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Cloquet man jailed after using brother’s fishing license

Forum News Service

John Myers

A Cloquet man found out the hard way that, while sharing usually is a good thing, it’s illegal to share your fishing license.

Andrew T. Swenson, 30, was caught using his brother’s fishing license May 13 while in a remote area on the St. Louis River near Knife Falls Dam in Cloquet. He ended up in jail facing fines.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Scott Staples approached Swenson and asked to see his license. But when Staples questioned Swenson about his birthdate, height, weight and the address listed on the license, Swenson stumbled.

“That’s a red flag if you don’t know your own address,” Staples told the News Tribune.

Back at his truck, Staples checked the Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services website, pulling up a picture of a person who looked different than the person who was fishing.

“I asked him to look at the photo on my computer screen and asked him who that was a picture of,” Staples said. “He said it was his brother.”

Andrew Swenson then admitted to Staples that his application for a fishing license was rejected because he was cited the previous year for fishing with extra lines. Staples had issued that citation, too.

Swenson was arrested and taken into custody on a warrant for failing to pay the previous year’s fine.

“Since he didn’t pay his fine, he couldn’t buy a license, the system flagged him,” Staples said. “So the court issued a warrant for his arrest.”

While Swenson was booked into the Carlton County Jail, Staples called Swenson’s brother, Chayse J. Swenson, 20, of Duluth, who said he was aware that his brother had his license.

“I think people don’t realize that we actually look at the information on the license,” Staples said.

Staples said the brother didn’t think it was big a deal. Now, however, he might have a different opinion. Chayse Swenson was charged with lending a license. He pleaded guilty and paid the fine.

Andrew Swenson has been charged in state District Court in Carlton County with a gross misdemeanor for giving false information to a peace officer, angling without a license and lending, borrowing or transferring a license. The maximum fine for a gross misdemeanor is $3,000. Angling without a license carries a $50 fine. Lending, borrowing or transferring a license is a $100 fine.

“If he would have paid his fine from last year’s citation, he could have bought a license this year and none of this would have happened,” Staples said.

The DNR reminds anglers that licenses easily can be purchased at 1,500 licensed agents statewide, at or by calling at (888) 665-4236.

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