The owner of the Wild Alaskan, a night club aboard a converted Bering Sea crabber that had been anchored in Kodiak, was found guilty in federal court Wednesday of illegal dumping of sewage and lying to federal authorities about it.
Darren Byler faces maximum fines in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and years in prison for the violations. The jury found his wife, Kimberly Riedel-Byler, not guilty of the same charges.
The Wild Alaskan, built on the hull of the former fishing vessel Shaman, had two restrooms, one for customers and one for the burlesque dancers, but had no provisions for storing and properly disposing of sewage.
Byler contended that the ship’s sewage was either pumped off at Pier 2, or taken beyond the three-mile limit and dumped at sea.
Prosecutors estimate that in the six months the Wild Alaska was in operation, more than 1,000 customers frequented the night club.
Investigators found that his claims were false. Byler is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason in March.