KEY WEST (CBSMiami/AP) — A Florida Keys man who made $390,000 by illegally harvesting spiny lobsters from artificial underwater habitats has been caught by the claws of justice.
Manuel Ravelo Jr., 40, of Big Coppitt Key received a 16-month federal prison sentence for the crime. Ravelo had earlier pleaded guilty to illegally harvesting lobsters from about August 2007 to March 2009.
As part of his plea, Ravelo removed 200 artificial lobster habitat sites he had used in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. It’s illegal to use artificial habitat to harvest spiny lobsters and it’s also illegal to alter the seabed of the Keys marine sanctuary. The sanctuary covers some 2,800 square miles.
Authorities say Ravelo made about $390,000 in the scheme, which also involved two wholesale lobster dealers in Key West.
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