A woman in the Florida Keys illegally sold 25 lobster tails to an undercover officer who responded to an ad she placed on Craigslist, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation said Thursday.
Twenty-year-old Kasey Marie Platt of Marathon was arrested after allegedly making the sale in a Kmart parking lot Monday.
According to investigators, the Craigslist ad offered fresh Florida lobster, cleaned and ready to cook for $10 a tail.
Officer Raul Pena Lopez contacted the number listed in the ad, first by phone, leaving a message, and later by text. The officer, acting undercover, said he was having a gathering with about 15 to 20 family members and agreed to buy 25 tails for $250.
"This lobster fresh?" he asked in a text message.
"Yes very fresh," the person on the other end responded.
The officer agreed to meet in Marathon later that afternoon.
When he arrived at the Kmart, the officer met Platt and saw the lobster in the front seat of her white Ford Explorer SUV. He said he needed to look in the bag and count the tails. With Platt's permission, he grabbed three clear plastic bags and verified 25 whole body Florida spiny lobsters, the FWC said.
He made the purchase and then signaled to uniform officers standing by to conduct a marine fisheries inspection.
FWC public information officer Bobby Dube said investigators believe Platt's boyfriend caught the lobster sometime after the recent two-day mini season. It was unclear whether the couple had made other previous sales.
Platt has been charged with the unlicensed sale of saltwater products and the possession/sale of lobster out of season, among other charges.
"What it really boils down to is a quality control issue," Dube said. "When people are selling saltwater products, when you're commercial, you have to adhere to strict standards pertaining to quality control."