A state biologist known as Wisconsin’s “sturgeon general” is facing jail for his alleged role in a lucrative racket that prosecutors say saw valuable fish eggs marked for fertility research funneled instead for caviar production.

Ryan Koenigs, a senior fisheries biologist at Wisconsin’s department of natural resources, lied to conservation wardens investigating allegations that numerous employees were secretly supplying the eggs to a network of caviar processors, according to a criminal complaint filed in Wisconsin’s Calumet county this week. He was suspended on Thursday.

As a kickback, one supervisor allegedly told the wardens, department staff would receive jars of sturgeon caviar – which can cost hundreds of dollars per ounce – and eat it openly during meetings with colleagues. Others told the detectives their reward was moonshine.

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