UPDATE: Fishing Capt. Pleads Guilty To Possession of Explosives to Scare Dolphins Away

Fishing Capt. Pleads Guilty To Possession Of Explosives, Attempted Taking Of Marine Mammals

Acting United States Attorney Thomas F. Kirwin, Northern District of Florida, announced Thursday that 50-year-old Garry Alvin Key, or, “Alvy Stancle Key, Jr.,” of Panama City, pled guilty in United States District Court in Panama City to a two-count federal indictment charging him with possession of explosives by a convicted felon and unlawfully taking or attempting to take marine mammals, specifically, dolphins.

The investigation began in May 2008, when Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials received reports that Key was manufacturing pipe bombs and using them to kill dolphins.

Key, a captain of the “WBS” fishing vessel, admitted to the Court that he manufactured pipe bombs and threw them at dolphins in order to scare them away from his fishing lines.

Key also admitted to being a convicted felon.

Facts presented during the plea hearing revealed that on August 16, 2008, authorities stopped the “WBS” as it was heading out to sea for a fishing trip. Key was onboard the vessel and serving as captain.

A search of the vessel revealed galvanized end caps, black powder, and fuses. Key admitted the items were his and explained how he used those items, along with pipes, to manufacture and detonate pipe bombs.

Sentencing has been set for March 25, 2009, before the Honorable Richard A. Smoak.

Key faces a maximum penalty of ten years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release for possession of explosives, and a maximum penalty of one year imprisonment, a $20,000 fine, and one year of supervised release for the attempted taking of a marine mammal.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Patrol Marine Unit, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney J. Ryan Love.
Posted: 8:32 PM Jan 14, 2009
More details have emerged in the case of a Panama City fishing boat captain who allegedly used bombs to scare away dolphins.

Garry Alvin Key faces sentencing March 25th after pleading guilty to two charges on Wednesday.

On August 16th, federal officers boarded Key's boat, the "WBS."

They say they found items needed to make pipe bombs. Items including pipe caps, two 1-pound cans of black powder, and fuses were uncovered.

Key admits to making three-inch pipe bombs and using them to keep dolphins away from his fishing lines.

Dolphins can be a problem for fishermen by stealing their bait to taking the fish caught on the lines.

About a dozen such bombs were assembled

The potential penalties include up to 11 years in prison and $270,000 in fines. The pleas cold result in a reduced sentence.

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