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Maine brothers accused of poaching baby eels out on bail

HAMPTON FALLS - Two men from Maine accused of poaching eels in New Hampshire have been released from jail and will be arraigned next month after their arrests last week.

Matthew Kinney, 29, of Bremen, and his brother, Justin, 35, of Mount Vernon, have posted bail and are scheduled to be arraigned June 13 in the 10th Circuit Court, Seabrook District Division.

The two were arrested Friday after Fish and Game officials received a tip that the brothers were illegally catching baby American eels in the Hampton Falls River.

When conservation officers attempted to arrest them, authorities said Matthew Kinney assaulted an officer and then fled on foot with one handcuff on his wrist. He was found hours later at a nearby hotel.

His brother, Justin, also attempted to run but was quickly caught.

Harvesting baby eels is illegal in New Hampshire and other states on the East Coast, with the exception of Maine and South Carolina.

Authorities said poachers often catch the baby eels illegally for sale to foreign markets, where they are then raised and sold for meat. The price per pound in places like Asia can run anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000, authorities said.

Matthew Kinney is charged with simple assault, disobeying a conservation officer, resisting arrest, taking American eels less than 6 inches long, and taking without a harvest permit.

Justin Kinney is charged with disobeying a conservation officer, providing false information to law enforcement, hindering apprehension, taking American eels less than 6 inches long and taking without a harvest permit.


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