News from the DNR Office of Communications

Maryland Natural Resources Police Blotter

Queen Anne’s County – On March 19 at 1:00 a.m., The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) charged Joseph Walker Benton ,21, of Centreville, with removing oysters from an oyster sanctuary, operating a vessel without proper navigational lights, possessing oysters on a vessel more than 2 hours after sunset and two counts of catching oysters without a commercial license.

NRP officers received a tip from a waterman that a person was poaching oysters from the Sawmill oyster sanctuary located in Prospect Bay at night on March 18. Officers set up a surveillance detail on the Sawmill Sanctuary and observed a vessel not displaying navigational lights dredging for oysters. NRP identified Benton as the operator of the vessel as it docked in the Kent Narrows harbor. Officers seized five and a half bushel of oysters from the vessel and returned them to the sanctuary.

Incidentally, Benton was being investigated by NRP for a March 3 incident in which he was observed oystering and presented a oystering license to NRP which proved to be invalid.

A trial has been set for May 4 in the District Court of Maryland for Queen Anne’s County.

Kent County – On March 19, 2011 at 2:30 p.m., NRP charged Travis Lee Cannan, 20, and Benjamin Leonard Reihl, 23, both of Rockhall, with harvesting fish with a drift gill net without a commercial license and possession of undersize white perch.

The charges originated after NRP received a tip from watermen that unlicensed people were gill netting fish in the area of Skinner Landing Wharf. Officers located Cannan and Reihl at Skinner Wharf Landing taking 1,150 pounds of white perch from a gill net that had been set in Queenstown Creek. The two men had twenty undersize white perch in their possession. Reihl and Cannan both admitted to not having a commercial license.

A trial has been set for May 17 in the District Court of Maryland for Kent County.

Garrett County – On March 15, 2011 at 6:15 p.m, NRP charged Brian William Cromer, 31, of Swanton, with driving under the influence of alcohol, driving while impaired by alcohol, driving while impaired by drugs and alcohol and driver consuming an alcoholic beverage on a highway. Cromer was stopped on Savage River Road near Savage River Reservoir. His trial date is to be determined.

  March 22, 2011

Contact: Sgt. A.A. Windemuth
410-260-8850 office | 410-713-8449 cell

The Maryland Natural Resources Police is the enforcement arm of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). With an authorized strength of 247 officers and a dedicated staff of civilian and volunteer personnel, the NRP provide a variety of services in addition to conservation and boating law enforcement duties throughout the State of Maryland. These services include homeland security, search and rescue, emergency medical services, education, information and communications services on a round the clock basis. NRP is the only police force aside from the Maryland State Police that has statewide jurisdiction.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at Learn more at