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Teen charged in hoax calls

OCT. 18 — The Dorchester County (Del.) Sheriffs Office took 19-year-old Brandon Maxwell from Taylor’s Island into custody the morning of Oct. 11 with charges of false radio transmission of an emergency and reckless endangerment, according to an article The News Journal newspaper, based in Wilmington, Del.

Maxwell called the Dorchester County 911 and the Coast Guard Sector Baltimore around midnight Oct. 11, stating his vessel was taking on water in the HongaRiver near the NarrowsFerryBridge. He had also sent the information by VHF radio, according to The News Journal.

The Coast Guard responded by deploying a 25-foot response boat crew and a rescue helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J. The search also included deputies from the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, two Maryland State Police helicopters and volunteer fire companies from Hooper’s Island and Taylor’s Island stations, according to The Daily Times, based in Salisbury, Md. The call was discovered as bogus when a Coast Guard helicopter tracked the radio signal to Chapel Cove Marina on Taylor’s Island, where police arrested Maxwell.

Willfully making a distress call is a felony, and the maximum penalty can be five to 10 years in prison, a $5,000 fine, a $250,000 criminal fine and reimbursement to the Coast Guard for any costs made responding to the call, according to the Coast Guard.

— Elizabeth Ellis