially remove all vegetation from a body of water at the expense of native species, have been illegal to possess in Michigan for decades. Creagh said the DNR has been aggressively monitoring traffic in restricted species since the threat of Asian carp entering the Great Lakes became apparent.

Costner pleaded guilty to the following charges before Judge Jonathan Lauderbach in Midland's 42nd Circuit Court on Sept. 24:

  • Ten counts of possession of an illegal species, a felony punishable by two years in prison and a fine of $2,000-$20,000 for each violation; and,
  • Two counts of selling an illegal species, a felony punishable by two years in prison and a fine of $2,000-$20,000 for each violation

Costner is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Lauderbach on Nov. 1 at 2:00 p.m.

The DNR asks that any citizens who are aware of the trade or movement of any restricted species of fish in Michigan are asked to call them at 800-292-7800.

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