Otsego resident Chien Van Tran busted with more than 400 sunfish above legal limit

If society crumbles and our food-supply system breaks down, head to Otsego and look up Chien Van Tran.

Armed with a fishing rod, Tran should be able to feed you -- if he isn't in the slammer, that is. Because after being caught with nearly 400 sunfish above the state's legal limit, he now faces up to a year in jail.

Tran, 39, was busted by a DNR conservation officer while leaving Pelican Lake on April 4. The officer witnessed Tran loading a bag of fish into a locked compartment of his boat, then approached him to ask if he had any fish onboard. Tran showed the officer a cooler with about a dozen fish in it, but the officer knew Tran was hiding some of his catch.

Eventually, Tran came clean -- he had 134 sunfish and 19 crappies onboard. The state's daily/possession limit for those two types of fish are 20 and 10, respectively.

After further questioning, Tran gave the officer permission to inspect a freezer at his home. In the freezer were 11 bags of fish containing 299 sunfish and 21 crappies. So in total, Tran was busted with 413 sunfish and 30 crappies over the legal limit.

Tran's ridiculous stash resulted in a misdemeanor charge carrying a maximum fine of $3,000 and one year in jail. Restitution value for the fish is over $2,000. If convicted, Tran could lose his fishing privileges for three years.

And oh yeah, the DNR seized his boat, motors, and trailer as well. So if society does crumble and you head to Otsego in search of Tran, you'll either have to bring some gear for him to use or hope that he has a spare rod at home and can find a fishing pier somewhere.

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