Houston restaurants may have been getting conned into buying illegal seafood for years

Fishermen load their boat with shrimp nets as they prepare to head out fishing in the Persian Gulf along the coast of Malkiya village, Bahrain, on Monday, Sept. 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

Texas Parks & Wildlife recently named prominent Houston-area chef Bruce Molzan as a buyer of more than $400,000 worth of illegally caught finfish.

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Molzan is suspected of serving more than 14 tons of the under-the-table seafood in his restaurants around town, including Ruggles Green and Ruggles Black, who deny any knowledge or affiliation with the situation.

Authorities suspect unlicensed fisherman as far as Freeport may have been involved with the illegal operation, including catching red snapper, tuna, amberjack, grouper and red drum.

Game wardens from Texas, as well as U.S. Coast Guard and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) special agents worked together for more than two years on an investigation of the network.

However, Molzan does not seem worried about the citations, which are Class C misdemeanors, or, as his attorney described it, “the equivalent of a traffic ticket.”

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