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Apr 4, 2016 4:01 PM

NH Fish & Game: Man found with meth illegally poached valuable American eels

HAMPTON FALLS - A 27-year-old man was arrested by N.H. Fish and Game officers Friday morning after he allegedly took American eels illegally.

Officers arrested Drew Hankins, 27 of Newbury, on the Hampton Falls River near Route 1, after a search of his nearby car revealed equipment for taking American eels, as well as methamphetamines and a large amount of cash.

Hankins was charged with six counts of taking American eels less than 9 inches in length, one count of taking American eels without a harvest permit, falsifying physical evidence - a Class B felony, disobeying a conservation officer and possession of a controlled drug - a class B felony.

The American eels can sell for about $2,000 per pound, making them a prime target for illegal harvesting.

It was found that Hankins had been previously convicted for illegally taking American eels in 2014, and the fact that this was a second offense raises the charge to a Class B felony.

Hankins was arraigned Monday morning and is being held on $5,000 cash.

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