3 Boaters Charged in Case of 'Shark Dragging' Video That Infuriated Viewers

Shark dragging
Michael Wenzel, Robert Lee Benac and Spencer Heintz each faces a third degree felony charge. (Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office)

A video of a shark being dragged behind a boat that left viewers seething earlier this year has led to charges against three Florida men.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office on Tuesday announced the arrests of 21-year-old Michael Wenzel, 28-year-old Robert Lee Benac and 23-year-old Spencer Heintz.

All three men have all been charged following a four-month investigation into the graphic video of a shark being dragged behind a boat that went viral in July.

The men all face aggravated animal cruelty charges, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in jail; five years of probation; and a $5,000 fine.

The men have all bonded out of jail.

Video of the incident went viral due, in part, to suggestions that the boaters were connected to a star of MTV reality show Siesta Key

A premiere for the show, which was scheduled for July, was canceled as a result of the controversy. The reality show's star, Alex Kompothecras, denied all connection to the shark-dragging video and was not among those charged by police.


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