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FWC charges 3 in connection to shark dragging video

WFLA Staff - (WFLA) – Three people are facing charges in connection to the infamous shark dragging video

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office announced the charges in connection to a video of a shark being dragged behind a boat at high speed.

The charges resulted from a four-month long investigation into the video and other disturbing images on social media.

During the investigation, FWC officers confirmed numerous criminal violations, resulting in felony and misdemeanor charges.

The suspects and their charges are as follows:

Michael Wenzel (DOB 06/07/1996) of Palmetto, Florida

  • Two felony counts of Aggravated Animal Cruelty (Third-degree felony).
  • One misdemeanor count of Illegal Method of Take – Shark (Second-degree misdemeanor).

Robert Lee Benac (DOB 04/2/1989) of Bradenton, Florida

  • Two felony counts of Aggravated Animal Cruelty (Third-degree felony).
  • One misdemeanor count of Illegal Method of Take – Shark (Second-degree misdemeanor).

Spencer Heintz (DOB 10/14/1994) of Palmetto, Florida

  • Two felony counts of Aggravated Animal Cruelty (Third-degree felony).

All three suspects turned themselves in on Tuesday. Wenzel and Heintz bonded out of jail, but Benac remains in the Hillsborough County Jail.


Mobile County

Baldwin County

Northwest Florida