Grand Old Police Blotter: Operation Moonshark Edition
The Reverend Sun Myung Moon, convicted tax criminal and the man Wes Pruden and Fran Coombs call both "God" and "Daddy," has been caught violating United States law again, according to Moon's co-conspirator, the Reverend Kevin Thompson:
The pastor of the Bay Area Family Church in San Leandro [Thompson] confessed to investigators almost immediately after he was caught, telling them that he and a few of his congregants had been hauling baby leopard sharks out of San Francisco Bay for more than fifteen years. Pet dealers from around the world paid handsomely for the beautiful and exotic fish and sold them to people for their home aquariums. One of Thompson's followers estimated they had hooked more than six thousand shark pups in all; the feds pegged the street value of the local church's operation at $1.2 million.
From the get-go, however, Special Agent Roy Torres of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration uncovered evidence that the shark ring extended beyond Thompson. Among his more telling discoveries was the close tie between the pastor and True World Foods, the nation's largest supplier of sushi-grade fish. Moon's followers launched True World in the 1980s after the church leader issued a series of lectures, extolling the virtues of fishing. While Moon's followers call him "True Father," he calls himself "King of the Ocean."
None of this circumstantial evidence, most of which Torres detailed in federal court records, established a direct link between Thompson's sharks and the King of the Ocean. But the pastor voluntarily made that link himself. In a 2003 sermon captured on audiotape, Thompson said he personally informed the True Father about the shark enterprise. "When I had the chance to tell our founder Reverend Moon about it ... he told me, you know, 'You need twenty boats out there fishing!'" he boasted. "He had this big plan drawn out, you know." Thompson, a Brit who speaks with a Scottish accent, also said he had to convince the excited Moon not to expand the operation, apparently out of fear that it would attract notice.
With this evidence, if the Feds decline to issue a warrant for Moon's arrest and demand extradition, the only rational conclusion is that the Bush Administration had given the edict not to pursue the messianic malefactor. But I'm not holding my breath. It wouldn't be the first time wingnut welfare trumped American justice.
The incriminating audio is here.
(Thanks to my reader for the tip.)