Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Local fish vendor charged with two felonies


A Bellevue-based fish vendor accused of mislabeling thousands of pounds of fish as halibut caught in the United States and Russia, and then selling the fish for profit to consumers, was charged with two felony counts in documents filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle Monday.

Kevin D. Steele, president and owner of Mallard Cove Resources, was charged with the false labeling and sale of fish -- a violation of the Lacey Act -- and the introduction of misbranded foods.

Documents filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office allege that over a three-year period beginning in 2003, Steele sold thousands of pounds of fish labeled as halibut -- a prized and expensive fish -- that was actually a species imported from China known as Greenland turbot, also referred to as Greenland halibut.

Steele, the documents said, repackaged the turbot and labeled it as halibut caught in the U.S. or Russia, before selling the fish at prices for the more expensive product.

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