The owner of a floating strip club vessel anchored in Kodiak Harbor has been convicted of dumping sewage directly overboard into harbor waters.
The conviction of Darren K. Byler by a federal court jury in Anchorage was announced in late December of US Attorney Karen L. Loeffler. He was found guilty of violating the Refuse Act and Making False Statements.
According to evidence presented at trial, more than 1,000 customers visited the Wild Alaskan during its operation from June through November 2014. The vessel had separate bathroom facilities for patrons and employees, and sewage from both bathrooms was piped to flow directly overboard into the harbor.
Evidence establishing this fact included the absence of any storage facilities on board the Wild Alaskan capable of containing sewage.
When asked to produce documentation about his sewage disposal from the Wild Alaskan, Byler gave the Coat Guard Marine Safety Detachment Kodiak a false ship log, Loeffler said. In the log the defendant claimed to have disposed of 1,500 gallons of raw sewage from the vessel at a harbor disposal facility in late July 2014, as well as additional loads of sewage in September and October 2014.
The jury heard testimony from multiple witnesses and saw video evidence that Byler was not seen off loading sewage in late July nor on days he claimed to have traveled off shore to dump sewage beyond three nautical miles from shore.
Byler is to be sentenced by US District Court Judge Sharon Gleason on March 28.
The maximum statutory penalty for violating the refuse Act is not less than 30 days and up to one-year imprisonment, a fine of up to $25,000 for each day of the violation, a one-year term of supervised release and $25 special assessment.
The maximum statutory penalty for a False Statements violation is up to five years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, a two-year term of supervised release and a $100 special assessment.