MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Three members of an Ely family have been charged by federal authorities with conspiracy to illegally traffic fish in from Canada.

The United States Attorney’s office says Robert Dale Latourell, 50, Melinda May Latourell, 45, and Melissa Ann Latourell, 45, all violated the Lacey Act, a century-old law that outlaws the international trafficking of wildlife.

According to the criminal charges, the Latourells own and operate a report on Moose Lake inside of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, as well as run a motorized portage service at Prairie Portage.

They’re accused of using their United States Forest Service contract to access Canada’s protected Quetico Provincial Park, and then use seine nets to illegally harvest cisco fish, which are also called tullibee or lake herring.

The Latourells are then accused of selling the fish to vendors and stores to be sold as bait across northern Minnesota.

A court appearance has not been scheduled yet for the three defendants.

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