Over 15 seasons, Discovery Channel viewers have witnessed a lot of fishermen come and go on Deadliest Catch. Some have sadly passed away, like Captain Phil Harris, while others left the show to deal with personal demons like drug addiction and criminal activity.
One year after deck boss Edgar Hansen — who first appeared on the docu-series in 2013 aboard the vessel Northwestern — pled guilty to sexually assaulting an underage girl, another former Deadliest Catch crew member is facing a few legal troubles of his own.
Jason King, who went by "Tennessee" while working as deckhand on the Cornelia Marie in 2015, was recently sentenced to 51 months (or 4 years and 3 months) behind bars. What exactly did the 43-year-old do? Here’s what we know about his court case.
Why was Jason "Tennessee" King from Deadliest Catch arrested?
On April 20, 2017, Jason was taken into custody after officers with the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office, the 24th Judicial District Drug Task Force, the 15th Judicial District Drug Task Force, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Explosives (ATF) found multiple bags of marijuana totaling over 14 pounds and a loaded .38 caliber revolver in his Couce, Tenn. home.
Due to Jason’s extensive criminal history, he was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and given the maximum sentence on July 18, which also includes three years of supervised release following his 51-month prison stint.
"Convicted felons who possess firearms in connection with illegal drugs are inherently dangerous individuals," U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant stated in a press release.
"Our outstanding federal, state, and local law enforcement partners were able to catch this outlaw, and his prior criminal record finally caught up with him. This conviction and sentence will remove a repeat offender from the community, and will protect public safety in West Tennessee."
Deadliest Catch cast members have a long history of run-ins with the law.
Current Summer Bay crab fisherman, Erik James, was arrested back in March 2018 for growing 25 marijuana plants on his Sanibel Island houseboat. At the time, he faced 23 charges, most of which were for drug possession.
As for former Saga captain Elliott Neese, the father-of-two’s baby mama, Valerie Gunderson, obtained a temporary restraining order against him in 2012. She reportedly feared for her personal safety and believed that her ex could snap at any moment.
Before requesting protection, Valerie claimed that Elliott called her 38 times and sent 15 text messages in less than an hour after she refused to talk to him. She also alleged that he made threatening comments to her mom, saying, "If I can’t have [Valerie] nobody can."
Despite his history of domestic violence, Elliott continued to appear on Deadliest Catch until 2015. In a February 2017 Instagram post, he celebrated 90 days of sobriety.
However, the most disturbing criminal case to come out of Deadliest Catch was Edgar’s fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation charge, which stemmed from an incident with a 16-year-old girl. The 48-year-old avoided jail time under a plea deal that was reached in July 2018.
In a handwritten statement, Edgar said, "I committed this assault for the purpose of my own sexual gratification. I am very sorry for that conduct and I have commenced treatment to ensure that nothing like this assault ever happens again."
We need someone to put these Deadliest Catch men on the straight and narrow.
Watch new episodes of the Discovery Channel series on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET.
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