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Owners of floating strip joint indicted

Written by Nick Blenkey
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MARCH 2, 2015 — A  federal grand jury in Anchorage, AK, has returned a three-count indictment against Kimberly Christina Reidel-Byler, 46, and Darren K. Byler, 54, both residing near Kodiak, AK, charging them with offenses relating to the improper disposal of human waste into waters in and around Kodiak, Alaska.

According to the indictment filed in this case, the Bylers owned and operated the Wild Alaskan, a converted 94-foot Bering Sea crabber anchored in St. Herman Harbor, Kodiak, Alaska.  Between June 25, 2014, and November 30, 2014, the Wild Alaskan was a floating bar and strip club.  Customers were ferried to the vessel from shore by the Gulf Coast Responder, a 35-foot landing craft.

During its operation, Kimberly Byler told the U.S. Coast Guard that human waste from the Wild Alaskan was being stored in a 5,000 gallon tank on the vessel, and then disposed of shore side by a commercial waste disposal firm.  

Darren Byler told the U.S. Coast Guard that waste from the Wild Alaskan was being disposed of at Pier 2, St. Herman Harbor, or that he would transport the human waste in the Gulf Coast Responder to a point three nautical miles offshore, where he would then dump it into the ocean.

The indictment alleges that these representations to the U.S. Coast Guard were false and that waste from the Wild Alaskan was being piped from the customer and employee bathrooms directly overboard and into St. Herman Harbor.  

Disposal of human waste without a permit into waters within three nautical miles of shore is a violation of the Refuse Act, Title 33, United States Code, Sections 407 and 411.  Making material false statements to the U.S. Coast Guard is a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001.

Darren Byler made his initial appearance and was arraigned on February 23, 2015.  Kimberly Byler is not yet in federal custody.
If convicted of violating the Refuse Act, the Bylers face not less than 30 days in jail and up to one year, a fine of $25,000 for each day the act was violated, a one-year term of supervised release, and a $25 special assessment.
 If convicted of making false statements, the Bylers face up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, a three-year term of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.  

The indictment is the latest legal difficulty to face the Wild Alaskan operation. In December, the Alaska Dispatch News reported that its liquor license had been revoked.  At issue was whether the strip club was operating legally under its “common carrier” liquor license, which authorizes the sale of alcohol on a vehicle licensed for the transport of freight or passengers.

With the Wild Alaskan anchored in state waters, the question before the ABC Board was whether it was adhering to the “passenger travel” portion of its license.

The ABC Board, apparently, deemed that it was not.

According to the ADN report, Darren Byler, who is also general manager of Alaska Leader Tours, plans to appeal the decision, saying he was planning to conduct sightseeing tours on the Wild Alaskan come spring.

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