Certain employees and associates with Tradewinds Charters of Depoe Bay appeared in Lincoln County Circuit Court Thursday to face charges of racketeering, theft and wildlife offenses, the case brought by Oregon State Police. Defendant Dustin Couch was not charged with racketeering, but faces 9 counts of theft and 4 counts of Wildlife Offenses. Defendant Roman Smolcic’s photo was not available.
Tradewinds Charters, by the way, has absolutely no legal or business connections with Newport Tradewinds, another charter company, just down the road in Newport.
Friday Update: Oregon State Police say that they’re looking for any customers of the Tradewinds Charter Service of Depoe Bay who received only a small certificate for a fishing license that was not a fishing license. OSP wants to contact former customers so they can tell investigators how they remember the exchange between themselves and boat captains and deck hands when they received the pieces of paper that were not actual fishing licenses.
The judge ordered Tradewinds owner Tim Harmon to not make any transfers of any business assets, not to sell any fishing licenses in his possession and to remain in Oregon, among other restrictions.
The defendants were ordered to appear back into court on August 17th.
From Oregon State Police:
The Oregon State Police executed a search warrant on the company’s premises. The company was under investigation for a variety of theft charges based on various allegations. This included allegations the company had charged customers for daily angling licenses but never purchased these licenses from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife nor provided an actual license to customers.
On July 2, 2015, the company owners, employees and some of the charter boat captains were indicted by a grand jury on the following felony and misdemeanor charges:
Tim HARMON, age 67 (of Lake Oswego), Julie HARMON, age 52 (of Lake Oswego), Eva HARMON, age 24 (of Lincoln City), Noelie ACHEN, age 30 (of Depoe Bay) and Dustin COUCH, age 30 (of Depoe Bay) were all indicted for Racketeering – 2 counts, Theft in the First Degree – 4 counts, Aggravated Theft in the First Degree – 2 counts, Conspiracy to Commit Theft in the First Degree – 4 counts, Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Theft in the First Degree – 2 counts, Failure to Remit Moneys from License Sales, Conspiracy of Failure to Remit Moneys from License Sales, Assisting Another to Violate Oregon Wildlife Laws, and Conspiracy in Assisting Another to Violate Oregon Wildlife Laws.
Bradley HAIGHT, age 48 (of Depoe Bay), Craig CALKINS, age 45 (of Depoe Bay), Daniel ZIMMERMAN, age 60 (of Depoe Bay), Richard NEWTON, age 67 (of Depoe Bay), and Roman SMOLCIC, age 31(of Lincoln County) were indicted for Racketeering – 2 counts, Conspiracy in Assisting Another to Violate Oregon Wildlife Laws, and Assisting Another to Violate Oregon Wildlife Laws – multiple counts.
On July 8th and July 9th, all above subjects were arrested and lodged at the Lincoln County Jail. This is an ongoing investigation and any inquiries should be made to the Lincoln County District Attorney’s Office. If someone feels they have any information on this investigation or similar incidents they are urged to contact the Oregon State Police – Newport Area Command at 541-265-5354.