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Makah whalers plead innocent to tribal charges

Neah Bay, Washington (AP) 12-07

Five members of the Makah Tribe have pleaded innocent to tribal charges of participating in an unauthorized whale hunt.

Frankie Gonzales, Wayne Johnson, Andrew Noel, Parker and William Secor Sr., all of Neah Bay, face trial Jan. 22 in Neah Bay. Conviction carries a maximum penalty of a year in tribal jail and a $5,000 fine.

They also are scheduled for trial March 18 in U.S. District court in Tacoma on charges of violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act. That violation carries a maximum sentence of a year in jail and a $100,000 fine.

The tribe has a treaty right to kill gray whales and did so in 1999. However, the tribe it did not have a permit for the hunt the five conducted on Sept. 8. They harpooned and repeatedly shot a gray whale that died and sank off Neah Bay.

 

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