LAWFUEL- The Law Newswire – A Garden Grove man was charged today with violating the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act by stabbing a California sea lion which had to be euthanized.
Hai Nguyen, 24, was named today in a criminal information filed this morning in United States District Court. Nguyen is charged with a misdemeanor count of illegally taking and attempting to kill a marine mammal.
On July 27, Nguyen was fishing from a dock on the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach. The sea lion, which had been swimming in the water near the dock and may have been interfering with Nguyen’s fishing, approached the dock, getting close enough so that Nguyen could reach down from the dock and stab the animal.
Witnesses in the area summoned the Newport Beach Police Department, which arrested Nguyen. Animal control officers were later able to trap the sea lion, which was transported to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach. Doctors at that facility examined the sea lion and determined that its wounds were so severe that it had to be euthanized.
Nguyen will be summoned to appear for an arraignment in September. The violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act alleged in the information carries a maximum statutory penalty of one year in federal prison and a $20,000 fine.
This case was investigated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Law Enforcement, and the Newport Beach Police Department.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Craig H. Missakian
Public Integrity and Environmental Crimes Section
Release No. 07-107