An Atlantic County grand jury has indicted three fishermen from Maine who allegedly trapped thousands of undersized eels in Absecon.

Dale Witham, 55, of Medomak, Robert Royce, 63, of West Rockport, and Neal Kennedy, 53, of Thomaston, were indicted on charges of conspiracy, criminal trespassing and the unlawful possession of wildlife for the purpose of sale on May 16.

Members of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish & Wildlife arrested the three in March after discovering they set up nets at Absecon Creek. The fishermen were observed returning to the nets in the middle of the night and arrested.

An investigation led to about 9.7 pounds — or roughly 24,000 undersized American eels — being taken from the water. The estimated retail value is between $15,000 and $25,000.

Joel Landau

Senior copy editor for the Press of Atlantic City. Have worked as a reporter, copy editor and news editor with the paper since 1985. A graduate of the University of Delaware.