GERMANTOWN, Md. (WJZ) — Police charged Lotte Plaza Market in Germantown with offering three bushels of egg-bearing female blue crabs — known as sponge crabs — for sale in violation of the state’s conservation laws.

The Maryland Natural Resources Police received a tip and conducted an inspection of the market on June 5.

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Officers cited the company for the unlawful importation of egg-bearing female crabs. The citation can carry a penalty of $650. The three bushels of crabs were seized and donated to a food center in Rockville.

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Store employees told police the crabs came through North Carolina, but they were unable to produce a bill of lading.

The Maryland Natural Resources Police said that sponge crabs can be illegally imported from other states between May 11 and July 20, but proof of their origin is necessary.

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It is always illegal to harvest female egg-bearing crabs in Maryland waters.