Attorney General Confirms DNR Watermen Probe

The Maryland Attorney General’s Office confirmed that the Department of Natural Resources sought court orders allowing the placement of tracking devices on the boats of watermen. State lawmakers, including 36-D Delegate Michael Smigiel, had asked the department to provide evidence that DNR acted lawfully in its investigation into possible natural resources violations. A year ago, several Dorchester County watermen found a tracking device underneath the sterns of their boats. DNR Secretary John Griffin admitted to placing the devices on the vessels to monitor any illegal activity. He said his department had obtained warrants for the devices. A letter sent earlier this month by Deputy Attorney General John B. Howard Jr. to Griffin confirmed Griffin’s claims. Smigiel said he also later received a letter from Howard saying a review found Griffin had not abused his authority. Smigiel, who has threatened to sue over the probe, questioned why the attorney general’s office would not reveal which court authorized the placement.