Neighbors: 4 poachers selling fish in backyard

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COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- Neighbors say illegal fish poachers were selling a lot of the fish out of their Golden Gate backyard.

For the past year, Florida Fish and Wildlife officers have had their eye on David Vazquez Acosta, Jorge Escalona, Adnier Lobaina Lopez and Jose Escalona Ferral. They say the four men were professional poachers that had taken dozens and dozens of illegal fishing trips.

WINK News tracked down one of the men who bonded out of jail. David Vazquez Acosta says his arrest on Saturday was a misunderstanding. He says he wasn’t selling any fish.

“He doesn’t sell fish at all, but supposedly, because they say we brought a big amount,” said Acosta’s son.

Acosta was arrested on board a boat near Marco Island.

FWC says the four men had a 1,000 pounds of illegal fish on board including red grouper, Goliath grouper, yellowtail, pompano and a sea turtle.

Neighbors of the men tell WINK News, Escalona sold most of the fish out of his backyard. They say it’s the meat market.

FWC says the men took fish that were too small, they took too many and were fishing without a license.

Acosta is the only one not facing a felony charge. His bond was low just over $10,000.

Each of the other three have a bond set at more than $115,000.

“Whatever did happen, they let him go because he didn’t do anything,” said Acosta’s son.

Monday night, Acosta was out on bond.

FWC says illegal poachers don’t just lose the fish but everything involved including their boats and trucks which is a part of the evidence.

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