HOUSTON (AP) — State authorities say a prominent chef and restaurateur was involved in a scheme to illegally catch nearly 28,000 pounds of fish that was sold in Houston restaurants.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says 59-year-old Bruce Molzan purchased and then sold red snapper, grouper and other fish at two restaurants with which he's been associated.

The agency said Wednesday the operation netted more than $400,000 in profit.

Authorities contend the network had been operating for at least four years and the illegal catch is one of the largest in state history.

They say about a dozen unlicensed commercial fishermen were involved and that more than 200 misdemeanor citations have been issued.

An attorney for Molzan told the Houston Chronicle that he's challenging the charges and expects them to be dismissed.

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