Maine man charged in 'elver' theft in Hampton Falls facing assault charges for striking conservation officer
Kinney and his brother, Justin, were arrested by Fish & Game officers who were acting on a tip that two people were “dipping” for young eels, known as elvers, along the Hampton Falls River that day around 5 a.m. near Route 1.
When confronted, Matthew Kinney allegedly struck Conservation Officer Josiah Towne three times in the chest while being handcuffed, according to indictments. Kinney was also found to illegally have the drug Lorazepam prosecutors said.
Police from Kensington, Seabrook and Hampton and a New Hampshire State Police helicopter helped conservation officers with searching for Kinney, but ultimately a state police dog tracked him to a rented room nearby, Fish & Game officials said.
The two brothers were each charged in district court with taking American eels less six inches in length and taking American eels without a harvest permit.
Fish & Game officials say they began cracking down on those who have been trying to illegally take elvers from New Hampshire waters in response to the number of poachers going after migrating young eels. The number of incidents is being driven by the price they bring in foreign markets such as Asia, Fish & Game officials said. Estimates have ranged from $2,000 to $3,000 per pound.