Cowart Seafood, Inc. Officers Charged with Illegal Seafood Conspiracy and Firearms Violation

From:  News Release   1/20/17   GCN

Gulfport, Miss – Lonnie M. Ray and Shelley H. Ray, the principal officers of Cowart
Seafood, Inc., of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, have been indicted on charges which include
conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, announced U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis; Acting
Assistant Director Manny Antonaras with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration; Special Agent in Charge Louis Santiago with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service;
Keith Davis with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, Office of Marine Patrol; and
Resident Agent in Charge Jason Denham with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives. The Lacey Act makes it unlawful to sell in interstate commerce any fish taken in
violation of state law.

Lonnie Ray, the president of Cowart Seafood, Inc., and Shelley Ray, the company’s
secretary/treasurer, were also charged with individual Lacey Act violations, namely, the sale of
red drum in interstate commerce to Kenney Seafood, Inc., Slidell, Louisiana on March 20, 2015,
and the sale of red drum and spotted seatrout in interstate commerce to the New Orleans Fish
House, New Orleans, Louisiana on May 12, 2015.

In addition, Lonnie Ray was charged with   llegal possession of a short-barreled shotgun. Both defendants made their initial appearance earlier today before the Honorable Robert H. Walker, United States Magistrate Judge, at the federal courthouse in Gulfport.