An international caviar poaching operation and a federal sting: ‘The Paddlefish Caviar Heist’ investigates this case in rural Missouri

True Crime December 10, 2022
Listen to ‘The Paddlefish Caviar Heist’

Warsaw, Missouri is a rural location in the American Midwest with a population of 2,000+ people and is locally known as the “quiet end of the Lake of the Ozarks.” This small town is also the “paddlefish capital of the world.” The townsfolk were not expecting an influx of new people that started arriving with expensive cars and shelled out hundreds of dollars on bait and tackle. Warsaw became the center of an undercover federal sting set to take down an alleged international caviar poaching operation.

The Paddlefish Caviar Heist is presented by Imperative Entertainment and Vespucci. Journalist Helen Hollyman hosted and wrote this series that should be streamed from the beginning. All episodes run less than 35 minutes on average, with updates released over the next few weeks.

Helen visited Warsaw, Missouri to dive into the mystery. She hoped to uncover how and why a suspected international caviar poaching ring seemingly took over the town. When fish guts unexpectedly turned up on various roadsides in Warsaw, Operation Roadhouse arrived – the undercover operation intent on catching criminals.

To crack the case, Helen joined the town’s “snagging culture” and she learned that the town was previously infiltrated by Paddlefish poachers. It’s a strange event when criminals travel around the world to the Ozarks for fish eggs. Helen dug up information about Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union, and explored why caviar became a valued and highly-sought after food.

On the podcast, Helen returned to Missouri to meet with a conservation official and got the 411 on the undercover Operation Roadhouse. She hears more about those who control the paddlefish poachers, and dove into a handful of Roadhouse’s suspects. Along the way, Helen unearths a personal question from her past. In episode 6, Helen’s old friend shares more about the dark side of the caviar industry. After visiting a lawyer in the Hamptons, Helen begins questioning everything and returns to Warsaw to find out what happened in the operation’s wake.

“The Paddlefish Caviar Heist” is now streaming wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

Listen to ‘The Paddlefish Caviar Heist’

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