Court sets Edmonton trial date for alleged High Prairie fish poacher

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A High Prairie man charged in connection with a major illegal fish-poaching operation is set to go to trial in June 7 in Edmonton.

Louis Robert Bellrose is scheduled for trial June 7-11 in Edmonton provincial court.

He is charged with one count of unlawfully possess fish and 11 counts of unauthorized buying and selling fish.

Five charges against Bellrose were dropped May 17 in High Prairie provincial court.

Crown prosecutor Kelly Payne requested the judge withdraw two counts of unauthorized buying and selling fish and one count of unauthorized buying of fish laid by Alberta Fish and Wildlife in Edmonton.

The Crown also withdrew two High Prairie charges of failing to comply with terms of a fishing licence and failing to carry a fishing licence while fishing.

Bellrose still faces other charges.

Alberta Fish and Wildlife announced the charges Jan. 23, 2020 after concluding a two-year undercover investigation focused on trafficking fish in northern and central Alberta.

Bellrose is among 33 people from the High Prairie, Faust, Slave Lake areas and other Alberta communities facing at total of 80 charges under the General Fisheries [Alberta] Regulations.

The other people charged are from Morinville, Edmonton, Vegreville, Bashaw, Halkirk and Castor.

It is alleged the fish netted were primarily in Lesser Slave Lake east of High Prairie and Winagami Lake northwest of High Prairie under the guise of Metis and Treaty domestic fishing rights.

Charges include the unlawful sale, purchase and possession of fish, including lake whitefish and walleye.

During the course of the investigation, it was estimated that about 12,000 pounds of fish were illegally killed and subsequently trafficked from the two lakes.

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