San Mateo County Sheriff's deputies cited four men for fishing for Dungeness crab out of season on Tunitas Creek Beach in unincorporated Half Moon Bay early Sunday morning, according to the sheriff's office.
Deputies saw several vehicles parked near the beach at 12:17 a.m. Sunday and found several men in the water, allegedly fishing with flashlights, sheriff's officials said.
The suspects, David Arias, 29, Edgar Gerardo Jimenez-Ruiz, 28, Wilfredo Escobar-Lopez, 27, and Jose Manual Rubio-Arias, 28, all of San Jose, denied fishing for crabs out of season, according to the sheriff's office.
But deputies found two large buckets and an ice chest filled with 63 crabs hidden on the trail where the suspects had allegedly been walking, according to the sheriff's office.
Deputies cited the suspects and released them on condition of their promise to appear in court, sheriff's officials said. The crabs were also released.
The recreational Dungeness crab season is scheduled to begin on Nov. 1 and the commercial season on Nov. 15, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
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