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  FWC Enforcement Report March 23-29. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 04-12-2018, 11:13 AM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
FRANKLIN COUNTY

Officer Pestka was conducting patrols in the Eastpoint area and observed a vessel returning from harvesting oysters. A resource inspection found the subject to be in possession of undersized oysters. After counting and measuring each individual oyster, she determined the bag contained 62% undersized oysters. Officer Pestka cited the subject and returned the oysters to the water alive.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Corbin was on land patrol off Highway 98 on Okaloosa Island and approached a public access parking lot and observed a white van stuck in the protected sand dunes. The driver drove the van off the parking lot and over a parking stop block to access the beach. The vehicle’s rear bumper, was almost touching the ground, and its rear tires and axle were buried in the sand from attempting to get unstuck. The vehicle created a large hole and had driven over vegetation in the sand dunes. The vehicle had also driven over vegetation to get to its location causing damage to the vegetation. The driver was issued a notice to appear citation for driving on coastal dunes or vegetation and damage to public lands.

Officer Corbin was on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections in the Destin Harbor and observed a 28-foot Chaparral vessel displaying no vessel registration or decal. The vessel’s stern displayed a hailing port of Destin, Florida. The operator was issued a notice to appear citation for no vessel registration.

Officer Corbin was on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections near the entrance to Destin Harbor and officer observed two kayaks, both occupied with an adult and a small child. The life jackets on the children were oversized and not fitting properly. An inspection of the children’s life jackets showed they were U.S. Coast Guard rated for individuals 90 pounds and above. Both children were under 65 pounds. Both kayaks were rented. Due to rough seas and a strong current, Officer Corbin assisted both kayaks in getting back to the dock. The owners of the rental company met Officer Corbin and the renters at the dock. The owners admitted they did not have youth size life jackets for the children. The officer conducted a livery inspection and determined the business was in violation of several statutes and rules. The owner was issued a notice to appear citation for renting a vessel without the proper safety equipment, person providing pre-rental/pre-ride instructions has not completed approved safety course, and boating safety information not properly displayed at livery.

Officer Jarvis responded to a boating accident in the Destin Pass. An operator of a rented personal watercraft (PWC) was ejected off the PWC by rough seas/waves. The operator was separated from the PWC. Good Samaritans from the shore assisted the operator back to the beach. For precautionary measures, the operator was taken to a local hospital and later released with no injuries.

WAKULLA COUNTY

On opening morning of spring turkey season, Officer Hofheinz was working a baited site that had been located. On approach, he heard two subjects using turkey calls as they were actively hunting. The subjects were found to be actively hunting within 60 yards of the baited site and both were cited accordingly.

WALTON COUNTY

Officer White located two subjects turkey hunting in a closed portion of Eglin Wildlife Management Area. The subjects had previously been told at an Eglin check station that the area they were in was closed for the day due to an active military mission. Both subjects were charged for entering the closed area and Eglin Security Forces personnel issued a suspension from Eglin property.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
MADISON COUNTY

Officer Ransom worked opening day of turkey season. While on foot patrol, he found a blind that was less than 100 yards from an active feeder. Officer Ransom saw two subjects put out turkey decoys, enter the blind and begin calling turkey. A citation was issued for attempting to take turkey within one hundred yards of bait.

Officer Vazquez has been monitoring a baited site since the opening day of youth turkey season. One morning, Officer Vazquez observed two subjects enter the baited blind and begin calling for turkey. A citation was issued for attempting to take turkey within one hundred yards of bait.

SUWANNEE COUNTY

Lieutenant Humphries and Officer Boone received information from a local constituent of possible illegal turkey hunting on state property. While on foot patrol, Lieutenant Humphries and Officer Boone discovered the suspected vehicle close to the state property boundary. After an hour of tracking, two subjects were observed illegally hunting turkeys on state land that was closed to hunting. The subjects admitted to hunting turkeys and that they were on closed state land. The appropriate citations were issued.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Lieutenant Kiss was off duty and received a call from FWC dispatch regarding armed trespass in progress on private leased property. A lease member told the two men to leave and that law enforcement would be called. Lieutenant Kiss met with the complainant who stated that they had encountered two armed men hunting on their private 80-acre lease. Lieutenant Kiss searched for the men but was unable to locate them. He called K9 Officer Bret Gill, K9 Friar and Officer Lee Yates for assistance. When they arrived, Lieutenant Kiss showed the officers the last location the trespassing men were seen. Within two hours, K9 Friar alerted on the scent of the men, hiding just 30 feet from the front gate of the lease. Both men were handcuffed and detained. One of the subjects was a convicted felon from a firearm charge in 2010 and was arrested for possessing a firearm by a convicted felon, attempting to take deer during closed season, and trespass. The father was charged with trespass. All firearms, holsters, and ammunition were seized as evidence.

BAKER COUNTY

Officer Tyler was working turkey hunting on a piece of property where he had previously located active bait sites. Shortly after daylight, two subjects were seen sitting in different spots, overlooking bait that had been placed for turkeys. One of the subjects was actively using a recorded game calling device to call for turkeys. Both subjects were cited for attempting to take turkey over bait and one subject was cited for attempting to take turkey with recorded game call.

K-9 Officer Gill was on patrol when he heard three shots come from a hunting club. He responded to the area of the shots and deployed K-9 Friar to look for violations. K-9 Friar located feathers from a freshly killed turkey and three spent shell casings. The turkey was killed from a blind overlooking a feeder that was broadcasting corn. Officer Gill tracked the vehicle’s tire sign to a hunting camp and located the subjects who had killed the turkey. The subjects admitted to killing the turkey over the bait and both were charged with taking turkey over a baited area.

DUVAL COUNTY

A passerby observed someone hosing what appeared to be yellow paint into a storm drain at a Jacksonville shopping center. The storm drain leads to a nearby retention pond, which overflows into the Intracoastal Waterway. Further investigation revealed that a full five-gallon bucket of parking lot marking paint had spilled and the suspect had flushed the material into the storm drain with a water hose. Appropriate criminal charges were issued.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officer Thomas conducted JEA patrol out of St. Augustine Inlet and boarded numerous recreational commercial fishing vessels out to 10 miles. During one vessel stop in federal waters, she located one red drum and more than the allowable bag limit of vermillion snapper. Officer Thomas issued a federal citation for possession of red drum in federal waters and over the bag of vermillion snapper. During another boarding, Officer Thomas located an undersized Cobia and an undersized Mutton Snapper. State charges were filed accordingly.

ORANGE COUNTY

Officer McConnell was on patrol in an area he had previously discovered to be baited with corn in a manner to attract turkeys. Officer McConnell set up in the area and soon heard a subject calling from a nearby blind. Officer McConnell contacted the subject and found that he was within 100 yards of the corn. The subject admitted to the violation and was cited for attempting to take turkey within 100 yards of bait.

PORT CANAVERAL

Lieutenant Bonds and Officers Lejarzar and Hallsten were working offshore patrol and encountered a vessel that was fishing on a popular fishing structure in federal waters. A resource inspection revealed three red snapper onboard on ice. It is prohibited to be in possession of red snapper in federal waters during this time of the year. The fish were photographed and the subjects were issued a federal citation for possession of red snapper out of season.

MARION COUNTY

Officer Rice was on patrol in the Ocala Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when he observed a large amount of trash freshly dumped off a forest road. Upon further investigation, Officer Rice observed a large amount of household garbage, wood, furniture, televisions, various other debris, and a large quantity of materials used to manufacture methamphetamine. Officer Rice located a document with a name and multiple receipts for purchases of Sudafed at local pharmacies in the dump pile. Investigator Miller and Officer Rice went to the local pharmacies and obtained names of the individuals that made the purchases. The officers also obtained surveillance photographs of possible suspects and a vehicle leaving one of the pharmacies. During their investigation, Officer Rice observed the possible suspect vehicle drive past him. The driver of the vehicle was one of the possible suspects and the officers knew that he did not have a valid driver’s license. The officers conducted a traffic stop for the suspended license violation and conducted an interview in regard to the illegal dumping. Post Miranda, the subject admitted to dumping the trash in the forest. With the help of the Marion County Drug Unit and U.S. Forest Service, 6,950 pounds of trash was cleaned up from the site. This included the proper disposal of 23 “one pots”, 9 meth generators, an excess of 200 used syringes, and various meth lab trash. Charges were filed for driving while license revoked, possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, felony dumping, manufacture of methamphetamine, possession of pre-cursors to manufacture methamphetamine, and nuisance injurious to health.

PUTNAM COUNTY

Officer Jones and Lieutenant Dickson were on patrol in Ravine Gardens State Park when they observed two male subjects in a restricted area. While the officers addressed the violation and paperwork was being completed, a strong smell of cannabis was noticed emitting from inside the subjects’ vehicle. Upon questioning, it was found that one of the subjects had under 20 grams of cannabis and a smoking pipe inside the vehicle. Both subjects were issued citations for being in the restricted area and one was charged with the cannabis and paraphernalia.

Officer Jones and Lieutenant Dickson responded to a complaint of illegal hog hunting at Murphy Creek Conservation Area. Upon arrival, a subject was located inside the conservation area with three dogs that had collars with throat guards on. The subject admitted to hog hunting in the area as was issued a notice to appear for hunting without a valid permit.

OSCEOLA COUNTY

While patrolling turkey season on the upper St. Johns Wildlife Management Area (WMA), Officer Stelzer heard a gobble off in the distance on private lands. While on the Deseret fence line, a subject walked up to the fence posted “No Trespassing.” The subject stood at the fence line, looked both ways, and continued to the private property. After interviewing the subject, the subject had knowledge that he was on private lands and it was not his first time trespassing. The subject was placed under arrest and charged with armed trespass.

Officer Stelzer was on patrol of Bull Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when he observed a vehicle whose tag appeared to be altered. Upon running the tag, he noticed it did not belong to the vehicle to which it was attached. During an interview, the subject admitted to having illegal substances in the vehicle. After searching the vehicle, he found methamphetamine, controlled substances without a prescription, and drug paraphernalia. The subject was placed under arrest for the drug charges.

BREVARD COUNTY

While on patrol, Officer Cybula was dispatched to Sebastian Inlet State Park regarding a suspicious person in the area. After contacting the person, it was discovered he had an active warrant out of Osceola County. The man was arrested and turned over to the Brevard County Jail.

Officer Cybula received information that a man had kept undersized fish near a local canal. Once the officer arrived he could see the man fishing and conducted a resource inspection. The man was found to be in possession of one undersized sheepshead and one undersized snook. The man also did not have a fishing license or snook stamp. A citation and multiple warnings were issued.

While on night patrol at Sebastian Inlet State Park, Lieutenant Lightsey and Officer Dubose observed a group of people fishing in a secluded area. After conducting a resource inspection, the group was found to be in possession of undersized gray snapper. While addressing the violation, the officers discovered more of the group was still wade fishing in the area. After finding that group, numerous violations were discovered including undersized gray snapper and illegal method of take for snapper (cast net). A citation and multiple warnings were issued.

While conducting patrol of BC49 Critical Wildlife Area (CWA), Lieutenant Lightsey observed three men in the clearly marked closed area. Officer Cybula responded by vessel, issued a citation, and explained to the men the reason for the CWA designation.

While on foot patrol in Port Canaveral, Officer Balgo conducted a resource inspection on an incoming vessel. Five yellowfin tuna and several dolphin fish were located. A permit checked revealed an expired Highly Migratory Species (HMS) permit, which is mandatory to possess for the yellowfin tuna. The individual was issued one federal citation for possessing yellowfin tuna without a valid HMS permit.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

While on night patrol, Officer Dubose conducted resource inspections at a local bridge. One of the subjects was found to be in possession of five gray snapper, three of which were under the minimum ten-inch total length. A citation was issued for the offense.

Lieutenant Lightsey and Officer Dubose received information about a man with an outstanding warrant in Vero Beach. The officers contacted the man and encouraged him to turn himself in. The man was then delivered to the Indian River County Jail without incident.

While on water patrol in Sebastian, Officers Balgo and Kearney conducted a resource inspection on an incoming commercial vessel. 59 king mackerel were located in the ice box. The commercial vessel limit for king mackerel is 50. A federal citation was issued for possession of over the commercial limit of king mackerel.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
PUTNAM COUNTY

Officers Jones, Wester, Bernard, Chriest, and Lieutenant Dickson responded to a call for help heard coming from the St. Johns River at night during severe weather. Upon arrival, it was found that the subject was ejected from his vessel while going at a high rate of speed and hitting a wave. The vessel continued in circles as the subject treaded water for approximately two hours. The subject was taken to the hospital with a possible broken shoulder and concussion. The vessel was recovered the next morning due to the weather. A boating accident investigation was conducted.

OSCEOLA COUNTY

Officers Stelzer and Summers responded to a call from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office in reference to a missing father and son. The father and son had been out scouting for turkeys in Herky Huffman/Bull Creek Wildlife Mangement Area (WMA) and got turned around. The father’s cell phone battery had died and their last known location was near the L-73 levee. Officer Summers went on ATV patrol to search for them. Officer Stelzer located the two individuals by their flashlight in the woods and returned them safely to their vehicle.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officers Miller and Graves coordinated and led the annual St. Augustine Blessing of the Fleet public safety vessel contingent for this year. FWC is the lead agency for waterborne traffic safety and security for this event. Approximately 65 vessels – including commercial fishing, charter, and recreational boats participated the procession. In addition to the six FWC vessels providing security, marine crews from the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, St. Johns County Fire- Rescue, St. Augustine Police Department, St. Augustine Fire-Rescue, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Customs, and Border Protection also assisted with waterborne security for the detail. Other FWC participating officers included Lieutenants Yetter and Zukowsky, Investigator Brechler, and Officers McDonough, Demeter, Greenier, Harris, Lawrence, Thomas, Lawshe, Campbell, and Ramsey.

BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Cybula participated in Community Helper Day at Calvary Chapel in West Melbourne. More than sixty kids were in attendance and were eager to see the FWC truck and airboat. Officer Cybula brought a small alligator as well and taught the children about living with alligators in Florida.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Price and Officer Perry were in Babcock Ranch Preserve. Several minutes before shooting light they heard multiple gunshots close to their location. A few minutes later they heard people walking through the woods towards them. Two men in full camo stepped out onto the trail the officers were standing on. One of the men was carrying a shotgun and a dead Osceola turkey; the other was carrying a turkey decoy and a small camo bag. The men were quickly heading toward a perimeter fence. The officers approached the men and identified themselves when they were close. The two poachers immediately ran through the woods attempting to exit the management area and evade the officers. The officers caught both subjects who had ditched the shotgun, turkey, and hunting equipment. The officers located all the items thrown, and K-9 Officer Stasko and his K-9 Pearson located the spent shells and feathers from where the men shot the bird before shooting light. One of the men was on probation for shooting from a roadway and the other man was in possession of marijuana. Both men were booked into the Charlotte County jail and issued several citations including hunting without a quota permit and hunting without a hunting license.

HERNANDO COUNTY

Officers Canamero, Henry, and Little, as well as Lieutenant Grover responded to Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) property to a report of a subject pointing a gun at a walker. The subject was located and began dancing on a picnic table. The officers, as well as several deputies took the subject into custody where he was found in possession of methamphetamine and marijuana. The handgun he was pointing turned out to be a BB gun replica of a handgun. The subject was booked into jail accordingly.

Officer Canamero located two subjects on a closed portion of Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. One of the subjects was found to be in possession of Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), marijuana, and being a minor in possession of alcohol. She was booked into the Hernando County jail on the charges.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on land patrol, Officer Godfrey responded to a call about suspicious people on SWFWMD property. Officer Godfrey made his way to their last known location and found tire tracks heading into the property. He waited for the subjects to make their way back to him. Officer Godfrey found two subjects on an ATV with hunting dogs on the back. He noticed one subject had a GPS in his hand and the dogs had GPS trackers on their collars. Officer Wilkins arrived to assist, and after reading the subjects their Miranda warnings, Officer Godfrey conducted interviews and the subjects admitted to hunting for hogs on the property. The subjects were cited for illegal hunting on SWFWMD property, being on the property after hours, and operating an ATV on SWFWMD property – all misdemeanor violations.

LEE COUNTY

Officers Price and Furbay participated in a joint-agency operation with NOAA to target illegal feeding of dolphins in the Pine Island area. Dolphin feeding has become more abundant and is causing the mammals to become habituated to being fed by humans. This practice makes the dolphins dependent on humans for survival, endangers them by associating boats with food, makes them a nuisance to law-abiding fishermen, and has negative effects on the resource. The officers observed boaters in various locations and will be following up with federal charges on individuals found in violation of intentionally feeding the mammals.

MANATEE COUNTY

Lieutenant Hinds was on land patrol around Bowlees Creek. While on patrol he noticed two men pulling a small vessel out of the water and loading it into the back of their truck. The men were also carrying a bucket with a cast net in it and a large cooler. Lieutenant Hinds performed a resource inspection and found that the men had cast netted and kept a variety of different fish, including one 14-inch snook, 8-inch gray snapper, and a 10-inch sheepshead. The men also had no fishing licenses and none of the required safety equipment was on the vessel. Lieutenant Hinds cited one of the men criminally for possession of snook taken by illegal method which will require a court appearance for the violation. The men were also given six written warnings for the other violations.

Officer Gonzales was on land patrol around the South Skyway Fishing Pier State Park. While on patrol he stopped and performed a resource inspection on an individual fishing from the pier. During his inspection, Officer Gonzales found several undersized gray mangrove snapper and sheepshead poorly concealed in some newspaper. The man was cited for possession of undersized gray snapper which will require a court appearance for the violation. He was also given a written warning for undersized sheepshead.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officer Hughes, Pettifer, and Lieutenant Wells were working offshore on fisheries patrol. Approximately 25 miles west of Tarpon Springs they stopped a vessel to conduct a fisheries and boating safety inspection. The officers inspected the vessel from bow to stern and located two 30+ inch out of season gag grouper, several undersized red grouper, and undersized trigger fish. The boat captain and his friend both admitted to catching the fish. Both occupants were issued multiple citations.

While on water patrol in South Pinellas, Officer Bibler, Investigator Schefano, and Lieutenant Van Trees stopped a vessel violating a manatee slow speed zone. After educating the men about the manatee zone, a resource inspection revealed undersized mangrove snapper hidden at the bottom of a cooler underneath grunts. After reading the men their Miranda rights, two of the three men admitted to catching and keeping the undersized mangrove snapper. Both subjects were cited for the violations.

Officers Phillippi, Ferguson, Larosa, and Lieutenant Van Trees responded to a call of a vessel found drifting out to sea with no one on it near Tarpon Springs. As the officers responded to the area by water to begin a search with United States Coast Guard and Tarpon Springs PD, Lieutenant Van Trees went to the registered owner’s last known address. Lieutenant Van Trees finally tracked down the last known owner who stated he no longer owned the boat. Lieutenant Van Trees discovered the vessel had been sold numerous times and no one had transferred the title or re-registered the vessel. The new owner was found and contacted and stated that his friends ran aground the night before and just left the vessel and went home. Lieutenant Van Trees had the owner meet Officer Phillippi at the vessels location where the officer interviewed the subject. Officer Phillippi found that the owner had bought the vessel eight months prior and never transferred the title or registration. The subject was cited for the violation of failure to transfer title.

While on water patrol in South Pinellas, Officers Martinez, Larosa, Pettifer, and Investigator Schefano stopped a vessel for violating a manatee speed zone. The operator exhibited numerous signs of impairment and odd behavior. Officer Martinez smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the vessel and later found a small amount of marijuana and paraphernalia on the vessel. Officer Martinez also smelled the odor of alcohol coming from the operator and asked the subject if he would consent to seated field sobriety tasks. The subject refused. Due to the subject’s actions and the observations by Officer Martinez, the subject was arrested for boating under the influence (BUI). It was later discovered the subject had been arrested for BUI in the same area approximately a year earlier.

POLK COUNTY

While on patrol, Officer DeWeese observed an individual turkey hunting in an orange grove. Officer DeWeese contacted the individual and observed that he was hunting within 100 yards of bird seed and scratch corn. Officer DeWeese issued the individual a notice to appear for attempting to take turkey within 100 yards of a feeding station.

SARASOTA COUNTY

While Officer Sierra was on water patrol in the area of New Pass, he noticed two men fishing underneath the New Pass Bridge from land. During a resource inspection, he found that the men had caught and kept nine undersized gray (mangrove) snapper and one undersized red grouper. Both subjects were cited for possession of undersized gray snapper and will have to appear in court for their violation. One of the subjects was also given a warning for possession of undersized red grouper.

Officers Ridgway and Grenz were on water patrol in the area of Big Pass and performed a boating safety and fisheries inspection on a vessel transiting the pass. During the inspection, it was discovered that the captain of the vessel had caught and kept eight undersized red grouper and one undersized and out of season gag grouper. The captain was issued four citations for possession of over the bag limit red grouper, undersized red grouper, undersized gag grouper, and out of season gag grouper.

Lieutenant Frantz noticed a roadside vender displaying blue crab and shrimp for sale. As he contacted the operator, he introduced himself and asked for a saltwater retail license. The operator was unable to locate his license. A computer check by Lieutenant Frantz and dispatch were unable to produce any such license. The operator couldn’t find any bills of lading for the product he had on hand. The shrimp was not on ice, only in brown water. The operator was issued one citation for no license, received warnings for the other violations, and was told to discontinue sales until he had corrected his violations.

Lieutenant Frantz received a call concerning a boat operator that had broken down and was safely at a dock waiting for a friend to come tow him to his regular dock area. The operator then shot two flares, catching a field on fire. When Lieutenant Frantz arrived, the boat had already been towed from the area. Through witness statements, Lieutenant Frantz located the operator. Lieutenant Frantz will be meeting with the fire marshal to discuss appropriate charges.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officers Holcomb and Armstrong, along with an applicant ride along, responded to a complaint of a subject with a Burmese Python on Las Olas Blvd during a busy Saturday night. They observed a subject who was charging people to pose for pictures with the snake. The subject was unable to produce any of the required permitting for possessing and exhibiting the snake. The subject was issued a citation for not having the required permit to possess the snake. He was issued warnings for not having the snake microchipped, not having a critical disaster summary plan filed with FWC, not having a permit to exhibit the snake, and improper caging.

Officer Tarr was patrolling in Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) 2 when he saw a vehicle parked at the entrance with no occupants inside. Officer Tarr ran the tag and discovered that the owner of the vehicle had been warned 3 months prior for illegally entering STA 3/4 and fishing inside of the STA. Officer Tarr entered STA 2 and located the subjects who were fishing. Both subjects had been warned prior for trespassing and fishing inside local STAs. Both subjects were issued citations for trespassing in STA 2 and warnings for illegally fishing inside of STA 2.

Officer Tarr was patrolling the area of Coral Springs and saw a subject putting a net in the water along a canal bank. As he approached the subject he watched him use a bass head to bait a handmade funnel shaped gill net and hide it under the grass along the bank of the canal. The subject was in possession of another bass that showed signs of being taken by a net which is an illegal method to harvest bass. The subject was issued two misdemeanor citations for illegal method of taking bass and using bass as bait. The bass and 7 nets that were in the water were seized as evidence.

Officers Holcomb and Armstrong were patrolling the area of Port 95 when they observed a vehicle in the back of a parking lot of a corporate complex after hours. It is also a common area for illegal fishing. Officers Holcomb and Armstrong approached the vehicle and observed 4 young male subjects and could smell the odor of marijuana. They continued to walk around the vehicle where they observed a wallet on the driver seat with a small clear baggie with a white powdery substance in it. Upon further examination, a second baggie of white powder was found. The powder was field tested and showed positive for cocaine. The subject that the wallet belonged to was arrested for possession of cocaine and transported and booked into the Broward County jail. All subjects were issued warnings for trespassing.

GLADES COUNTY

Officer Brodbeck was on land-based water patrol conducting boating safety and resource inspections at the Harney Pond Canal boat ramp. The officer observed a vessel with three occupants and fishing equipment in plain view. A resource inspection was conducted and several black crappie were found in a compartment on the vessel, two of which were undersized. A citation was issued for the violation. The fish were photographed and returned to the water.

Officer Brodbeck was on patrol in Moore Haven when he observed a vehicle operating in a careless manner. A traffic stop was conducted. Upon contacting the driver of the vehicle, a strong odor of marijuana was detected by the officer. After further questioning, the passenger of the vehicle stated that all the marijuana was his, and produced a smoked marijuana joint, a container of marijuana, and drug paraphernalia. Officer Brodbeck issued the passenger a Notice to Appear (citation) for possession of marijuana less than 20 grams and a warning for possession of drug paraphernalia. The illegal items were seized as evidence. The driver of the vehicle was issued a written warning for careless driving.

MARTIN COUNTY

Officer Brevik conducted a vessel stop at Sandsprit boat ramp to perform a saltwater fisheries inspection. During the vessel stop, the subject was found to be in possession of eight undersized vermilion snapper. The subject was issued one misdemeanor citation for possession of vermilion snapper under 12 inches.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Brodbeck was conducting surveillance late at night on the Kissimmee River when a vessel was observed with a single occupant and fishing equipment in plain view approaching the docks of a nearby RV park. The officer relocated to the RV park and watched as the subject placed four black crappie into a bucket. A resource inspection was initiated and a total of 29 black crappie were found on board the vessel. The subject was issued a citation for possession of over the daily bag limit of black crappie. The fish were photographed and 4 black crappie were returned alive to the water.

Officer Hausler received information from Officer Crosby about individuals who would fish at Okee Tantie and throw all short crappie in the bushes and retrieve them as they left. These people have been known to leave every time an FWC officer comes into the area. Officer Hausler then received a call from unknown person that the individuals were back fishing again and had caught a good amount of fish. A resource inspection revealed that two individuals were in possession of several short black crappie. The individuals were cited accordingly.

Officer Allen observed a pickup truck parked at a gate at the Oak Creek Unit of the Kissimmee River Public Use Area (PUA). Someone entered the PUA at the location which is not a legally designated entrance. Approximately two hours later, two subjects who had been hunting turkey climbed back over the gate and were detained. A sign was posted at the gate stating that entry to the PUA was limited to designated points only. The men were issued citations for illegally entering and exiting the PUA.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers and investigators responded to a boating accident at Peanut Island. When Investigators arrived on scene, they were informed that a vessel had run aground that night. While trying to push the vessel off the sandbar, one of the passengers was caught in the prop and sustained injuries. The victim was transported to the hospital.

Officers Trawinski, Merizio, and Langley assisted the USCG in conducting a resource inspection of a vessel they intercepted 13 miles off the coast of Boynton Beach. The subjects were found to be in possession of 22 wrung lobster tails, 2 hog snappers, and 50 skinless fish filets. The subjects were in violation of multiple state and federal laws and were cited accordingly.

Officer Nasworth was on foot patrol in the area of Canal Point locks conducting fisheries inspections. A subject was actively fishing with rod and reel. Officer Nasworth contacted the subject who advised he didn’t have a freshwater fishing license because it had been suspended. Officer Nasworth checked the subject’s information through dispatch who confirmed that the subject had a suspended fishing license. Officer Nasworth issued the subject a court date and citation for the violation.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Toby concluded a long-term investigation into the illegal killing of an alligator on Lake Okeechobee. Further investigation yielded evidence that the individual illegally captured a juvenile alligator the day prior to the illegal killing of the larger alligator. After meeting with the State Attorney’s Office, the individual was charged with two felony counts for the illegal possession and killing of an alligator.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Howell concluded an investigation regarding the death of a pet fox. The responding officers located a deceased pet fox at the scene. After a thorough investigation into the death of the fox and meeting with the State Attorney’s Office, felony charges were filed against the subject for animal cruelty.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
TAYLOR COUNTY

Officer Trawinski participated as a member of the FWC Honor Guard funeral detail in Perry, Florida. Last honors were rendered to John Walker, former Colonel of the Florida Marine Patrol and Chief of Marine Enforcement – FWC.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

An officer received a phone call from an FDA agent informing him that there was a shipment of snook that arrived at the Miami International Airport from Honduras heading to a Miami-based company. The officer investigated the company and found it did not have a wholesale dealer license. The officer arrived at the importers facility and inspected the shipment and found 3,200 pounds of illegal snook. The company received a warning for no wholesale dealer license and is working with FWC to ensure the shipment is sold outside of Florida.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Landa continued his enforcement efforts targeting the illegal display of wildlife on South Beach. One subject was observed exhibiting a large albino Burmese python to the public. After contact was made, it was determined that the subject did not have the required licenses to possess or exhibit the snake. Four misdemeanor citations were issued for the illegal possession and exhibition. The snake was seized and turned over to agency biologists. Investigator Almagro and Officers Martir and Osorio assisted on this incident.

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Wagner and Rubenstein were on land patrol in the middle Keys and observed two individuals fishing from a rocky shoreline and conducted a resource inspection. Upon consent they searched a cooler and inside were grunts and jacks. The officers checked the nearby area and found a hidden bag of freshly caught fish in the rocks. The bag contained two undersized out of season black grouper, two undersized mangrove snapper, and legal snapper. One of the individuals claimed the bag and was cited accordingly.

Officers Rubenstein and Wagner were conducting water patrol around Big Pine Key when they saw an individual cleaning a large amount of fish at a residential fish cleaning table. While passing by, they noticed a large angelfish and other regulated species that appeared to be undersized. Officer Wagner dropped Officer Rubenstein off on land to contact the individual. He was found to be in possession of 1 undersized, speared snook with no stamp, 3 speared, oversized angelfish, 1 speared, undersized lobster with no stamp, 3 undersized mutton snapper, and 7 undersized and over the limit mangrove snapper. The subject was cited accordingly.

Officer McKay received a tip from an off-duty John Pennekamp State Park ranger that a person was catching undersized lobster inside a park mangrove-lined channel. Officer McKay responded and found the subject who was now fishing from his anchored boat. Under the boat engines and on the sea floor was a catch bag that the officer could see containing lobsters. After having the subject retrieve the bag and finally admitting that it belonged to him, Officer McKay measured the catch where 4 of the 5 lobsters were found to be undersized. The subject was cited accordingly and the 4 undersized lobsters were returned to the water.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Kleis and Arbogast were conducting night water patrol when they observed a commercial fishing vessel returning from offshore. The officers stopped the vessel to conduct a resource inspection. The captain stated that he had been fishing for king mackerel but that he was unsuccessful and didn’t have fish on board. An inspection revealed a gag grouper in one of the vessel’s coolers. The captain stated that he kept the grouper for himself. Gag grouper season is open June 1st – December 31st. The captain was charged with possession of an out of season gag grouper and the fish was seized as evidence.

Officer Thurkettle conducted a resource inspection on a vessel 20 miles offshore. During the inspection, four undersized red grouper were found inside the live well along with several other baitfish. The subject admitted catching the grouper and stated he planned on using them for bait. The subject was cited appropriately for possession of undersized red grouper and for over the bag limit of red grouper.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Alford concluded an investigation regarding an injury to a juvenile child at a captive wildlife facility. The previous month, an employee of the facility took the juvenile into a restricted area to feed a raccoon. While doing so, the child was bitten on the hand. The employee of the facility was issued a misdemeanor citation for creating the condition that led to the injury. Officer Curbelo assisted on this incident.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
MONROE COUNTY

A 911 call came in from a panicked woman stating that her boyfriend swam after their rental boat after it had drifted away from them into deeper water, and that she had not seen him for 30 minutes. The location was bayside near Islamorada. Officers Tafoya, Janzen, Larios, Rhoda, and Rafter responded by water. Officer’s Tafoya, Janzen, and Larios rendezvoused with two USCG boats in Cotton Key Basin where vital information was passed along. The 911 caller’s cell phone was pinged with a GPS location shortly before contact was lost. Two FWC patrol vessels and two USCG patrol vessels then plotted the coordinates and rushed to the scene. Once in the general area, the 4 vessels split up and began searching for the drifting vessel. Officer Tafoya and one of the USCG vessels spotted the vessel a short time later. USCG arrived first on scene and found the missing person still swimming behind the drifting vessel. USCG removed the man from the water and brought him back to the rental boat. The man said that he was ok, just sore from the swim. Officer Tafoya then followed the man back to where his friends were still stranded on a sandbar near Low Key in Everglades National Park. All persons involved were returned safely to shore.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
COLLIER COUNTY

Due to recent panther deaths, Officers Knutson, Yurewitch and Kleis enforced the 45-mph nighttime speed limit in a Panther Zone in Collier County. The officers issued over a dozen warnings, 9 speeding citations (2 mandatory court appearance for 30+ mph over the posted speed limit) and 1 misdemeanor citation for driving with no valid license. The top speed for the evening was 83 mph.

Officers Knutson, Yurewitch and Curbelo worked a directed patrol in the area of Wiggin’s Pass checking commercial charter boats, subjects in the pass and other recreational vessels violating manatee zones. The officers checked over 40 users, inspected 11 vessels and issued 10 warnings, 1 Uniform Boating Citation and 1 Resource Citation.

Officers Thurkettle, Oldsen, Arbogast, and Tidwell conducted retail license and quality control checks at local farmers’ markets and business in Collier County. In total, 15 vendors/establishments selling freshwater and saltwater products were inspected. Numerous violations were discovered during the detail, including one vendor who lacked both a saltwater and freshwater retail products license. Each violation was addressed accordingly.

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  FWC Enforcement Report March 16-22. All Regions
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NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

Lieutenant Allen and Officer Coker were working the area of the DuPont Bridge when they observed a subject standing next to his truck holding a large red drum. They observed the subject open the toolbox on his truck and place the red drum in it without measuring it. They waited several more minutes and then contacted the subject, who stated several times to the officers that he had not caught anything. Lieutenant Allen asked the subject if they could look at the fish that he placed in his toolbox. The subject opened the toolbox and the officers measured the fish which was over the slot limit. He was charged with the violation.

ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Specialist Pifer was on land patrol conducting fisheries inspections and license compliance checks along Gulf Boulevard and Pensacola Beach and saw an individual actively engaged in fishing on the Gulf side of the beach. Officer Pifer asked the subject if he had caught any fish and the individual stated he had caught a red drum. A large redfish tail was sticking out of a cooler nearby. The length of the oversized red drum was 36 inches. The subject was issued a notice to appear citation.

FRANKLIN COUNTY


While on patrol in Eastpoint, Officers Kossey and Travis conducted a resource inspection and found the subject to be in possession of 71% undersized oysters. The officers issued the subject the appropriate citations and returned the oysters to the water alive.

GULF COUNTY

Officer McMillion was patrolling Lands Landing when he saw a vehicle parked near the boat ramp with the front passenger door open. An 18 pack of beer was on the floorboard with two open beer cans near it. The owner of the vehicle stated to the officer that he had left the open beers in the vehicle because he thought he would get in trouble if he was caught drinking at the picnic tables. A warrant check revealed an active warrant out of Manatee County with full extradition for net violations that occurred in 2014 – for which he failed to appear. A $1,500 bond had been set for each of the three felony net charges. He was arrested for the warrant and taken to the Gulf County Jail.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Specialists Bartlett and Pifer were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections in the Crab Island area and saw a pontoon not displaying the required navigational light after sunset. The officers determined the pontoon was rented and the operator was having navigational issues in getting the pontoon back to Destin Marina. The officers assisted the operator in getting the pontoon back to the marina. During a safety inspection, the operator could not provide the required boating safety education card and stated the livery did not administer the temporary boating safety exam. When the officers arrived at Destin Marina, they contacted the livery owners. The owner was issued a notice to appear citation for renting a pontoon to an operator without the required boating safety education card.

WALTON COUNTY

Lieutenant Clark and Officer Wilkenson responded to Grayton Beach State Park to assist the Walton County Sheriff’s Office regarding a subject who fled from deputies. The subject was hiding in a thick wooded area inside the state park. The subject had an active felony warrant out of Bay County. With the assistance of a K-9 unit, the subject was located quickly and was safely taken into custody. The subject was issued a no trespass warning.

Officer Tison responded to assist Walton County deputies with a subject threatening to commit suicide aboard a vessel on the Choctawhatchee Bay. Officer Tison launched his patrol vessel and assisted the deputies in gaining access to the subject’s vessel and securing it. The subject became compliant and he was safely placed in custody for treatment.

WAKULLA COUNTY

Officer Carr was patrolling near the border of Wakulla Springs State Park checking a bait site that he and Officer Hofheinz had located the week before. The site was baited with approximately 50 to 100 pounds of corn spread out on the ground and in a pile within 80 yards from a ground blind. An adult subject and a juvenile were at the ground blind. Officer Carr gathered the evidence and issued the subject a citation for hunting turkeys less than 100 yards from game feeding station.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Maltais and Rockwell taught the law portion of a Hunter Education class. There were 39 students with several parents in attendance for the spring class. Several related questions were answered. Officer Maltais served as a firearm instructor for the follow-on skills evaluation portion of the class.

Officer Jarvis and Lieutenant Clark assisted the Park Staff and Gulfarium Staff at Henderson Beach State Park with the release of two loggerhead turtles and three green turtles. Four of the sea turtles were rescued during the recent cold snap. The other sea turtle had a fish hook removed. There were approximately 400 to 500 people who attended. The officers provided security and traffic control.

SEARCH AND RESCUES
OKALOOSA COUNTY

While patrolling the Choctawhatchee River, Officer Tison was flagged down by kayakers who reported that one of their party had flipped his kayak and was in distress. The kayaker was hanging onto a limb and his flipped kayak when Officer Tison arrived. Officer Tison got the man into his patrol vessel and safely returned him to a nearby boat ramp.

JEFFERSON COUNTY

Officer Brookes was on routine patrol when he received a call regarding a search and rescue on the Wacissa River. Four females and one male rented five kayaks and launched from the headwaters. Two of the kayaks sank about 6.6 miles from the headwaters and the party of five became stranded. Officer Brookes responded to the headwaters and located all 5 kayakers at Yaeger Mound Hunt Camp. They were cold, but all five were safe and uninjured. Officer Brookes placed them in his patrol boat and returned them to the headwaters where two Jefferson County deputies were waiting. The kayakers sat in the deputies’ patrol vehicles to warm up. The original caller helped shuttle the kayakers to their vehicle and they all returned home safely.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
TAYLOR COUNTY

Officers Wilder and Robson were working youth turkey hunt opening day at a location where they had previously found a baited site with a blind nearby. Three areas were baited within 100 yards of the blind at 52 yards, 36 yards and 17 yards. Just before daylight, a vehicle pulled in and an male subject and juvenile walked into the baited area and got into the blind. A short while later after day break the subject was heard calling turkeys from the blind. The officers identified themselves and cited the adult subject for unlawfully hunting turkeys within 100 yards of a baited area.

BAKER COUNTY

Officer Barber was working opening weekend of turkey season on a baited site that he had found several weeks earlier. After daylight, a subject set out a turkey decoy, entered a hunting ground blind, and begin to call for turkeys. The subject was hunting in proximity of the bait and was cited for attempting to take turkeys over a baited area.

UNION COUNTY

Officer Gill was working active bait sites during the opening of turkey season and saw a subject enter one of the baited sites after daylight and begin to call for turkeys. The subject was cited for attempting to take turkey over a baited area. Later in the morning, Officer Gill checked another bait site several miles away. At that location, a subject was found calling for turkeys with a decoy in close proximity of the bait. The subject was cited for attempting to take turkey over a baited area.

Officers Fanelli, Tyler, Burnsed, and Gill were working a hunting club during the opening of turkey season that contained numerous active bait sites. The officers positioned themselves in several different locations to check for illegal turkey hunting activity. Shortly after daylight, the officers observed five subjects go to each of the bait sites that were discovered previously. All the subjects began to actively call for turkeys at their locations. All five subjects were cited for attempting to take turkey over baited areas.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officers Ward, Edson, North, Sapp, Bellville, Lieutenant Baer and Captain Frerking teamed up with investigators Jabluszewski and Wilkenson to patrol three different properties on opening day of spring turkey season. Blind locations that were baited with cracked corn and bird seed just prior to the season opener were located on all three of the properties. As a result of the investigative efforts, four criminal citations were issued for attempting to take turkeys within 100 yards of bait.

MARION COUNTY

Towards the end of the 2017 spring gobbler season, Officer Dias observed evidence that a gobbler had been killed over an active feeding station. Prior to the 2018 season, Officers Dias and Rice checked the same piece of property and located two hunting blinds set up within 25 yards of automatic feeders filled with cracked corn. On opening morning, Officer Dias set up surveillance approximately 30 yards behind the hunting blind. Just before daylight, Officer Dias heard footsteps approach the blind and heard the zipper closing on the blind. After approximately an hour of surveillance, with a gobbler gobbling very close, Officer Dias heard hen turkey calls emitting from the blind. Officer Dias made contact with the subject who was actively hunting with a compound bow. The subject was cited for attempting to take turkey within 100 yards of an active feeding station.

On the opening morning of turkey season, Officer Hargabus was conducting surveillance on private land in Reddick where he located a ground blind in an area baited with cracked corn. Shortly before daybreak, Officer Hargabus observed a man place three hen turkey decoys 20 yards in front of the blind where corn was on the ground and take position in the blind. Shortly thereafter, he heard a hen turkey call coming from the blind. At safe light, Officer Hargabus made contact with the subject who was hunting with a shotgun. The subject admitted to placing the bait and was issued a notice to appear for attempting to take turkey within 100 yards of a bait station.

SUMTER COUNTY

On opening morning of spring turkey season Officer Phillips and Investigator Douglas checked a subject who was actively hunting turkeys in a blind less than 25 yards from a feeder with cracked corn. During the investigation, the subject denied that anyone else was hunting on the property. Officer Phillips and Investigator Douglas went with the subject to the two other feeders on the property and found another subject actively hunting turkeys in a box stand within 35 yards of a feeder containing cracked corn and bird seed. Both subjects were cited appropriately.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officer Campbell was dispatched to a gopher tortoise complaint and found a piece of property that was being mechanically cleared of underbrush. He also found that there were four gopher tortoise burrows on site, one of which had been disturbed. Officer Campbell found that the property owner had made an application for development with the county which changed the land status and they would need a permit to clear. The landowner will need to get a disturbed lands permit from FWC and the appropriate paperwork was issued.

Officer Miller and NOAA/National Marine Fisheries Service Enforcement Officer Boots ventured offshore and conducted a day-long JEA patrol of the area fishing sites east and northeast of St. Augustine Inlet. The two officers boarded a commercial shrimping vessel and several recreational vessels. Officer Miller issued multiple federal citations to include: three to subjects who harvested red drum from federal waters, possession of undersized vermillion snapper, failure to maintain vermillion snapper in whole condition, and harvesting red snapper during closed season.

Officers Lawrence and Thomas conducted JEA patrol out of St. Augustine Inlet and boarded several recreational fishing vessels out to about 20 miles offshore. During one boarding, the officers received a tip from the vessel’s captain about a smaller skiff-type boat with a fishing party that harvested and filleted multiple red snapper. Upon locating the vessel that matched the description of the skiff, the officers observed the captain actively cleaning the deck of the vessel with a scrub brush in his hand. Officer Lawrence boarded the skiff and during his inspection located one red drum in a cooler along with a Ziploc bag of fish fillets tucked up under the back platform. The vessel’s captain admitted to catching and filleting four red snapper. Officer Lawrence issued him a federal citation for harvesting red drum from federal waters, harvesting red snapper from federal waters during closed season, and possession of red snapper not in whole condition while on federal waters.

Officers Harris and Lawrence were on JEA patrol off St. Augustine Inlet in state waters. During a resource inspection, the officers located two undersized red snapper on board the vessel. Officer Harris issued the subject a citation for undersized red snapper.

PUTNAM COUNTY

Officers Wester and Mason were conducting surveillance on a hunting blind within 15 feet of cracked corn and birdseed when they observed two subjects with a gun enter the blind. Within a few minutes, one of the subjects began calling for turkeys. A short while later the officers contacted the subjects. One subject admitted to putting out bait before the hunt and not making sure it was gone. He was issued a citation for the offense.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officers Campbell, Lawshe and Ramsey were called to the St. Augustine Beach area to check on a stranded manatee. They found a young manatee in distress. A biologist arrived and stated it would have to be taken in for medical attention. The crew of officers and bystanders loaded the young manatee into an FWC trailer for transport.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
BREVARD COUNTY

Port K9 Officer Sidor, K9 Harry and Investigator Wayne participated in an outreach event and K9 demonstration for second graders at Manatee Elementary School in Viera. There were approximately 100 students in attendance.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HERNANDO COUNTY

Officers Little and Henry located a baited area on private land leading up to the opening of spring turkey season. Two subjects were observed hunting over the baited area. The subjects were cited accordingly.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on water patrol near downtown Tampa, Lieutenant Van Trees stopped a vessel to conduct a boating safety inspection. During the inspection, signs of impairment from the operator were apparent and the subject was asked to do some field sobriety exercises. After completing the field sobriety exercises with the subject, it was determined that the subject was under the influence and the subject was arrested for boating under the influence (BUI). At the Hillsborough County jail, the subject refused to provide a sample of his breath for testing. The subject was booked into jail for BUI and refusal to submit to a breath test.

Officers Martinez and Phillippi were on water patrol near the Courtney Campbell Causeway when they stopped a personal watercraft (PWC) to conduct a boating safety inspection. Immediately after stopping the PWC, the officers noticed signs of impairment from the operator. Field sobriety exercises were administered and the operator was determined to be under the influence and was subsequently arrested for BUI. The operator was verbally combative and argumentative. Once at the Hillsborough County jail, the operator provided a breath sample of .151, nearly twice the legal limit and an enhanced penalty. The operator was booked into the jail for BUI.

Officer Martinez and Lieutenant Van Trees were at Marjorie Park in downtown Tampa and observed a vessel in the middle of the channel operating suspiciously. During a boating safety inspection, the officers noticed numerous signs of impairment from the operator. Officer Martinez conducted field sobriety exercises and subsequently arrested the subject for boating under the influence. A sample of the operator’s breath registered a BAC of .10. The subject was booked into the Hillsborough County jail for BUI.

While on water patrol near the Courtney Campbell Causeway, Officers Phillippi and Martinez stopped a vessel returning to the ramp to conduct a boating safety inspection. During their interaction with the operator they noticed signs of impairment. Officer Martinez conducted field sobriety exercises with the subject, and at the conclusion found the operator of the vessel to be impaired. The operator was arrested for boating under the influence and booked into the Hillsborough County jail.

LEE COUNTY

While on uniformed patrol, Officer Hardgrove encountered a commercial fisherman who had just finished pulling in and clearing his nets. There were four seine nets in the well deck area of the boat, with two of them inside his small "kicker" boat. This arrangement of nets appeared to be used for getting around state law prohibiting the use of more than two nets from a boat. The officer explained that subjects must use their "kicker" boat as a separate boat, and either tow it, paddle it or push it to deploy the nets out of it, and then work the nets back into the boat. The subject stated that he was familiar with the law. Approximately 45 minutes later, Officer Hardgrove returned to the same area and observed the same subject as he deployed his four nets and "kicker" boat from his main boat around a school of fish. He then retrieved all four nets back into his main boat. At no point did he use the "kicker" boat to deploy or retrieve the two nets that were carried in it. Additionally, the weights and rings that assist in pulling each net off the boat were all placed onboard the main boat. The subject was issued a notice to appear for using more than two nets from one vessel. His main boat, "kicker" boat, nets, and fish were seized. The subject has a history for the same violation within the past year.

While on water patrol Officer Hardgrove initiated a resource inspection on an individual fishery quota (IFQ) vessel returning from offshore waters. The grouper and snapper appeared to be within legal allocation and size requirements. However, when Officer Hardgrove asked if there were any other fish onboard, the captain stated that there were some African pompano as well. Officer Hardgrove located four African pompano onboard the vessel. The captain was issued a notice to appear for over the commercial vessel limit of African pompano.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Klobuchar was conducting fishery inspections on the South Skyway Fishing Pier and approached a group of people who were fishing. Two coolers were in the trunk of their vehicle. The subject opened the first cooler and showed Officer Klobuchar that it was full of food and drinks. The second cooler contained an undersized and out of season gag grouper. The subject was issued a citation for possession of gag grouper during closed season and a written warning was issued for possession of undersized gag grouper.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on water patrol near Pass-a-Grille, Officers Bibeau and Bibler stopped a vessel for a resource inspection. During the inspection, Officer Bibeau located an undersized red grouper and an undersized gray triggerfish. None of the occupants onboard wanted to take responsibility for the undersized fish and claimed they didn’t know who caught them. After further investigation, Officer Bibeau cited the captain of the vessel for possession of undersized triggerfish and warned him for undersized red grouper.

While offshore of Johns Pass, Officer Bibeau and Officer Bibler stopped a vessel returning from offshore to conduct a fisheries inspection. A resource inspection revealed two red snapper hidden in a large cooler, one of which was undersized. Officer Bibeau read the occupants of the vessel their Miranda rights and after some questioning, the operator admitted to catching both fish. Officer Bibler cited the operator for the fisheries violations.

Officer Phillippi observed a subject trespassing on SWFWMD property behind a fence that was posted “No Trespassing.” The area has had numerous problems with people trespassing on the fenced off weir. Officer Phillippi approached the subject who was fishing from the closed area and addressed the violation with him. The subject was cited for trespassing.

While on water patrol, Lieutenant Wells and Officers Pettifer and Hughes observed a vessel actively engaged in fishing. A resource inspection revealed the captain of the vessel to be in possession of one undersized red grouper. The captain was cited for possession of undersized red grouper and the fish was returned to the water alive.

While Officer Pettifer was on land patrol he observed an individual fishing from a water control structure owned by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The structure was clearly marked with no trespassing signs and access to the structure was restricted by a fence. After conducting a resource inspection, the individual was cited for trespassing.

While on water patrol, Lieutenant Wells, Officer Pettifer, and Officer Hughes observed two individuals actively fishing from a vessel. A resource inspection revealed the individuals to be in possession of two gag grouper during closed season, four undersized red grouper, and two undersized triggerfish. The two individuals were cited accordingly.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
HERNANDO COUNTY

Hernando and Pasco County officers responded and assisted the Sheriff’s Office with a bomb threat at a local high school.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MANATEE COUNTY

Lieutenant Hinds was asked to give a speech at a Masonic Lodge and talked to a small group of about twenty, and gave the men a general overview of the FWC, its different divisions, and the missions which drive the Division of Law Enforcement. He also talked about general boating safety regulations, boating under the influence enforcement, and answered many questions about fisheries regulations. Lieutenant Hinds spoke and answered questions for about 40 minutes and the men were very appreciative of his time.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Lieutenant Hinds was asked to speak on behalf of the FWC at a National Accreditation hearing for the St. Petersburg Police Department. The hearing was held at St. Petersburg City Hall and the event was open to the public. Lieutenant Hinds gave a statement to the National Accreditation Board complimenting the St. Petersburg Police Department and reaffirming the great relationship that the FWC has with the City of St. Petersburg. Accreditation for a police agency is achieving and maintaining the highest level of standards an agency can have. It also shows the public that the agency is committed to giving its citizens the very best service possible. The FWC has just received its third reaccreditation this year.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
GLADES COUNTY

Officer Brodbeck was on land-based water patrol at Sportsman’s Canal boat ramp and saw a vessel load onto a trailer with three occupants and fishing equipment in plain view. A resource inspection revealed 13 black crappie less than the 10 inch size minimum. The vessel owner took responsibility for the violation and was issued a citation for the violations. The fish were photographed and returned to the water.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Brodbeck was on land-based water patrol at night conducting surveillance at the Scott Driver boat ramp and observed a vessel approach the ramp with no navigation lights visible. Upon approach, the officer observed fishing equipment and a bucket of fish in plain view on the deck of the vessel. After inspecting the fish on board, the officer found black crappie measuring less than the required 10 inches. The operator of the vessel was issued a citation for the fisheries violation and a boating citation for not displaying navigation lights at night. The fish were photographed and returned to the water alive. After completing the stop, Officer Brodbeck observed a cargo van traveling Eastbound on State Road 78 with no lights on. The officer was able to catch up to the vehicle and initiated a traffic stop. Using the patrol vehicle spotlight, the officer observed the driver and passenger switch seats inside the vehicle. Upon searching both the driver and passenger through law enforcement databases, the driver of the vehicle was found to have a revoked driver’s license with habitual offender status. The driver was placed under arrest for the felony violation and transported to the Okeechobee County Jail by an Okeechobee Sheriff’s deputy. Located in the rear of the cargo van were four young children, one of whom was an infant, without any type of seatbelt or restraint. FDLE and DCF are investigating possible child endangerment charges against the driver and passenger of the vehicle.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Trawinski, Merizio, and Langley assisted the USCG in conducting a resource inspection of a vessel they intercepted 13 miles off the coast of Boynton Beach. The subjects were found to be in possession of 22 wrung lobster tails, 2 hog snappers, and 50 skinless filets. The subjects said they purchased everything from a Bahamian vessel and were bringing it back home. There are specific regulations for bringing resources back from the Bahamas and federal waters. The subjects were in violation of multiple state laws and issued citations and warnings.

Officer Ryan was on patrol in western Palm Beach County and conducted a freshwater fisheries inspection on a couple of individuals that were fishing near the Miami Canal. Pursuant to the inspection, one individual was placed under arrest for two warrants, one out of Palm Beach and one out of Hendry. He was transported to the jail in Belle Glade.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

While on land patrol targeting spring turkey hunting activity, Investigator Patterson and Officer Allen responded to assist the St. Lucie County Sherriff’s Office with a trespass complaint on private property. Patterson and Allen observed a hunting blind, turkey decoys and a dead bearded Osceola Turkey underneath a large oak tree. Patterson and Allen also observed corn and milo on the ground within 5 feet of the blind. A brief time later, two subjects arrived at the location in a truck. When questioned regarding the dead turkey, the subjects stated they killed it from the blind. One of them shot and missed the turkey using a bow, the other subject killed the turkey using a shotgun. Both subjects also took responsibility for the corn and milo. Investigator Patterson issued both subjects citations for taking turkey over bait. The turkey was seized as evidence and the trespass complaint is pending further investigation.

Officer Payne was called to assist the US Coast Guard with a possible impaired boat operator. It was reported that a commercial fishing vessel operator had been involved in an altercation at a local fish house, leaving the area by boat. The US Coast Guard stopped the vessel and had it return to a dock. While conducting a boarding, the officers with the US Coast Guard observed the operator to have signs of impairment and contacted FWC to conduct a Boating Under the Influence (BUI) investigation. Officer Payne arrived and observed signs of impairment as well. Officer Payne conducted field sobriety tasks and the subject performed poorly. The subject was arrested and transported to the St Lucie County Jail where he provided a breath sample of 0.199 g/210L. A check of his records showed that he had been arrested for (BUI) in North Florida less than a year ago.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Toby responded to a report of a free roaming African warthog. He received multiple eye witness accounts and photographs from homeowners in the area that confirmed it was a warthog. Investigator Toby coordinated a multi-agency response in attempt to capture it and after several days of effort they managed to successfully capture the animal.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Toby was notified by FWC Officer Crosby of a juvenile whitetail deer that was located on a residential property with a collar around its neck. The deer allowed hand feeding and was not afraid of humans. Investigator Toby contacted all permitted captive wildlife stakeholders in the area and this deer was not identified as being part of anyone’s legal stock. With the assistance of Officers Crosby, Fijalkowski, and Investigator Lafoy, the deer was successfully removed from the property and transported to a properly licensed facility.

SEARCH AND RESCUES
MARTIN COUNTY

Officer Webb responded to an RV fire in Jonathan Dickinson State Park. No one was injured, but the RV was a total loss. He assisted the Martin County Sheriff’s Office track down the owner and notify them. Officer Webb then helped the owner gather what was left of his belongings. With the officer’s local knowledge, the displaced camper was able to find lodging and a place to store their kayaks and bikes.

Officer Kirkland responded to the Dupuis WEA about a vehicle accident. All three occupants were uninjured, but due to extensive damage, the vehicle had to be towed. A traffic crash report was taken and the parties involved in the crash were transported to the family campground where they are currently residing.


COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MARTIN COUNTY

Officer Kirkland taught the law portion of the hunter safety course in Palm City.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Three local officers attended FWC dive team training. All team members are now certified rescue divers and overhead/cavern divers. All team members also were trained on the operation of sector scan sonar, side scan sonar, and dry suit operations.

Officer Stone went to Independence Middle School for career day. In the classroom, he spoke to the students about conservation law enforcement. Then they went outside where they learned more about FWC’s specialized equipment. The students enjoyed the hands-on experience.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

The FWC responded to an armed suspect in Oleta River State Park. Witnesses observed a male with a rifle in the brush laying in prone position. In conjunction with other agencies, FWC formed a perimeter and shut down the entrance/exit to the park. The subject was located and the weapon was verified to be a pellet gun. The subject said he fired a few shots in the park to test it out. The subject was educated on rules on discharging a firearm in the park and gun safety.

The FWC was contacted by two subjects who reported that numerous animals were allegedly stolen from their possession. The animals included nine monkeys, seven lemurs, twenty tortoises, and several species of birds. The same individuals that reported this theft had eight kinkajous removed from their possession the previous week by FWC’s captive wildlife section. Captive Wildlife Investigator Smith received information that the animals were not stolen and that the owners themselves placed the animals at an out of state facility. Investigator Smith initiated a multi-agency investigation into the allegation and secured a written statement and pictures from the out of state facility where the animals were relocated. Investigators Smith and Landa assisted Miami Dade Police in apprehending the subjects on multiple felony charges for filing the false police report.

MONROE COUNTY

Lieutenant Payne and Officer Piekenbrock were on water patrol on Stock Island in the Lower Keys. They observed a commercial crawfish vessel, loaded with traps, returning to the docks. The vessel was stopped to conduct a marine resource inspection. Upon inspection, a garbage can partially covered with trash was discovered. Hidden in the garbage can were 175 wrung spiny lobster tails, 133 of which were undersized. A bag containing what appeared to be reef fish filets was also discovered. The captain and mate were arrested and transported to the Stock Island Jail where they were cited appropriately for the violations.

Officers Garrison and Carroll were dispatched to help the local sheriff’s office with a violation of an injunction/restraining order on a vessel. Due to high winds and rough seas, the officers made a quick approach and boarded the vessel. The subject refused to come out and attempted to conceal himself in a forward sitting area of the vessel. Officer Carroll spotted the subject and ordered him to show his hands. He initially refused but then complied and was taken into custody. The subject resisted lawful orders from Officer Garrison to remain seated and was escorted back to land and turned over to a local sheriff’s deputy for transport to the jail. The suspect was charged with violating a no contact order and resisting without violence.

Investigator Mattson was on unmarked water patrol when he received a call about possible trap robbing on the bayside in Islamorada. A single diver was seen in the water hoisting up a PVC pipe. The pipe was dumped into the boat and put back in the water. Investigator Mattson approached quickly and identified himself as FWC law enforcement. Inside the boat were 10 undersized spiny lobsters and 11 lobsters over the legal bag limit. The suspect was also charged with diving on artificial habitat. The appropriate citations were issued.

Investigator Williams, Officers Garcia and Petru witnessed an individual actively fishing near Conch Reef. Upon inspection of the subject’s catch, he was found to be in possession of a black grouper and was in the process of fileting fish that was stuffed under a seat in the stern of his boat. The subject was cited for possession of Black grouper during closed season, possession of fish not in whole condition, and interference with an FWC officer.

Officer Petru observed a vessel approaching Snake Creek. The vessel had fishing gear in plain view and a resource inspection of the operator’s cooler revealed a red grouper and a gray triggerfish with the tails cut off. The subject was cited for possession of red grouper during closed season and possession of an undersized gray triggerfish.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Kleis and Arbogast were conducting night water patrol when they observed a commercial fishing vessel returning from offshore. A resource inspection revealed a gag grouper in one of the vessel’s coolers. The captain stated that he kept the grouper for himself. Gag grouper season is open June 1st – December 31st. The captain was charged with possession of an out of season gag grouper and the fish was seized as evidence.

Officer Thurkettle conducted a resource inspection on a vessel 20 miles offshore and found four undersized red grouper inside the live well along with several other baitfish. The subject admitted catching the grouper and stated he planned on using them for bait. The subject was cited appropriately for possession of undersized red grouper and for over the bag limit of red grouper.

SEARCH AND RESCUES
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Garcia and Petru responded to a boating accident where a sailboat got caught under the Whale Harbor Bridge and was about to capsize. Officers responded quickly from Tavernier Creek. Upon arrival the owner/operator was still onboard his vessel and acknowledged he was ok and that no others were in the water. Officers gave him a life jacket, got him aboard the FWC vessel, and called a towing salvage company to come pull the sailboat out from under the bridge. The cause of the accident was due to a strong current that pulled the sailboat into the bridge – wedging the mast under the bridge.

USCG called FWC and advised of a medical emergency at Tarpon Belly Key in Kemp Channel where five people spent the weekend camping. The vessel the campers were using was aground on the beach due to the tide going out while they were sleeping. There was a 39-year-old female having severe abdominal pain that was requesting immediate medical assistance. USCG advised FWC that they could not respond due to the low water level at low tide. FWC dispatch called Officer Messier at his residence and he responded. When Officer Messier arrived at Tarpon Belly Key he found the victim and assisted her into the patrol boat. Officer Messier transported her back to shore to EMS at Venture Out Marina and she was taken to the hospital.

Officer Sapp received a call regarding a vessel in distress near Bahia Honda Key. A concerned citizen stated that as he drove by on the bridge, he observed a blue center console vessel with two children onboard taking on water and on the verge of sinking. Within fifteen minutes, multiple FWC vessels and two land officers were in the area searching for the vessel. Officer Carroll observed a vessel matching the description heading into a local boat ramp. Officer Carroll assisted the subjects by getting the vessel out of the water moments before sinking. A vessel inspection revealed the operators were new boat owners and forgot to install the drain plug before launching. Although the children were wearing floatation devices, the vessel had numerous safety violations.

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  Horseshoe Beach
Posted by: PipeDream - 03-26-2018, 09:53 PM - Forum: Misc Topics - No Replies

Horseshoe Beach is coming alive again.  The fishing has been good, the restaurant is now open again (where Panama Paul's store used to be) after being destroyed in the hurricane, the marina is cleaned up and open for business as well as the bar. More parking for the marina.  New folks moving into town each week.
Alas, we have sold our place there after 18 years of loving Horseshoe.  Climbing 15' of stairs is just too much for a couple of old folks, and getting out fishing is becoming work instead of fun.  So, reluctantly we sold the house and boat and golf cart.  So sad, but I think the new owners will love the place as much as we did.  We still have a lot of friends there as well as a lot where we can bring our camper so we will be back!

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  FWC Enforcement Report March 9-15. All Regions.
Posted by: bigefromlc - 03-23-2018, 12:19 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
FRANKLIN COUNTY

Officers Kossey and Travis were on patrol in the Eastpoint area and observed a vessel returning from harvesting oysters traveling east in the Eastpoint Channel. They stopped the boat near Barber’s Seafood, inspected a bag of oysters and found the subject to be in possession of undersized oysters. After counting and measuring each individual oyster, they determined the bag contained 53% undersized oysters. The subject was cited and 208 undersized oysters were returned to the water alive.

GULF COUNTY

Officer Webb received information from Communications that a subject was harvesting undersized black drum and stowing them in a truck parked nearby. Upon arrival, two individuals were seen actively fishing and a resource inspection revealed 23 black drum, seven of which were undersized, and one undersized Spanish mackerel. Both individuals were charged with taking over the daily limit and undersized black drum. Written warnings were issued for the undersized mackerel and for fishing without a license for one subject.

WAKULLA COUNTY

While conducting vessel patrol on the Ochlockonee River, Officer Nelson conducted a resource inspection of a recreational fishing vessel occupied by several individuals. Prior to the inspection, the captain of the vessel stated they harvested several catfish and croakers. During the inspection, it was determined the occupants of the vessel were in possession of seven undersized mangrove snapper. Appropriate action was taken regarding the violation.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Officer Gore was on patrol around Culpepper Landing on Holmes Creek at night when he conducted a boating and fisheries inspection on a vessel with two individuals onboard returning to the landing. The vessel was being operated without navigation lights, had no life jackets, and no registration paperwork on board. Further inspection revealed illegally harvested freshwater gamefish by illegal method (gigged shellcracker and bass). The subjects were issued the appropriate citations and warnings for the violations.


Officer Gore was patrolling Econfina Wildlife Management Area when he observed a subject fishing from an unregistered vessel on Rattlesnake Lake. As the individual was leaving, he requested to perform a resource inspection. The subject exited the vehicle and began walking toward the vessel, then fled on foot while Officer Gore was reviewing the subject’s identification. A subsequent search of the area ensued, but the individual was not located. However, positive identification was made and further investigation revealed numerous boating violations, active warrants, a fishing license suspension, and habitual driver’s license suspensions. Appropriate charges have been filed with the State Attorney’s Office for the numerous violations.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
GILCHRIST COUNTY

Officer Butler received information that subjects were actively hunting during the closed season in the Log Landing Wildlife Management Area. At the scene, evidence was found indicating someone had recently been hunting the area. Officer Butler followed fresh ATV sign on foot and contacted the subject. Following a brief interview, the subject admitted to hunting in the management area. The subject was issued a notice to appear for hunting in the management area during the closed season.

SUWANNEE COUNTY

Lieutenant Humphries and Officer Boone worked several bait sites during the Youth Spring Turkey Hunt weekend. After daylight, Officer Boone observed a subject come into one of the bait sites, climb into a tree stand and begin to call for turkeys. The subject admitted to knowing the bait was there and that it was youth turkey season. The subject was cited for attempting to take turkey over bait and attempting to take turkey during a closed season.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
SUWANNEE COUNTY

Officer Reith attended a hunter education class at the Bass Pro Shops in Gainesville. Several people were in attendance. Officer Reith answered questions and explained rules and regulations to the public.

Officer Boone attended an agricultural outreach event at Branford High School and talked about FWC’s mission and what it takes to become an FWC officer. A total of 350 students attended this event.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
ALACHUA COUNTY

After receiving a request from Alachua Sheriff’s Office regarding a missing boater, Lt. Ferguson, Officers Troiano, Harris, Reith and Drew from Alachua County and Lt. Futch and Officer Butler from Dixie County responded to Newnans Lake. After several days of searching, FWC Lt. Farmer and Officer Reith located and recovered the missing boater. Alachua Sheriff’s Office were notified and the missing boater was released to the Medical Examiner’s office.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officer Malicoat conducted a resource inspection on a subject who was actively fishing from a vessel. A license query indicated that his fishing and hunting privileges had been suspended by the court for failing to pay child support. He was issued a criminal citation for the offense.

PUTNAM COUNTY

Officer Mason was on patrol at Rodman Dam when he conducted a fisheries inspection on a subject placing fish in a cooler. Upon looking in the cooler, it was found that the subject was in possession of two black bass over 16 inches. The subject was issued a citation for being in possession of more than one black bass over 16 inches in length.

FLAGLER COUNTY

Officer Campbell worked opening day of youth turkey season. He found a baited site with a blind that had two chairs in it and was in position behind the blind on opening morning and watched an adult and juvenile enter the blind just before daylight. After a few minutes went by he could heard someone calling on a turkey call from the blind. Officer Campbell contacted them and he observed scratch feed all over the ground in front of the blind. A citation was issued to the adult for attempting to take turkey within one hundred yards of feed.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officers Thomas and Lawrence conducted a JEA patrol out of St. Augustine Inlet for several hours. The officers conducted 14 JEA boardings/inspections in federal and state waters and found six vessels with fisheries violations. The officers issued three misdemeanor citations, four fisheries warnings, one uniform boating citation, and two warnings for vessel safety gear violations. The fisheries violations included: possession of oversized (state slot limit) red drum harvested in federal waters, possession of undersized cobia, and possession of 11 undersized red snapper on state waters.

BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Hallsten was observing fishermen at Haulover Canal when he saw a subject catch a very large redfish and quickly put it in his vehicle. The subject packed up his fishing equipment quickly and left. Officer Hallsten conducted a traffic stop for a resource inspection and found that the redfish was 37 ½ inches. Officer Hallsten issued a citation for possession of oversized redfish.

During the second week of March, Officer Humphrey put together targeted enforcement action plan (TEA) named “Safety Sailboat” to assist the U.S. Coast Guard during their annual Operation Gatekeeper detail. This detail was organized to conduct boating safety and marine sanitation device inspections on transit live aboard vessels. FWC Officers Humphrey, Balgo, Miller, Maslo, Wehner, Rasey, Hallsten, Eller and multiple Coast Guard boarding officers conducted more than 30 boardings to include 70 user checks, 27 warnings, 4 citations (3 for discharge of human waste into state waters), 4 verbal warnings and one disabled vessel assist.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

While on vessel patrol at Sebastian Inlet, Lieutenant Lightsey and Officer Cybula observed two men returning to a local boat ramp. After approaching the vessel to conduct a resource inspection, the officers observed fish lying on the deck of the vessel. After speaking with the men, they stated that they had sharks and Spanish mackerel in their fish box. An inspection revealed the men were in possession of three sharks. The vessel limit for sharks is two per vessel in State waters. A citation was issued for the offense.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
LAKE COUNTY

Lieutenant Chase along with Officers Bresie and Morrow responded to a distress call regarding a couple with a 1-year-old child lost in Wekiwa Springs State Park. Deputies from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office also responded. The couple left the Wekiva River because their float was losing air. They didn’t know their location and they couldn’t make their way back. Their cell phone located them off the river in Rock Springs Run Reserve and not the state park. With Officer Bresie’s assistance, Lieutenant Chase located the couple and baby just before sunset. All were safely returned to their vehicle.

BREVARD COUNTY

While on patrol, Officers Maslo and Luce, along with Lieutenant Davis responded to a search and rescue just north of the NASA Causeway in the Indian River. The winds were 25+ MPH out of the northwest causing the southeast corner of the Indian River to experience rough waters. The occupants were fishing just north of the 405 when they decided to return to the Parrish Park Boat Ramp. They were having issues getting their vessel on plane so the operator tilted the motor while applying power. This caused the vessel to bog down and take on water over the transom of the vessel. As the vessel quickly began filling with water, the occupants put on their life vests and called 911. Officer Luce, along with Titusville Fire Rescue responded by water. Titusville Fire Rescue arrived on scene and retrieved the occupants from their vessel just as it started to capsize. They transported them to Kennedy Point Park where Officer Maslo and Lieutenant Davis had arrived by land. The occupants were unharmed and released by EMS. The vessel was recovered by the occupant the following day. FWC is conducting the accident investigation.

MULTI-AGENCY PARTICIPATION
ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officer Miller participated in a maritime multi-agency training exercise focusing on the proper and safe deployment of Visual Distress Signals (VDS)/flares offshore of St. Augustine Inlet. U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) personnel from USCG Station Mayport coordinated and led the evening training for personnel from the FWC, St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, St. Johns County Fire-Rescue, St. Augustine Fire-Rescue, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Patrol.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
MARION COUNTY

Marion County officers, along with FWC biologists, participated in a two-day proactive detail targeting known problem areas where bear-human conflicts are an ongoing issue. During the detail officers and biologists contacted residents in these areas to educate them via face-to-face conversations and to distribute literature informing them of the things they can do to prevent bear-human conflict. Additionally, enforcement action was taken at several sites where issues were discovered. This detail resulted in 65 face-to-face contacts, 72 pieces of literature distributed, 5 non-compliance letters, 1 civil citation, and 1 misdemeanor citation.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Miller was accompanied by Staff Sargent Stoltz of Patrick Air Force Base (PAFB) as part of an article documenting the joint efforts of FWC and PAFB security forces. Staff Sargent Stoltz documented Officer Miller’s activity with a write up and photographs of his interaction with the public utilizing Florida’s natural resources while on Air Force base property. Since the beginning of 2018, FWC has been providing additional security and patrols on AFB properties. This day of patrol was part of an article being written to inform base personnel of the increased patrols, as well as to give them information regarding fish and wildlife rules and regulations.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officers Price and Perry were in a wildlife management area early one morning when they heard several shots prior to shooting hours during the turkey season. Within minutes they heard footsteps coming through the woods and saw two men cross a trail carrying a shotgun and a turkey. The officers told the men to stop but they took off running towards a nearby private property. As they ran the men threw down the shotgun, the turkey, and a bag of marijuana. The officers continued to yell, “police stop,” and one of them stopped. The other man attempted to get to the private property but he got caught up in a barbed wire fence on the property boundary, and Officer Perry was able to apprehend him. K-9 Officers Stasko and Collazo, Officer Mitchell, Lieutenant Ruggiero, and Glades County Sheriff’s Department came to the scene to assist. The men admitted they were planning to hunt turkeys on the management area the day before and knew they were not supposed to be there. K-9 was used to backtrack where the men were hunting and located four spent shotgun shells and a pile of turkey feathers and blood. When the officers identified the men, one of them was on probation for a previous narcotics and road-hunting violation. His probation officer was contacted and informed of the violations. Both men were arrested and delivered to the county jail where they were charged with a variety of violations including taking turkey during non-hunting hours, violation of probation, possession of marijuana, and failing to check in and check out of the management area. They were also issued citations for not possessing a valid quota permit, no turkey permit, and no hunting license.

HERNANDO COUNTY


Officer Sehl was on patrol at Bayport Park and Boat Ramp and contacted a vehicle that was parked in a closed area. Three of the four subjects inside were found to be in possession of marijuana. The three subjects were cited accordingly.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Lieutenant Van Trees, Officers Wilkins and Phillippi were on patrol at the Courtney Campbell Causeway. Officer Wilkins stopped a vessel for a boating safety inspection which was docking at the Courtney Campbell Boat Ramp. Tthe operator was exhibiting signs of impairment and standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs) were conducted. The operator performed poorly on all tasks. The operator was arrested for operating under the influence and transported to the Hillsborough County jail. The operator refused to provide a breath sample. During their patrol at the Courtney Campbell Boat Ramp a total of 12 UBCs were issued which included one misdemeanor title violation and one operating under the influence.

While on patrol at the Skyway Fishing Pier, Officer Pettifer observed an individual fishing. Through the course of a resource inspection Officer Pettifer discovered the individual to be in possession of six undersized mangrove snapper and one undersized black drum. The individual was cited for possession of undersized and over the bag limit of mangrove snapper and issued a warning for possession of undersized black drum.

LEE COUNTY

Officers Price and Furbay responded to a complaint about shots being fired on private property. When they arrived, they observed a large party in the woods. The property where the party was occurring was private and none of the people had permission to be on the property. As the officers began issuing trespass notices to the individuals, Officer Price observed a vehicle stuck in a ditch. The operator seemed to be attempting to get Officer Price away from the vehicle. Officer Price ran the subject’s identification and found he had an active warrant for his arrest. He also smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle so he conducted a search of the vehicle. The search revealed marijuana hidden under the seat. The subject was arrested for the warrant and issued two misdemeanors for possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.

Officer Price was on plain clothes patrol when he observed a man fishing from the beach. As he watched the man he saw him catch and keep several fish putting them in a cooler. At one point he saw the man catch a small snook which the subject buried in the sand. The subject was stopped as he was preparing to leave the area. A resource inspection revealed six undersized snook and two undersized trout. The man admitted to catching all the fish using a cast net. He was issued misdemeanors for possession of undersized snook, illegal method of catching snook, possession of snook over the bag limit, and possession of undersized trout – in addition to an infraction for not possessing a snook permit.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Gonzales was on water patrol around Long Boat Pass and stopped a subject on a PWC that was operating carelessly. During the stop it became quickly apparent that the operator was under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. After field sobriety tasks were administered, the subject was placed under arrest for boating under the influence. The operator refused to submit to a breath test and was given a civil citation of five hundred dollars for refusal to submit. He was taken to Manatee County jail and will have to appear in court for his violations.

Officer Dalton was on land patrol around Anna Maria Island and performed a fisheries inspection on a man cast netting fish off the Manatee Avenue Bridge leading onto the island. During the inspection, it was discovered that the subject had cast netted three snook, all of which were undersized. The man was issued two citations for possession of over the bag limit of snook and snook taken by illegal method. He will have to appear in court for his violations. He was also given a warning for possession of undersized snook.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land patrol in South Pinellas County, Officer Bibeau observed an individual actively fishing from the shoreline with a large cast net. A resource inspection found the subject to be in possession of an undersized snook and a mangrove snapper. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of an undersized snook and harvest of a snook with the use of a net, along with multiple warnings for other fisheries violations.

While on water patrol in South Pinellas County, Officer Bibeau observed three individuals actively fishing from the shoreline. A resource inspection located an undersized snook and an undersized black drum. Officer Bibeau wrote one of the subjects a misdemeanor citation for possession of an undersized snook and a warning for the other fisheries violation.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

FWC officers were involved in the apprehension of a subject who was involved in a two-vessel accident in May 2015. Two occupants were killed during this boating accident. The investigation resulted in an arrest warrant being issued by the Broward County State Attorney’s Office for a total of twelve felonies and three misdemeanor charges against the operator. The charges included vessel homicide, BUI manslaughter, and three navigational rule violations.

During opening weekend of Spring turkey season, Officer Matthews was on patrol in the Big Cypress WMA and observed a hunt camp located on private property within the management area. He noticed fresh corn on the ground, ground blinds and a camouflaged subject close by (30 yards from the bait). He contacted the subject who admitted to attempting to take turkey over bait. He was issued a citation and the evidence was photographed.

GLADES COUNTY

Officer Brodbeck was on land-based water patrol and observed a vessel actively fishing the Harney Pond Canal. The officer saw two subjects catching and keeping black crappie, several of which appeared undersized. Once the vessel stopped fishing and returned to the ramp, a boating safety and resource inspection was conducted. Located on the deck of the vessel was a bucket containing 21 black crappie, 6 of which measured less than the required 10 inches for Lake Okeechobee waters. When searched through the FWC law enforcement database, both subjects had prior FWC violations. One subject took responsibility for the undersized fish and was issued a citation for the violation. The fish were photographed and returned to the water.

Officer Brodbeck was on land-based water patrol at Harney Pond Canal boat ramp conducting boating safety and resource inspections. The officer contacted a vessel with two subjects at the ramp. Both subjects stated that they caught and kept several black (largemouth) bass. Upon receiving consent to inspect the vessel, 4 black bass were in the live-well of the vessel, 3 of which were larger than 16 inches. The daily limit for black bass over 16 inches is 1 per person. One subject took responsibility for the bag limit violation and was issued a citation. One black bass was returned alive to the water.

MARTIN COUNTY

Officer Willems was on patrol in Dupuis WEA when he was informed by the area biologist that there was an illegal campsite at the entrance to the Cooter creek trail. An inspection of the campsite determined it to be abandoned. An investigation identified a responsible party, who was contacted and informed of the violations and the rules pertaining to pickup of their property.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Loach was on land patrol around Canal Point when he observed two subjects fishing in the West Palm Beach canal. A resource inspection revealed 3 Black Crappie under the Lake Okeechobee 10” minimum length. Both subjects were cited for the violations.

Officer Stone patrolled the Corbett WMA for hunters participating in turkey season. He stopped a vehicle for careless operation. The driver was knowingly driving on a suspended license. The driver was issued warnings for careless operation, no day use permit and a misdemeanor citation for knowingly driving on a suspended license.

Officer Loach was on land patrol around Belle Glade when he observed subjects fishing from a platform into the Hillsborough Canal. A resource inspection revealed a black crappie under the Lake Okeechobee 10” minimum length. Officer Loach was advised by his dispatch center that the subject had been cited previously in 2015 and 2016 for the same offense. The subject was cited for the violation.

Officers Morrow, Godward, Spradling, Trawinski, Pecko, McLeod, Langley, and Boyd, conducted inspections of marine sanitation devices of vessels anchored in Palm Beach County. During the operation, 13 citations were issued, to include y-valve violations, registration, and navigation light violations. In addition, multiple at-risk vessels were identified and will be followed up with in the future.

Officer Loach was on land patrol around Canal Point when he observed two subjects, one carrying a cast net and the other carrying a large basket of fish, walking towards a parked truck. A resource inspection revealed 20 Black Crappie, 15 of which were undersized. During the inspection, noises were heard coming from one of the coolers in the bed of the truck. Upon checking the cooler, Officer Loach discovered an alligator tail, other alligator meat and 4 softshell turtles that were still alive. Investigator Toby, Officer Brevik, and Officer Carroll arrived on scene and assisted with the inspection, during which an additional 61 Black Crappie were discovered, 51 of them being undersized. Multiple firearms were also located (one reported as stolen), drug paraphernalia and a bag of 100 pills which later tested positive for methamphetamine MDMA. The subjects had multiple warrants and were transported and booked into jail. The subjects received multiple misdemeanor and felony charges including possession of an alligator, possession of under-size black crappie, over the bag limit for black crappie, taking of game fish by illegal method, willful waste of wildlife, possession of a stolen firearm and drug charges. The softshell turtles were released back to the water alive.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Brodbeck responded to a report of a juvenile being bitten by a pet red tail boa constrictor snake, causing minor injury to the child’s hand. Captive Wildlife Investigator Toby arrived on scene and interviewed all involved parties. A citation was issued to the owner for the snake bite to the juvenile.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Toby responded to a public safety issue at a gas station in St. Lucie County. While at the station, he observed a fuel pump that had significant damage and was leaking fuel onto the ground on both sides of the pump. Investigator Toby was the first emergency responder on scene and immediately activated his emergency lights, verified it was fuel, and ran into the station to notify management to stop fuel service at the station. He maintained a perimeter around the area where the fuel had spilled out and assisted in pushing a car out of the way that had the spilled fuel under it and posed a hazard if started. He then notified Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) who responded with emergency clean up personnel. Video at the station showed that just prior to the investigator arriving, a truck rammed into the pump and barricade, then fled the scene. The case was turned over to Florida Highway Patrol for further investigation.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Webb, Norbrothen, and Merizio responded to a report of a Jeep with 3 subjects stuck off trail in the Corbett WMA. The subjects reported that one needed medication within a 2-hour time frame and did not have the medication with them. The officers were given approximate GPS coordinates of the vehicle and subjects. When the officers arrived at the GPS coordinates, the vehicle and subjects were no longer there. The officers searched the area for hours and attempted to make contact several times with the subjects but were unable to locate them. Eventually, the missing subjects made it to a location where they had cell reception and called in their new location. The officers advised the subjects to stay at the new location until they could get to them. The officers had to use a swamp buggy to reach the subjects. All three were located and made it out safely.

Officers Norbrothen, Merizio, Webb and Gouveia responded to a search and rescue with a male and female lost in the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area. The individuals were driving off the main road and had gotten their vehicle stuck. They could not extract their vehicle and did not know how to get out. They called FWC dispatch and provided their GPS coordinates. Using the coordinates, the officers reached the individuals by swamp buggy. Upon contact, it was determined the operator of the vehicle was in violation of the management area rules and was issued a citation. The individuals were transported out of the WMA to get a ride home.


MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Trawinski and Investigator Phillips were called to remove an alligator from residential neighborhood in West Palm Beach. The 7-foot alligator was captured and relocated.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Several officers participated in a marine sanitation device inspection detail. Dozens of vessels were inspected for compliance with marine sanitation regulations as well as boating safety and mooring violations. All violations observed were documented with warnings or citations as applicable.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MARTIN COUNTY

Officers Rogers, Brevik, and Carroll gave a presentation to three high school classes at the Martin County High School. They taught students about the FWC and federal fisheries regulations. The officers answered students’ questions about what it is like to be FWC officers, and shared some of their experiences they have had on the job. The outreach event included approximately 60 students. The officers handed out boater safety pamphlets to students who were interested in obtaining boater safety ID cards. The students engaged in open discussions about conservation and law enforcement.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Mann attended the Crusin’ Food Festival at MacArthur Beach State Park, provided general security, answered questions and assisted patrons with navigating the festival. The festival was attended by an estimated 1,000 people. The event was very successful.

Officers Trawinski and Merizio attended a homeowners association meeting with FWC biologist Fraker to assist in educating the members on regulations concerning the removal of non-native species and the cohabitation of native and non-native species.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Officer Dunn received a complaint of three subjects spearfishing snook in a freshwater canal. He observed two subjects on the edge of the canal watching a third subject actively spearfishing in the water. He saw the subject spear a fish and toss it to the subjects on land, where they placed the fish in a blue and white ice chest. A resource inspection revealed a total of six fish, which included one Snook measuring 27 ¾”, one Peacock Bass measuring 14”, one Grass Carp, and three non-regulated fish species. The subject actively spearfishing was cited accordingly to include a citation for fishing in freshwater without a valid freshwater fishing license.

Officers Moschiano and Blanco were on water patrol in Miami-Dade County just south of Bear Cut Bridge. They observed a vessel with four subjects on board and numerous fishing rods displayed. The officers searched the livewell and found two undersized lane snapper, 1 undersized flounder and 1 out of season undersized red grouper. One of the passengers on board admitted to keeping the undersized and out of season fish. Citations were issued for undersized out of season red grouper, undersized lane snapper and undersized flounder.

Captive Wildlife Investigators Smith, Landa, and Corteguera followed up on eight Kinkajous that were previously documented to be in improper caging and unsanitary conditions. A follow-up inspection revealed the conditions had not improved despite the prior warnings. The eight Kinkajous were seized and placed at a licensed facility. The owner of the animals received numerous misdemeanor citations for the improper caging and other related violations.

MONROE COUNTY

While conducting late night resource inspections at fishing bridges, Officer Piekenbrock and Officer Wagner came across two groups of people beyond fences marked no trespassing. When the first group of two individuals were found by flashlight they were seen kneeling down on the side of the bridge attempting to hide. One of the two was holding a bag that contained 19 Mangrove Snapper. They were each cited for over the bag limit of Mangrove Snapper. The other group of two subjects were seen in another no trespassing area. One of the individuals had a bucket next to him that contained 8 Mangrove Snapper and 1 Lane Snapper and was cited for over the bag limit of Mangrove Snapper. The second individual had a bucket next to him that contained 11 Mangrove Snapper, 3 Lane Snapper, and 3 Yellowtail Snapper (one of which was undersized) and was cited for over the bag limit of Mangrove Snapper, over the bag limit of 10 aggregate snapper limit, and undersized Yellowtail Snapper.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Kleis, Oldsen and Arbogast were working a joint TEA with Everglades National Park, conducting commercial crab vessel inspections. A 45-foot stone crab vessel was observed entering the pass. A resource inspection revealed a total of 19 undersized stone crab claws. Further inspection of the vessel discovered several fish inside a plastic bag hidden within a stack of buckets. Officer Kleis measured the fish and found one undersized red grouper and three undersized mangrove snappers. A crew member of the vessel took responsibility for the undersized fish and was charged accordingly. The captain of the commercial vessel was charged for the undersized stone crab claws. The claws and undersized fish were submitted into evidence at the Naples Field Office.

Officer Kleis was contacted by Investigator White regarding a tip he received about someone selling stone crab claws without the proper licenses. A man and a woman were actively selling stone crab claws out of the back of their pickup truck at a busy intersection. An inspection revealed that the subjects did not possess an FWC retail license. The subject was charged for selling saltwater products without a retail license.

Officer Reams was working the final weekend of spring gobbler season in Picayune Strand State Forest when he encountered a subject deep within the forest and noted a strong odor of cannabis emanating from the vehicle. Cannabis debris was on the console of the vehicle. The subject admitted to having cannabis, which was located in the center console of the vehicle. Officer Curbelo and Lieutenant Bulger arrived to assist, and while searching the vehicle discovered additional drug paraphernalia as well as a large quantity of a prescription medication. The subject was placed under arrest and transported to the Collier County Jail.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Dube and Steinmetz gave presentations to the criminal law classes at South Dade High School in Homestead. Officers talked about the requirements needed to become a FWC Officer. Officers also discussed FWC’s mission along with the diverse duties of FWC Officers. At the end of each presentation it was asked how many students would be interested in a career as a FWC Officer and more than 2 dozen students raised their hands.

FWC Dive Team officers and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Dive Team participated in joint agency training in Islamorada. The divers worked together in pairs to review essential dive skills, as well as an underwater simulation. The divers’ masks were taped during the entire simulation to create a zero-visibility environment, and the divers were deprived of the underwater communication systems. The diver’s objective was to locate a task box underwater using an effective search pattern technique. Once the box was located, the divers had to work through the various tasks within the box, followed by a simulated entanglement, and then execute a diver in distress scenario underwater with their partner. Both FWC and MCSO continue to closely train together to review techniques and procedures that are crucial for partnerships in the field.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Kleis attended a Career Exploration Lab at a local Naples high school and spoke to small groups of high school juniors and seniors about the mission FWC. Officer Kleis explained the hiring process and academy experience as well as the everyday duties of FWC Officers. The students asked multiple questions about human-animal conflicts, boating, fishing, and hunting regulations. Approximately 50 students were in attendance at the event.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
MONROE COUNTY

The offshore vessel Trident captain Richards conducted a search and rescue near Sombrero Reef Light offshore of Marathon. The missing female diver was from a commercial dive boat. FWC Pilot Willman also responded and located the missing diver who was picked up by a FWC vessel and transported to shore unharmed. The US Coast Guard also assisted.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Kleis and Arbogast responded to a call regarding a missing hiker in Big Cypress. The officers met local sheriff’s deputies where the missing subject had parked his vehicle. A search was conducted and the Sheriff’s Office Aviation unit located the missing person approximately 11 miles from his vehicle. The man was recovered and returned to his vehicle unharmed. The subject stated that he went hiking and was unprepared for the trip and requested help once he realized he wasn’t going to be able to find his way out before dark.

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  FWC Enforcement Report March 2-8. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 03-20-2018, 04:56 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer McHenry completed his investigation on a derelict vessel located in the Santa Rosa Sound. The owner of the vessel claimed he sold it, but did not have a bill of sale or proof of transferred title. Officer Allgood issued the subject a notice to appear citation for the derelict vessel. Citations were also issued for improper lighting and expired registration.

Officer Pettey issued a notice to appear citation to an individual for turkey hunting in a closed season in McDavid. The individual was discovered turkey hunting by a hunting club member who relayed the information. After an interview, the subject admitted to hunting turkey out of season. Charges were filed with the State Attorney’s Office for attempting to take turkey out of season.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

Officers Richardson, Sauls, Kossey, Peterson, Hofheinz, Reserve Officer Martin, and Lieutenant Cook conducted a special detail in St. George Island State Park. Officer Richardson organized the detail to address the increased number of visitors to St. George Island for the Annual Chili Cookoff. The detail focused on areas in the state park where shorebirds are actively nesting. During the detail, four infractions, four written warnings, and six verbal warnings were issued for state park violations.

Officer Travis was targeting undersized oysters in the Eastpoint area and conducted a resource inspection at the Eastpoint Boat Ramp. The vessel had four people on board and nine bags of oysters. During the inspection, he checked the size tolerance of two bags. The first bag contained 61% undersized oysters and the second bag contained 63% undersized oysters. Two subjects were cited for possession of undersized oysters and the small oysters were returned to the Apalachicola Bay alive.

Officer Kossey was on patrol in the Tate’s Hell Wildlife Management Area. He approached a truck on the Gully Branch Road and contacted several subjects that were looking for snakes and other reptiles. During his resource inspection, one of the subjects, a convicted felon, had a pistol in his truck’s glovebox. The subject was arrested for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

GADSDEN COUNTY

Officers Hildebrand and Johnson were on water patrol on the Little River and observed a man fishing with a rod and reel close to a boat ramp. A resource inspection revealed that the subject did not have a valid fishing license. As Officer Hildebrand talked with the subject, he smelled the odor of cannabis. Dispatch advised the officers that the subject had two active warrants out of Leon County and one out of Suwanee County. The subject was arrested and Officer Hildebrand asked the subject if he had any drugs on him and he replied that he had a “joint” in his tackle box. Officer Hildebrand checked the tackle box and located the cannabis. A physical arrest was made and appropriate citations were issued.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

A boating accident investigation completed in 2017 by Investigator Molnar recently resulted in a guilty verdict resulting in a $1,000 fine and one-year probation from the court. The investigation involved an operator and one other occupant running through a dock causing more than $36,000 in damage including damage to the boat and the dock. Investigator Molnar subpoenaed the operator’s medical blood which resulted in a BAC of .175. The operator was later arrested and charged with BUI causing property damage and injury to another as well as violation of navigational rules 5 (improper lookout) and 6 (safe speed).

Officer Corbin was on vessel patrol conducting boating safety and resource inspections in the Destin Harbor when he observed a 10-foot vessel operating with an expired boat registration and no registration displayed on the starboard side. The officer observed the small boat leaving an anchored sailboat in the harbor and heading toward land. Officer Corbin contacted Officer Pifer, who was on land patrol, and directed him to the location of where the small boat docked. Officer Pifer contacted the operator and conducted a boating safety inspection. The officer noticed discrepancies with the vessel’s title. The vessel was registered as a 2016 10-foot homemade vessel and had a hull identification number (HIN) assigned to it that was different than the HIN number attached to the vessel. The vessel was identified as a 2001 10-foot Alumacraft. The registration expired on 10/13/17. The officers confirmed that the operator had been the owner of the vessel for a year, but had failed to transfer the title to his name. The owner stated he had not received the vessel title from the previous owner/seller. The owner provided the name of the person he purchased the boat from which matched the current registered owner of the stopped vessel. The officers concluded the stop and advised the new owner they would research the discrepancies and would be in contact later. The research determined the previous owner/seller had falsely/fraudulently titled the vessel as a homemade boat. Warrants were obtained and filed against the previous owner/seller for three felonies: title fraud, filing a fraudulent certificate of title and false statement and one misdemeanor for failure to notify the Department of Highway Safety Motor Vehicle (DHSMV) for selling the vessel.

Officer Corbin was on land patrol conducting boating safety and resource inspections when he observed an individual actively working on a vessel docked behind a hotel in Fort Walton Beach. In conversation with the individual, the officer noticed the vessel displayed an expired registration. Officer Corbin determined from the bill of sale the individual was also the owner of the vessel since November 2016. The new owner failed to transfer the vessel’s title into his name within 30 days from purchase. The owner was issued a notice to appear citation.

Officer Corbin was on land patrol conducting resource protection on Eglin Wildlife Management Area when he observed a group of individuals congregating around a campsite off Little Rocky Creek. The officer observed the subjects discarding what appeared to be beer cans on the ground and in the bushes. Officer Corbin determined the five individuals were underage and consuming alcoholic beverages. Further, the individuals failed to obtain the required Eglin Camping Permit. Five subjects were cited and issued a notice to appear citation for possessing/consuming alcoholic beverage.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Hutchinson was patrolling in Blackwater State Forest when he observed a campsite where a man and woman were packing up. As he pulled up, the man threw items under a log. A quick look revealed drug paraphernalia. A closer look revealed numerous items of drug paraphernalia and several containers with cocaine in various forms. The subjects were also in possession of methamphetamine. The woman admitted to making crack cocaine in the campsite and smoking methamphetamine. Both subjects were charged with manufacturing crack cocaine, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of drug paraphernalia and booked in the Santa Rosa County Jail.

Lieutenant Hahr was patrolling in Blackwater State Forest when he observed a campsite where some of the people were drinking alcoholic beverages. As he approached them, the five subjects passed around a cannabis pipe and each of them smoked from it. Lieutenant Hahr identified himself and seized the pipe, a bag of cannabis, and numerous items of drug paraphernalia. All five subjects were charged with possession of not more than 20 grams of cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Officers Ramos, Lugg, Wilkerson, Clark, Long, Cushing and Land participated in targeted enforcement of pompano regulations along Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Escambia County beaches. The officers checked more than 200 anglers in a two-week span resulting in 5 citations and 12 warnings for various violations.

Officer Ramos was patrolling the Santa Rosa Sound and observed a vessel operating in the Quietwater Beach area. A routine boating safety inspection was conducted and the operator could not produce two required safety items or the required registration. He stated he bought the boat two years ago but could not produce a bill of sale or any type of registration. Officer Ramos followed the vessel to a nearby boat ramp where the operator recovered the vessel from the water. The truck used to pull the boat did not have a registration tag on it nor the vessel trailer. After a thorough investigation, the operator was deemed to have purchased the out-of-state vessel in 2013 and failed to transfer the title. The truck he was driving had an expired registration of 2016. The owner was issued a criminal citation for failing to record an out of state vessel, a traffic citation for expired vehicle registration greater than 6 months, a boating citation for failing to carry required safety equipment, as well as multiple warnings for other violations.

Officer Ramos observed two men return from a fishing trip and followed them to a local boat ramp. The vessel was pushing a wake in an idle speed zone until they saw the officer approach. After a boating safety inspection, Officer Ramos asked if the men had caught any fish. The men showed him ten gray snapper and several unregulated fish in a cooler. Upon measuring the snapper, seven of the ten were undersized. The captain of the vessel admitted he should have measured the fish and took responsibility for the seven undersized fish. The fish were seized and the man was cited for the undersized fish and issued a warning for violating the idle speed zone.

WAKULLA COUNTY

While on patrol in the St. Marks area, Officer Morales noticed a vessel approaching a dock. The vessel struck the dock hard and the two occupants appeared to be having a hard time mooring to it. Officer Morales approached the vessel and occupant to see if he could assist. After securing the vessel, Officer Morales conducted a boating safety and fisheries inspection. The inspection revealed multiple violations pertaining to vessel registration and possession of undersized hogfish. During the inspection, it was also determined that one of the occupants had an active arrest warrant. The subject was placed under arrest and the violations were cited.

LEON COUNTY

Officers from Leon and Jefferson Counties provided law enforcement support for the reenactment of the 153th Anniversary of the Battle of Natural Bridge. The battle took place in March of 1865 and preserved Tallahassee's status as the only Southern capital east of the Mississippi not conquered by Union forces during the Civil War. Lieutenant Field brought out the command bus and Duty Officers Strickland, Helton and Souders used it as their base of operations. The duty officers were in charge of ensuring that reenactors met eligibility requirements before they could participate in the reenactment. Lieutenant Olson, Investigator Bryant, and Officers Johnson, Wilcox, Pekerol, and Lieutenant Wass de Czege provided law enforcement support throughout the event. More than 1,300 visitors attended the reenactment without serious incident.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
DUVAL COUNTY

Officers Christmas and McGregor were on routine land patrol when they came upon an vehicle under a bridge near Broward River with a female sitting in the driver’s seat. There was an unknown male standing outside the vehicle. As the officers approached, the female started screaming for some unknown reason. Contact was made with both subjects and the female who was sitting in the driver’s seat with the ignition running, stated she was screaming because she was just partying. As the female spoke to Officer Christmas signs of impairment were observed. The female stated she could not produce a driver’s license because it was suspended. Officer Christmas read her Miranda Rights and requested she take field sobriety exercises. She agreed and did poorly. The female was arrested and booked into the Duval County Jail where she blew .187 and .178 on the breath test. She was cited for DUI, driving on a suspended driver’s license and possession of an open container because she had an open bottle of whiskey next to her when she exited the driver’s seat.

Environmental Investigator Terrones observed moderately heavy smoke coming from a Jacksonville wood yard and upon further examination realized that the company was burning tree debris in a 47’ x 35’ x 4’ deep pit without anyone attending the fire or without any resources anywhere in sight with which to put the fire out as required by law. Due to the heavy winds and nearby woods and residences, the fire department was summoned to extinguish the fire. The first employee did not arrive at the location until 90 minutes later. The business owner later admitted that the debris being burnt was generated off-site and he was cited for burning prohibited materials and open burning that is not attended with adequate fire extinguishing equipment available at all times. The Florida Forestry Service and Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office also responded and cited the business owner with a notice of violation and a city burning ordinance violation. Due to the number of previous complaints against this business, the fire department Fire and Safety Inspector will conduct a follow up inspection as well.

CLAY COUNTY

Lt. Haney was on patrol in a state forest shortly after midnight when he saw a truck enter the forest, spin in the road, and accelerate at a high rate of speed. He followed the truck, saw it hit an embankment and almost wreck. He stopped the truck and observed signs of impairment from the operator. After an investigation, the operator was arrested for DUI. He was transported to jail and two hours after the stop, he provided a breath sample, measuring .125 g/210L of breath. He was charged with DUI, reckless driving, entering a state forest after hours, and possession of alcohol in the forest.

DIXIE COUNTY

FWC officers, including aviation, worked a detail in Dixie County focusing on the illegal harvest of oysters. FWC officers in the air observed several vessels harvesting oysters in closed waters. Aviation directed officers on the water to where the harvesters were located. Officers made contact and subsequently issued several misdemeanor citations, made two physical arrests, and returned 18 bushels of illegally harvested oysters back to the water.

Lieutenant James Futch was on patrol when he observed a vessel with a subject actively gigging fish. As the vessel came to shore, Lieutenant Futch approached and made contact. During a resource inspection, he discovered 10 undersized flounder in the live well. The subject was cited for the violation.

Officer Austin Sheffield was on patrol late at night in the Jena WMA when he observed a suspicious vehicle. He observed a subject getting in and out of the vehicle several times, shining a light. The officer made contact and noticed the subject was holding drug paraphernalia in his hand. In plain view, he observed several beer cans in the passenger seat of the vehicle. The subject displayed several signs of impairment during the encounter and Officer Sheffield requested he conduct field sobriety tasks. The subject was arrested for driving under the influence, driving on a suspended license, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of cannabis.

GILCHRIST COUNTY

FWC officers worked a detail at the recently opened Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park in Gilchrist County. Officers focused on complaints received about open containers of alcohol and other park rule violations. The detail was successful in educating the public about state park rules and other public safety issues.

CITRUS/HERNANDO COUNTY

During a recent patrol, the FWC Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) 2005 Fin Cat stopped numerous vessels in federal waters offshore of Citrus and Hernando Counties. One vessel inspection resulted in Officer Boyer locating two undersized hog fish. On another vessel inspection, Officer Boyer found the subjects to be in possession of a severely undersized gag grouper which is also currently closed for possession. Both subjects were issued citations for the violations. A third vessel inspection by Officer Boyer found a subject in possession of two gray triggerfish during closed season. A federal case package will be forwarded to NOAA for prosecution of the possession of gray triggerfish during closed season.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
PUTNAM COUNTY

Lieutenant Dickson and Officers Jones and Bernard responded to a reported vessel crash under the Memorial Bridge. Upon arrival and investigation, it was found that it was not a vessel crash, but a stolen vessel incident. A runaway juvenile untied a vessel at the City Dock and was floating down river. The juvenile was turned over to his mother and no charges were filed for the theft.

Officer Jones was conducting fisheries inspections at Rodman Dam when he noticed a homemade marijuana pipe lying next to a tackle box. The owner of the tackle box was also in possession of under 20 grams of cannabis. Charges were filed for possession of cannabis under 20 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Officer Jones was on patrol at Rodman Dam when he observed two subjects throwing a cast net from the side of the spillway. He continued surveillance of the subjects until he observed them put fish into a cooler. Upon contacting the subjects, it was found that they had unlawfully taken black crappie with the cast net and had left their bycatch of other fish to die on the concrete. The subjects were charged with taking crappie by illegal method and willful/wanton waste of freshwater fish.

Officer Guirate was on patrol at Rodman Dam when he contacted a subject throwing a cast net near the spillway. An inspection revealed that the subject had unlawfully taken several black crappie with the cast net and had given other game fish away that were also caught in the net. The subject was charged with taking crappie by illegal method.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officer West was in his marked FWC patrol truck and traveling home when he observed the vehicle in front of him swerving several times and failing to maintain a lane. After stopping the vehicle, the driver showed signs of impairment. Following an investigation, she was arrested and booked into the Volusia County Jail for DUI. She was also charged with possessing prescribed narcotics without a prescription.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
PUTNAM COUNTY

Lieutenant Dickson and Officer Mason responded to a reported vessel crash on the Ocklawaha River. The subject shot a gun several times and blew his air horn in an attempt to get someone’s attention. Lieutenant Dickson and Marion County Fire Rescue boarded a civilian’s vessel and responded to the scene. Upon arrival it was found that the subjects were fine and the boat was just disabled. The subjects and vessel were towed to a nearby ramp by the civilian.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HERNANDO COUNTY

Officer Canamero responded to a call regarding a subject attempting to take gopher tortoises. Two sites were located where the subject had placed wooden pallets over the burrow to contain the tortoises and buckets inside the burrow. The subject was identified and citations were issued accordingly.

Officers Spradlin and Sehl were conducting surveillance at Perry Oldenberg Wildlife and Environmental Area (WEA) due to recent vandalism and other criminal activity. They located two subjects in the WEA after hours and in possession of alcohol by person under 21. The subjects were cited accordingly.

Officer Canamero was on patrol in Croom Wildlife Management Area (WMA). A subject was located parked on a closed road. Upon making contact, the subject was found in possession of crack cocaine and marijuana. The subject was arrested and taken to the Hernando County jail where he was charged accordingly.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Officer Gonzales was on land patrol around US 41 near the Manatee County line. While on patrol he noticed a car parked in a peculiar area near a section of Southwest Florida Water Management District property closed to foot traffic. As Officer Gonzales parked his patrol vehicle he could see several individuals running away from him back into the woods. The two subjects were apprehended in the woods after a short foot chase. The subjects had been fishing on the water management property and had walked past several “no trespassing” signs to gain entry. The subjects were cited for numerous criminal violations pertaining to trespassing and resisting without violence. They were transported to the Hillsborough County jail and will have to appear in court for their violations.

PASCO COUNTY

Officer Pulaski and Lieutenant Parisoe were at Sims Park Boat Ramp when they saw a vessel pull alongside the dock. Officer Pulaski began a conversation with the operator to conduct an inspection. During the conversation, multiple signs of impairment were observed. After a brief investigation, Officer Pulaski arrested the individual for boating under the influence. Officer Pulaski then transported the operator to the Pasco County jail where he was booked for the violation.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land patrol in South Pinellas County, Officer Bibeau contacted an individual that was actively fishing from the shoreline to conduct a fisheries inspection. After the inspection, a small snook was located inside a bait bucket. Officer Bibeau measured the snook and found that it was only 18 inches. The individual was written a misdemeanor citation for possession of an undersized snook and a warning for not obtaining a snook permit.

While on water patrol offshore of St. Pete Beach, Officer Bibler stopped a vessel that he observed had spear fishermen in the water. Officer Bibler told the two men that he was going to do a resource inspection and asked if they had any fish onboard. One subject stated that they had hogfish and sheepshead and showed Officer Bibler a cooler with legal hogfish and sheepshead inside. After inspecting the first cooler, Officer Bibler noticed a second cooler in the back of the vessel and asked what was in it, and the subject simply stated, “more fish.” Officer Bibler inspected the cooler and found two out of season gag grouper. The subject was cited for possession of gag grouper during a closed season.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
PASCO COUNTY

Officer Bergwerff and Lieutenant Parisoe responded to a complaint in the High Bluffs area of the Withlacoochee State Forest. According to the information, several individuals were riding ATVs around the area. During the investigation the officers noticed large numbers of individuals at a known hang-out. In all, the officers spoke with several individuals and issued citations and warnings for ATVs in undesignated area, possession of alcohol in prohibited area, open fire in prohibited area, and remaining in day-use area after hours.

RESCUES
DESOTO COUNTY

Officer Kobs responded to a boating accident on the Lower Peace River. Three persons were riding on an airboat when the airboat came to a sudden stop. One of the passengers came out of her seat and struck the front deck of the boat. The passenger was taken to the Nocatee Boat Ramp by a good Samaritan and was taken to a local hospital. Officer Kobs is investigating the boating accident.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Price responded to a lost hiker in the Estero Bay Buffer Preserve. The hiker called and stated he was walking his dog and got turned around after dark. Officer Price called him on his phone, told him to stay where he was, and gathered information about his location. After a short while, Officer Price was able to locate the hiker and his dog approximately ½ mile from a trail in a large salt flat surrounded by mangroves. Officer Price drove the hiker and his dog back to the trail where he was given a ride to the parking lot in Lieutenant Barrett’s patrol truck. Thankfully, the hiker and the dog had no medical issues and both were glad to be safe and back at their vehicle.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Ryan discovered an abandoned boat submerged at a boat ramp along Alligator Alley. Pursuant to an investigation, he determined the owner of the boat. Upon contact with the owner it was learned that he knowingly dumped the 23-foot vessel as garbage. Officer Ryan will be filing several charges against the owner with the Broward State Attorney’s Office.

Officer Banks was on patrol in western Broward near the border with Palm Beach County. She conducted a fresh water fisheries inspection on a large group of individuals who were fishing. With the assistance of Officer Ryan, it was found that one subject had several outstanding warrants including grand theft out of Broward County. Officer Banks placed the individual under arrest and delivered him to the Broward County jail.

GLADES COUNTY

Officer Brodbeck was on vessel patrol when he observed three individuals fishing from the SR 78 Bridge over the Sportsman’s Canal. The officer beached his vessel a distance away and approached the subjects on foot to conduct a resource inspection. Officer Brodbeck recognized one subject as having been previously warned for possession of undersized black crappie. After receiving consent to inspect his cooler, the officer located three black crappie measuring less than the required 10 inches for Lake Okeechobee waters, as well as a measuring device next to the cooler. The subject was issued a citation for the violation. The fish were photographed and returned to the water.

MARTIN COUNTY

Officer Willems was on patrol in Hungryland WMA where he stopped and checked an individual for his camping permit. As he approached, the individual jumped up out of his chair and stated that he had just let his dog off his leash to use the bathroom. As they were talking, the dog came charging out of the woods and was grabbed by the individual before it could get to Officer Willems. The dog was acting very aggressively and had to be secured in the individual’s vehicle. This same individual had been warned two weeks prior for having the same dog off leash. The individual was issued a criminal citation for not having his dog leashed and under control.

Officer Carroll stopped a commercial fishing vessel that was chartering three subjects which was confirmed by asking one of the occupants on board the vessel. A money transaction was also observed at the filet table. During a resource inspection, the captain lied and stated he was not chartering the subjects and that he knew them personally. Officer Brevik arrived on scene as backup. A records check revealed the subject to be a convicted felon. While the subject was retrieving paperwork from his vehicle, live ammunition was observed in plain view inside the vehicle. The subject was placed under arrest for being a felon in possession of ammunition and was booked into the Martin County jail. Additionally, the subject was cited for not having an FWC charter license, not having a sufficient number of lifejackets on board the vessel, and for having an expired registration.

Officers Rogers, Pecko, Morrow, McLeod, Kirkland, Carroll, and Brevik conducted a vessel stop in which the vessel operator was found to be impaired. The vessel, which was stopped for being unregistered and having no navigation lights, was operated by a subject who exhibited signs of impairment through slurred speech and other visual signs of impairment. Upon completion of field sobriety tasks, Officer Rogers placed the subject under arrest. The subject was booked into the Martin County Jail for Boating Under the Influence (BUI) and was issued a citation for no navigation lights.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Davis received a tip from a local landowner that subjects had launched a vessel from the roadway and were heading towards his property. Officer Davis and Investigator Douglas responded to the property and located the subjects which were still in the vessel in the canal. After conducting surveillance on the subjects, it was found that they were setting trot lines in the canal. Suspecting the individuals were poaching turtles, Officer Davis and Investigator Douglas left the area with plans of returning later in the day to observe them pick the lines. Several hours later, Officer Davis and Officer Allen returned to the area and waited for the subjects to return. After hours of surveillance the subjects returned to pick up the lines. With the help of Investigators Douglas, Harris and Patterson the subjects were kept under surveillance while they pulled the trot lines. While the subjects were still pulling the lines, another vehicle pulled up to the subject’s vehicle and appeared to wait for their return. As they pulled the vessel out of the canal, Officers Davis and Allen conducted a resource inspection. Citations were issued for over the bag limit of softshell turtles (29), 4 unmarked trot lines and transporting turtles without a permit.

Investigators Douglas and Patterson were on land patrol when they came upon a minor traffic crash. Upon arriving, they observed a male subject fleeing the accident scene on foot. The Investigators located the subject hiding in tall grass and apprehended him without incident. It was learned that the subject had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. The subject and traffic crash was turned over to the Okeechobee County Sherriff’s Office for further investigation.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Kirkland responded to a call initiated by the Corbett check station operator about individuals who failed to pay the day use fee at the South Check Station. She located the individuals by the vehicle description and wrote three citations. One for no fishing license (resident), no fishing license (non-resident) and possession of alcohol outside of camp.

RESCUES
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Stone responded to a call involving two people that were lost in the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area. The husband and wife were found off Trail 7 (after a phone call from Officer Stone to the couple) and escorted back to the main grade. They were issued a written warning for illegal “off trail” operation and educated on the management area regulations.

Lt. Fillip and Officers Norbrothen, Rogers, and Moss responded to a 911 call regarding a family lost in the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area. The subjects were found by a passerby and given a ride to the check station.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
MARTIN COUNTY

Officers Morrow, Rogers, Kirkland, Pecko, and McLeod, along with Lt. Russo and Captain Schaeffer conducted a special operation which focused on enforcement of marine sanitation devices (MSD) and illegal moorings. Numerous violations were located and addressed, including a subject who was found to have an unsecured Y valve which resulted in flushed vessel waste flowing. All violations were cited or warned accordingly.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Defeo, Trawinski, Carroll and Brevik conducted a Manatee Zone enforcement saturation detail over the weekend. The officers documented a total of 37 citations and warnings during Saturday and Sunday.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
GLADES COUNTY

Officers Dial, Worrell and Nasworth participated in the Moore Haven kids fishing tournament. There were well over 100 kids present for the fishing tournament. The officers assisted in handing out cane poles, dehooking fish, answering questions about freshwater fishing and handing out medals to the kids. Officers Dial, Worrell and Nasworth represented FWC in a professional manner and had a successful public outreach event.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Gouveia assisted the Division of Wildlife with a presentation to a local community about living with coyotes. The presentation consisted of a PowerPoint, various hazing tools and Q&A time.

Officers Mann and Langley attended the Nature Scape outreach event at MacArthur Beach State Park. The officers provided general security as well as answered questions and provided information to park guests attending the event.

Officers Matthews, Moore and LeBlanc assisted with the Outdoor Adventure at John Prince Park. The FWC provided fishing gear and bait as well as an archery booth to test the children’s skills with a bow and arrow. Members from our Freshwater Fisheries Section were present to help the kids with baiting hooks and casting instructions. A fun time was had by everyone who attended.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Officer Irwin participated in an outreach event held in Fort Pierce. The Blessing of the Fleet is a yearly event that draws many vessel owners to the area. Also at the event were two sea planes that landed in the inlet. Officer Irwin and the sheriff’s office marine unit escorted both planes safely through vessel traffic to the staging area. The event continued at the base of the Fort Pierce South Bridge where different vendors provided food and various activities for families.

Officer Miano and Payne participated in the Become an Outdoor Woman program and assisted instructors. They were stationed at the gun range and assisted with rifle shooting, pistol shooting and muzzleloader guns. Officer Payne also gave a K-9 demo and drove the buggy for attendees.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

An officer was on water patrol near Haulover Inlet when he observed a vessel returning from offshore. It had three people on board and a diving hookah rig was visible. The officer stopped the vessel to conduct safety equipment and fishery inspections. When a cooler was opened, the officer discovered seven legal lobsters (one speared), undersized red grouper (closed season), three speared undersized mutton snapper, and one speared undersized hogfish (closed season). The officer issued appropriate citations/charges to all three subjects.

An officer and an investigator were on patrol in an area known for bunting trapping in Homestead. They observed a pickup truck parked adjacent to a fence line with what appeared to be bird cages in the back bed. Upon contacting the driver, they confirmed two trapping cages in the back of his pickup, containing two painted buntings. At his residence, the subject was in possession of one blue grosbeak, one painted bunting and a white crowned sparrow, all in separate trapping cages at his residence. He admitted all five birds and five trapping cages were his. He was cited for the violations of possessing several migratory birds and the traps were seized.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Alvarez arrested a subject on an in county FWC warrant while he was fishing on Long Key Bridge. Officer Alvarez also charged the subject with a felony for possession of a synthetic form of cannabis. Investigator Hein assisted in the arrest. The subject was also issued two warnings for possession of marine life and transported to the Monroe County Jail.

Officer Petru responded to a call about a box truck that was reportedly illegally dumping into the water at Indian Key Fill State Park. Officer Petru arrived on land and Officer Thompson by water. Officers asked to look inside the tanks and found no saltwater product inside. Officers found that he had a warrant out of Miami-Dade county for battery. The operator was arrested and transported to Plantation Key Jail.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Plussa was conducting a follow-up investigation into a derelict vessel in a remote cove near Goodland Bay. After months of abandonment, he found vessel occupied by the owner. An investigation revealed multiple crimes relating to transfer of registration and title, multiple public health violations and that vessel was still in derelict condition. During the inspection, Officer Plussa and the owner almost fell through the deck as they walked around the vessel. In addition to receiving citations for no life jacket, no marine toilet, and an expired registration from 2011, the owner was arrested for multiple misdemeanors and booked into the Collier County Jail.

Officer Yaxley was conducting land-based water patrol and observed a subject selling grouper, shrimp, and other fish at a farmer’s market near Marco Island. An inspection revealed the subject failed to have the required commercial licenses for retail sale of saltwater products. Officer Plussa, Lieutenant Mahoney, and Lieutenant Shea arrived to assist with the investigation and processing evidence. The violator was charged and cited accordingly.

Officers Kleis and Arbogast responded to a Marine Emergency Response Team call (MERT) regarding a missing person who had fallen off a PWC after it ran aground. It was dark and the caller (the operator of the PWC) stated that he had no idea where the passenger was located. Lieutenant Sushil and Investigator White also responded to the call. Upon arriving on scene, Officers Kleis and Arbogast contacted the 911 caller and his PWC. The operator was belligerent, yelling at the officers and Fire Rescue personnel on scene, and showing multiple other signs of impairment. The officers gathered as much information as they could with the operator acting in an aggressive manner. The missing passenger had made their way to shore and was eventually found to be safe with minor injuries. The officers gathered witness statements, and began a BUI investigation. Officer Kleis administered the seated field sobriety exercises on the operator of the PWC. The operator was subsequently arrested for BUI and transported to the Collier County Jail where he refused a breath test.

Investigator White and Officer Kleis were conducting water patrol when they observed the operator and a passenger of a vessel discard litter into the water. The officers stopped the vessel to address the violation and noticed multiple empty alcoholic beverage containers throughout the vessel. The operator exhibited bloodshot eyes and multiple other signs of impairment. After addressing the littering violations and conducting a boating safety inspection, the operator consented to participating in field sobriety exercises. Investigator White administered the exercises, and the operator performed poorly. The operator was arrested for BUI and booked into the Collier County Jail where he provided a breath sample of over twice the legal limit.

Officer Kleis and Investigator White were conducting nighttime water patrol when they observed a vessel operating without navigation lights. The officers stopped the vessel to address the violation. Upon telling the operator the reason for the stop, he turned on his lights. There were multiple empty alcohol beverage containers on the vessel. The operator exhibited multiple signs of impairment including slurred speech and a lack of balance. After addressing the light violation and conducting a boating safety inspection, the operator agreed to participate in field sobriety exercises. Officer Kleis administered the seated field sobriety exercises and subsequently arrested the operator for Boating Under the Influence. The operator was booked into the Collier County Jail and refused to provide a breath sample. The operator was also cited for other violations.

While preparing for the spring turkey season, Officers Polly and Araujo found a ground blind on private property less than 10 yards from turkey bait. The officers continued to check on the property to ensure that feed was still present right up until opening day. Officer Araujo and Investigator McColgin hid on the property opening morning and witnessed subjects actively calling for turkey. At around 7:30 in the morning they heard a shot and soon after encountered the subject to address the violation of hunting turkey over bait. The subject killed two bearded gobblers while hunting well within 100 yards of a game feeding station with feed present. Officer Araujo issued the subject a notice to appear for the violation and educated the subject and his son, who later thanked him for his professionalism.

While looking for bait prior to the start of spring turkey season, Officer Polly came upon a trail that led from private land into the Picayune Strand WMA. Officer Polly followed the trail and found a permanent tree stand built into the trees with a hunting blind underneath. Also at the site was a feeder cable tied to the trees and an active game camera. Officer Polly returned to the site two days before season opened and observed cracked corn within 10 yards of the blind. Officer Reams and Officer Polly worked the area opening weekend but no hunters came. On the third morning, Officer Polly observed two subjects enter the area. After listening to the subjects actively call turkeys for approximately an hour Officer Polly contacted the subjects to address the violations. During questioning one of the subjects admitted to building the stand and placing the bait in the WMA. Both subjects were issued notices to appear for attempting to take wildlife over bait in a WMA, hunting turkeys within 100 yards of feed, and each received a citation for failing to possess a valid quota permit. Officers issued misdemeanors and infractions accordingly reference their violations.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
MONROE COUNTY

The SRB Dive Team conducted a Targeted Enforcement Action Plan around Key West Harbor. While uniformed officers conducted boating safety inspections, dive members inspected the ground tackle the vessels were using. Most of the violations were found on the south end of Fleming Key near the entrance to Key West Harbor. Various types of anchor systems were observed and documented with the prevailing circumstance that the anchor systems were permanently affixed to the bottom and that these systems could not be retrieved by human power or by mechanical means. Numerous vessel inspections were conducted, many users were checked, multiple boating citations/written warnings were given and a significant amount of education/public outreach contacts were made.

FWC SRB Dive Team worked in conjunction with Monroe County Sheriff's Office's dive team to target illegal moorings within anchorages throughout the Florida Keys. The team members were able to dive down and examine the moorings to determine whether or not they are in compliance with Florida Statutes. Since the statute changed in July of 2017, the team members used the opportunity to not only enforce violations, but to educate the public on the statute changes and advise the residents of the anchorages on how to come into compliance. During the enforcement action, dive team members also examined sunken derelict vessels, conducted boating safety and removed artificial habitats (known to illegally harvest spiny lobsters), and removed other sorts of debris and trash from the basin bottoms.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Sapp represented the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission during Sugarloaf School’s Safety Day. Officer Sapp spoke to an estimated 600 students about boating safety. Officer Sapp spoke to the students about lifejackets, fire extinguishers, flares, float plans, and other safety related topics. Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Fire Rescue, Coast Guard, Florida Highway Patrol, Border Patrol, and the Trauma Star helicopter were present for the event.

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  Turkey Hunting
Posted by: surfman - 03-15-2018, 07:14 AM - Forum: Hunting Reports - Replies (5)

Well regular season opens this weekend, wish me luck, i got it handed to me last year, hope I do better this year. My hunting buddy screwed up his quota permit and got the same one i did, so we have to hunt with the masses in Tide swamp this weekend. I know there's birds in there so hopefully I can fool one into coming my way.

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  FWC Enforcement Report February 23-March 1 All regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 03-14-2018, 09:57 AM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

Patrolling one evening in St. Andrews State Park, Officer Basford detected the odor of burnt cannabis coming from the playground area. She observed and contacted two male subjects. While talking with the individuals, she smelled cannabis and asked where it was located. One subject stated it was in his truck and the other subject disclosed a vape cigarette which contained hashish. She asked the owner of the truck if she could search and he gave her consent. Hashish oil concentrate, drug paraphernalia and under 20 grams of cannabis were found in the truck. Both subjects were arrested and taken to the Bay County Jail for the violations.

Reserve Officer Cooper was on patrol in the St. Andrews Pass when he approached a vessel to conduct a fishery inspection. As Officer Cooper approached the vessel, a subject dumped two empty beer bottles over the side of the vessel. During the subsequent fishery inspection, a 30-inch redfish was in an ice chest and the harvester was found to have an outstanding warrant from Monroe County. The subject was cited for the oversized redfish and transported to the Bay County Jail for the warrant. A second subject on the vessel was cited for littering.

GADSDEN COUNTY

A complainant identified three males in a 16-foot fishing boat that had been out all-day fishing on Lake Talquin with at least two of them drinking since 7:30 a.m. When the owner/operator of the vessel started to drive around the lake, the complainant notified Lieutenant Hall and Officer Fletcher directly by cell phone. Lieutenant Hall and Officer Fletcher were off duty and contacted Officers Brower, Henderson and Hildebrand to respond and check vessels in the area. The vessel owner of the suspected BUI violation had switched operators to an individual who had not been drinking alcohol. The three occupants were made aware that our officers are very professional and thorough in their inspections. The complainant reported later via ‘praise email’ that he could hear the way the officers spoke to the occupants of the vessel and was impressed by how professional and courteous they were.

Officer Johnson made contact with two trespassers who were on a private hunting lease near Iron Bridge. Officer Johnson checked the individuals through dispatch and found that the female subject had an active warrant out of Leon County. She was arrested and booked into the Gadsden County Jail without incident.

GULF COUNTY

Officer Webb received a complaint of a white male catching over the limit of black drum under the Highland View Bridge. When he arrived, he saw an individual fitting the description actively fishing. A resource inspection revealed the subject was in possession of 15 black drum, six of which were undersized, and one grossly undersized red fish. Appropriate charges were issued for the multiple violations.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Jones issued a citation to a subject for the charges of entering a closed area and attempting to take deer over bait on a management area on the Eglin Wildlife Management Area. Lieutenant Berryman and Officer Mullins assisted Officer Jones in the investigation which led to the charges.

FWC Dispatch received multiple complaints regarding a subject who shot a gray fox. Several officers began working the case and gathering information including Officers Mullins, Hoomes, Roberson and Jones. Officer Mullins contacted the subject and met with him about the fox. The subject admitted to Officers Mullins and Jones that he shot the fox. The officers went back with the subject to where the carcass had been discarded and located the fox, as well as the spent buckshot casing. After reviewing the evidence, charges were filed on the subject by Officer Mullins for killing a gray fox.

WAKULLA COUNTY

Officer Hofheinz observed an individual in Dickerson Bay culling oysters and placing them into a bucket. He approached the subject and identified himself as a Fish and Wildlife Officer. The subject had a bag nearly full of oysters and a five-gallon bucket that was about half full. The subject was issued a citation for harvesting oysters from a prohibited area. The oysters were photographed and returned to the resource.

Officer Hofheinz observed two individuals leaving a wooded area off Mashes Sands Road. After a dispatch check for felony history, it was discovered that both individuals had felony conviction histories. Officer Kossey arrived on scene to assist. The officers asked the individuals to step out of the vehicle due to a rifle and ammunition being in plain view. They searched the vehicle and found assorted ammunition and two rifles. The subjects each also had a pack of cigarettes with marijuana inside in their possession. The search of the vehicle also revealed a set of scales in the glove box and the driver advised he used the scales to weigh marijuana. The two individuals were booked into the Wakulla County Jail for possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon and possession of marijuana.

WALTON COUNTY

Lieutenant Hollinhead and Officer Bradshaw checked a subject fishing while conducting fishery inspections on the Choctawhatchee Bay. The subject stated he had caught some mullet and a legal-size redfish. An inspection of his cooler revealed the redfish was well over the legal slot limit. The subject was issued a citation for oversized redfish.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Officers Gore and Coker were on patrol in Econfina Creek Wildlife Management Area when they observed a vehicle traveling slowly with the occupants displaying a light in a manner capable of disclosing wildlife. A stop of the vehicle revealed firearms. After a short interview, the subjects were cited for attempting to take deer at night by gun and light.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
FRANKLIN COUNTY

Lieutenants Cook and Kilpatrick along with Captains Pearce and Wood attended a meeting at the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory organized by aqua-culturists from Franklin and Wakulla Counties. The meeting was also attended by Investigative Captains from the Franklin and Wakulla County Sheriff Departments, representatives from the Department of Aquaculture and others from the public. The meeting was to discuss ongoing/emerging issues within the aquaculture industry. Close to 40 individuals were in attendance for the meeting.

LEON COUNTY

Officer Pekerol attended a public outreach event at the Griffin Middle School in Tallahassee. The presentation was attended by 30 Exceptional Student Education (ESE) students and faculty. The students learned about conservation law enforcement and had the opportunity to touch a small alligator.

Officers from Leon, Wakulla, and Franklin Counties participated in the Ducks Unlimited Greenwing youth event at the Ayavalla Plantation on Lake Carr. FWC Pilot Able and Recruiter Stephens landed in a helicopter. K-9 team Anderson and Scout were on display and were a big hit with the crowd. Two agency airboats were on display and Investigators Johnston and Bryant were on scene to answer questions and assist with the event. Officer Brookes brought an applicant ride along to the event so the potential new hire could see how important the community outreach part of our job is. Approximately 300 kids and their parents attended the annual event.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Brooks and Rockwell attended an outreach event for Crestview High School. The officers talked about what it takes to become an FWC officer and the agency’s missions. They also answered questions about their job. There was a total of 65 students in the two classes the officers attended.

WALTON

Officers Tison and Bradshaw attended the Walton County 4H Farm Safety Day and spoke to approximately 110 children about boating safety. The officers also answered various questions about the daily role and responsibilities of an FWC Officer.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
UNION COUNTY

K-9 Officer Gill received information about several illegal deer harvested at night by illegal method. Another call reported hearing a rifle shot coming from a piece of property during the muzzleloading season. Officer Gill and K-9 Friar responded to the area. K-9 Friar discovered a freshly spent shell casing from a rifle and blood from a freshly harvested deer. Officer Gill identified a suspect and interviewed them reference to the illegally harvested deer. It was determined the individual had indeed killed the deer with a rifle. The investigation continued and it was discovered the subject had killed several deer during the archery and muzzleloading season with the rifle. In addition, the investigation revealed the subject had harvested a deer at night with a rifle. Several charges of taking deer during the closed season and taking deer at night will be direct filed with the State Attorney.

ALACHUA COUNTY

K-9 Officer Gill obtained information about two alligators harvested during the closed season. Photographs and video showed the suspects catching the alligators and taking them with a handgun. One of the suspects admitted to setting out baited hooks to catch the alligators and then shooting them with the handgun. Two alligator heads, two bags of alligator meat, and a handgun were seized as evidence. The suspects will be charged with possession of untagged alligators, taking alligators with set hooks, taking alligators with an elevated line, and taking alligators with a firearm.

DUVAL COUNTY

Officer Christmas was on routine patrol when he saw a subject operating a vessel as he pulled up to the dock at Jim King Ramp. The subject got off the vessel and walked over and got into a vehicle, maneuvering the vessel trailer down the ramp. The subject appeared unsteady on his feet, using the guard rails for support. The vehicle tag was expired and the display of the vessel’s registration numbers were improper. As Officer Christmas spoke with the driver, the officer could smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on the driver’s breath and his speech sounded slurred. The subject was requested to do field sobriety exercises. He performed poorly. The driver/operator was arrested and booked at the Duval County Jail. He was charged with DUI, BUI, expired tag and improper display. He had an additional charge added at the jail because he refused to submit to a breath test and had a prior refusal against his license.

RESCUES
TAYLOR COUNTY

A man and young son were 2½ hours into an 8-mile hike in the Econfina River State Park trail system when the son began experiencing medical problems. He was incoherent and unable to walk. The father had to leave his son after realizing he had lost his phone on the trail. The father located his phone and returned to find his son on the ground. Officer Wilder responded, located the two hikers, and brought them to a waiting ambulance for treatment.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
MARION COUNTY

Officer Seiler responded to the Whispering Pines RV Park in the Ocala Wildlife Management Area (WMA) about the alleged killing of a gopher tortoise. Witness accounts and evidence suggested one of the residents used a handgun to shoot and kill a gopher tortoise as it grazed near the suspect’s RV. Officer Seiler contacted the suspect and during a post-Miranda interview, he admitted to killing the gopher tortoise. Charges were filed for unlawfully taking a gopher tortoise.

FLAGLER COUNTY

In response to a request from the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO), Officers Harris and Greenier met FSCO personnel at the Bings County Park Boat Ramp on the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) in northeast Flagler County. Officers Harris and Greenier were asked to assist the FCSO with recovering a body discovered by a commercial blue crabber earlier in the morning. Officers Greenier and Harris operated the FCSO airboat and took members of the Flagler County Fire Department and an FCSO detective to a shallow creek off the ICW. The body was recovered and taken to the medical examiner.

BREVARD COUNTY

While on patrol in Sebastian Inlet State Park, Officer Kearney conducted resource inspections on the north jetty and discovered that a man had a large snook in his cooler. A measurement of the fish revealed it was over the 28-32 inch slot size. A citation was issued for possession of over the slot size for snook.

While on water patrol in Port Canaveral, Officers Balgo, Rasey, and Wehner were conducting resource inspections on incoming vessels. During one inspection, the officers located an undersized cobia in a cooler bag on the vessel. The individual was issued a citation.

While on foot patrol at US1 and the Sebastian River, Officer Balgo observed two individuals cast netting. A resource inspection located an undersized sheepshead, an undersized snook, and illegal method for harvesting snook. Citations for the violations were issued accordingly.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

Officer Marroquin was conducting resource and vessel safety inspections at the Stick Marsh Boat Ramp when he observed a vessel returning to the ramp with no navigation lights. A resource inspection revealed two individuals on board with nine black bass. Four of the bass were over 16 inches. No black bass may be possessed on the Stick Marsh. Both individuals were cited accordingly.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Saint Augustine Police Department (SAPD) asked for assistance to help search an area located off San Sebastian Way about human remains being found by a surveyor. FWC, St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office (SJSO) Crime Scene Techs and SAPD assisted Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) in scouring the area for the remains. The remains found were documented by Forensic Anthropologists from Florida Gulf Coast University and logged into evidence. SAPD and FGCU were very appreciative of Officers Lawshe, Ramsey, Greenier and Harris’ local knowledge of the wooded area and skill in locating items of interest.

RESCUES
PUTNAM COUNTY

Officers Jones, Chriest, and Lieutenant Dickson responded to a plane crash on the St.Johns River. The ten-seat plane was found upside down in the water and two occupants were found deceased among the wreckage. FWC is providing security and transportation for FHP, NTSB, and the FAA. This case is under investigation.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officer Lawshe received information about an 18-year-old autistic male subject missing from his home. He was last seen swimming in the St. Johns River, 100 yards north of Palmo Fish Camp Road Boat Ramp. Saint John’s County Sheriff’s Office (SJSO) requested two FWC vessels to help search the St. Johns River in the area near Palmo Fish Camp Road Boat Ramp. FWC Officers Greenier, Harris, Lawrence, and Ramsey, and one SJSO deputy began searching by water. FWC Officers Meade, Campbell and Lawshe along with Investigator Brechler were assisting with land efforts to find him. After searching for two hours, a report of a person matching the description was seen at Shands Bridge. Both FWC vessels were sent to the east side of the Shands Bridge where the missing subject was located safe.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Norris was driving on US 41 in Port Charlotte when he noticed a vehicle that was drifting in and out of its lane. After observing the vehicle drift into the lane of another vehicle almost hitting it, he conducted a traffic stop. While talking to the driver he could smell alcohol and noticed the driver slurring his speech. Officer Norris conducted field sobriety exercises and determined the driver was under the influence of alcohol and impaired to the point he could not safely drive. The driver was arrested for DUI and for driving on a suspended driver’s license.

Investigators responded to an internet complaint of someone selling shrimp on the side of the road without a license. Investigators contacted the subject and further investigation revealed that the subject was illegally selling product without a retail license. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for the violation along with a court date.

HERNANDO COUNTY

Officers Fagan and Scinta attempted to stop an ATV and motorcycle who were operating in the Chassahowitzka WMA. The operators fled, and after a short pursuit were apprehended by Lieutenant Grover who arrived to assist. The operators were taken to the Hernando County jail and charged accordingly.

HIGHLANDS COUNTY

Officer Infante was working Alico groves for night hunting activity with a ride along near the Highlands and Polk county line and spotted a car working a light out of the driver’s window in a manner to disclose wildlife. After observing the car for a while, Officer Infante activated her blue lights and conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle. There were four occupants inside with two rifles in the back seat in plain view. The occupants admitted that if they had seen a hog or deer, they would have taken the wildlife. Officer Infante seized two rifles and a spotlight. The individuals were charged appropriately.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on night water patrol in Old Tampa Bay, Officer Godfrey and Lieutenant Van Trees stopped a vessel to complete a safety inspection and noticed signs of impairment from the operator who was stumbling and slurring his words. Officer Godfrey initiated field sobriety exercises, and at the completion arrested the operator for boating under the influence. Officer Godfrey, who is a breath tech operator, assisted with the breath test at the Hillsborough County jail where the test revealed the operator was a .11 breath alcohol content (BAC). The subject was booked into the Hillsborough County jail.

Officers Godfrey and Wilkins were on water patrol near the Gandy Bridge when they stopped a vessel that was fishing. A subsequent resource inspection revealed a subject had three black drum well over the maximum size of 24 inches. One black drum over 24 inches is allowed and the subject had three that were all over 30+ inches. The subject was cited accordingly for his violation.

Officers Godfrey and Wilkins were on night water patrol in Apollo Beach when they stopped a vessel operating with no navigation lights and noticed signs of impairment from the operator. After field sobriety exercises were completed, Officer Wilkins arrested the operator for boating under the influence (BUI). The operator, who had been arrested twice for DUI, refused to give a sample of his breath and was booked into the Hillsborough County jail for BUI. He was also cited for refusing to submit to a breath test.

While on land patrol at the Courtney Campbell Causeway, Officers Pettifer and Caldwell observed two individuals fishing and a cooler near the two men. An inspection of the cooler revealed 16 undersized mangrove snapper, and one undersized snook. After conducting interviews, the two men admitted to catching the fish. They were cited for possession of undersized and over the bag limit of mangrove snapper. Additionally, the individual who caught the snook was cited for possession of an undersized snook during a closed season.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Hardgrove and Lieutenant Ruggiero responded to a search and rescue call. There were two men on an ATV inside a piece of private property and one of the men was having a seizure. The second man was lost and couldn’t find his way out to get help. A police department helicopter located the men and a fire and rescue truck got to them and brought them out for medical attention. Once back in the ambulance, the man regained consciousness and refused any medical attention. The officers also observed several other people exiting the private property and began asking questions because no one was supposed to be there. During the questioning both officers smelled the odor of marijuana. When asked about the odor everyone denied possessing any drugs, however, the officers found a small plastic baggie on the ground where they were sitting. One of the men admitted he tossed it because he didn’t want to get caught with it. He was issued a notice to appear for possessing marijuana and paraphernalia. All the people were issued trespass warnings for being on the private property without permission.

While on land patrol Officer Hardgrove conducted a fisheries check on a vessel returning to Pineland Marina. He located a plastic bag containing multiple fish fillets inside a small cooler on the boat. The fish were identified as spotted seatrout due to the skin still attached. The two occupants of the vessel were issued notices to appear for possession of seatrout not in whole condition.

Officer Hardgrove was on uniformed patrol at Pineland Marina and conducted a resource check on a recreational fishing boat. An inspection of the vessel revealed seven trout in the cooler – the daily bag limit is four. The operator was issued a notice to appear for over the bag limit of seatrout.

While on uniformed patrol at D and D Bait and Tackle, Officer Hardgrove conducted a resource inspection on an individual who had just placed a bucket and fishing pole in the back of a pickup truck. The individual stated that he had two mangrove snapper. An inspection of the bucket revealed seven mangrove snapper, most of which appeared to be under the legal minimum size limit of 10 inches. The individual stated that the fish belonged to someone else. No other individuals were present. Officer Hardgrove measured the mangrove snapper and five were determined to be undersized. The individual was issued a notice to appear for possession of undersized and over the bag limit of mangrove snapper.

Officer Thompson was working in plain clothes maintaining cover as a recreational fisherman while observing a group fishing at a popular local bridge. Two men caught undersized mangrove snapper one after the other and placed them in a container instead of returning them to the water. Officer Thompson called in Officer Hardgrove to contact the two men. When Officer Hardgrove arrived in uniform, the men attempted to hide the container in the bushes before he got to them. The container was located and found to have nine undersized mangrove snapper. Appropriate citations were issued.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Davidson was on land patrol around the South Skyway Fishing Pier and stopped and performed a fisheries inspection on a man fishing off the pier. During the course of the inspection, Officer Davidson found that the man had caught and kept several undersized mangrove snapper. The subject was issued one citation for possession of undersized mangrove snapper and will have to appear in court for his violation.

Officer Gonzales was on water patrol near Long Boat Pass and stopped and performed a boating safety inspection on a vessel near the pass. During the inspection, Officer Gonzales became suspicious that the operator of the vessel may have been under the influence of alcohol and that his normal faculties may have been impaired. The operator performed several field sobriety tasks poorly. After the tasks were completed the operator was arrested for BUI. The subject blew a .136 BAC, well over the legal limit of .08.

PASCO COUNTY

Officers Smith, Balfour, Pulaski, Alvis, Hughes, and Lieutenant Wells participated in a multi-agency detail involving the inspection of commercial bait shrimp boats off Hudson. On the first shrimp boat inspection, the captain was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and less than 20 grams of cannabis; one crewmember was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and less than 20 grams of cannabis; and the other crewmember was arrested for possession of scallops during closed season, illegal methods of harvest for scallops, possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis, and paraphernalia. The officers escorted the shrimp boat back to land. The second shrimp boat inspection involved Officer Alvis working on a Coast Guard boat. The officer arrested the captain for possession of methamphetamine, an active warrant, and being in possession of commercial quantities of shrimp without having a saltwater products license. FWC also assisted Paco Sheriff’s Office and USCG with the arrest of another crewmember on a different boat for a warrant and paraphernalia. All in all, five persons on three separate commercial bait shrimp boats went to jail for felony and misdemeanor charges.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land patrol near Fort Desoto, Officer Bibeau and Lieutenant Van Trees observed a vessel with fishing gear returning to the boat ramp and quickly maneuvered to intercept them as they arrived at the boat ramp. Officer Bibeau began a resource inspection with the four men on board and was told there was only one sheepshead and one spotted seatrout. As Officer Bibeau inspected the vessel, Lieutenant Van Trees noticed that the captain of the vessel got increasingly nervous as Officer Bibeau made his way to the front of the vessel. Lieutenant Van Trees asked the captain again if there were any other fish besides the two fish they claimed. Again, the officers were told there were just two fish. Officer Bibeau then found numerous undersized sheepshead in a livewell that was separate from the seatrout and one legal sheepshead. The subject was cited for possession of undersized sheepshead.

Officer Bibeau and Lieutenant Van Trees were watching subjects near the Skyway Bridge when one of the subjects returned to their vehicle. The officers made contact to conduct a resource inspection and the subject immediately became nervous and defiant as the officers spoke with him. A subsequent search of his name revealed he had a warrant for his arrest in Hillsborough County. The subject was arrested and booked into the Pinellas County jail for the warrant.

While on water patrol outside of Johns Pass, Officers Bibler, Bibeau, and Wilkins stopped a vessel returning from fishing offshore to conduct a resource inspection and found one of the subjects to be in possession of an out of season and undersized gray triggerfish. The subject was cited for his violations.

Officers Bibler, Bibeau, and Wilkins stopped another vessel returning from offshore near Johns Pass that had numerous rods and reels. Officer Bibeau initiated a resource inspection and found porgies, snapper, and a gray triggerfish. The triggerfish was measured and was undersized, as well as out of season. One subject was cited for possession of undersized and out of season gray triggerfish.

While on night water patrol near Tierra Verde, Officers Martinez and Bibler stopped a vessel to complete a resource inspection and noticed signs of impairment from the operator. Officer Martinez conducted field sobriety exercises with the operator, who was belligerent and cursing at the officer, and found him to indeed be impaired. The subject refused to give a sample of his breath. He was arrested for boating under the influence and cited for failure to provide a breath sample.

While on water patrol at Johns Pass, Officer Bibeau was checking a vessel when another passed by violating the speed restriction. Officer Bibeau motioned to the subject twice to slow down, and even though he saw Officer Bibeau motioning to him, he failed to slow down. Officer Bibeau caught up to the vessel and stopped it to address the violation. Officer Bibeau immediately noticed signs of impairment from the operator and subsequent field sobriety exercises determined he was impaired. Officer Bibeau, who is also a breath tech operator, arrested the subject for boating under the influence and administered a breath test. The test revealed the operator was a .14 BAC, well over the .08 legal limit. The subject was booked into the Pinellas County jail.

RESCUES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officers Zampella, Birchfield, Stasko, Price and Lieutenant Ruggiero responded to a suspicious vehicle inside the Webb Management area. The vehicle was abandoned with the windows open, keys in the ignition, and a cell phone. According to a witness, the vehicle had been at the location since the day before. After identifying the owner, the officers went by the last known residence to find he hadn’t been seen in two days, and had left the front door of his house open when he left. As a precaution, the officers began searching the area just in case he was injured or lost. The sheriff’s department sent a helicopter and deputies to assist. FWC K-9 performed an area search and no one could locate the person. The subject’s mother said she didn’t know where he was and was going to file a missing person report with the local authorities. Fortunately, the subject arrived at home the next morning uninjured.

HARDEE COUNTY

A subject was working in waist deep water on private property when he was bitten by a large alligator. The subject sustained bite injuries to his hand, armpit, upper chest, and leg. He freed himself by pushing the alligator away while yelling for help. After the bite occurred, the alligator retreated into deeper water and disappeared. Nearby workers assisted and transported him to a local hospital. This is an ongoing alligator bite incident.

PINELLAS COUNTY

During a busy Sunday at Honeymoon Island State Park, Officer Ferguson responded to numerous calls to include two lost children calls, a medical emergency call where a man was found unconscious, and a complaint from the park staff about visitors refusing to obey park staff commands. Officer Ferguson assisted in each call, assuring that there was a positive resolution in each case.

Officer Ferguson assisted FWC and Sea World biologists in the capture/rescue of a dolphin in Clearwater that had fishing line entangled on its tail fin. The entanglement was so bad that it had started to imbed in the skin of the dolphin. Officer Ferguson provided a security zone for the biologists to work and the rescue was a success with the dolphin being captured and the fishing line removed.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
POLK COUNTY

Officer Adams, Cloud, Stephens, Cristofaro, Salem, Stanley, Pulaski, Lieutenant Bontrager and Lieutenant Fugate assisted with safety and scoring at Florida’s National Archery in Schools Program Championship that was held in Bartow. There were 245 students that attended in person and an additional 658 students participated virtually.


SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Ryan discovered an abandoned boat submerged at a boat ramp along Alligator Alley. Pursuant to an investigation, he was able to identify the owner of the boat. Upon contact with the owner it was learned that he knowingly dumped the 23-foot vessel as garbage. Officer Ryan will be filing several charges against the owner with the Broward State Attorney’s Office.

Officer Banks was on patrol in western Broward near the border with Palm Beach County. She conducted a fresh water fisheries inspection on a large group of individuals that were fishing. With the assistance of Officer Ryan and the FWC dispatch center, they discovered that one subject had several outstanding warrants including grand theft out of Broward County. With information gathered, Officer Banks placed the individual under arrest and delivered him to the Broward County jail.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Crosby was conducting water patrol in the rim canal of Lake Okeechobee and observed a vessel with subjects actively fishing. As Officer Crosby approached to conduct a resource inspection, a subject on the vessel looked at him and began to retrieve fish from a bucket on the boat and throw them overboard. After being given several verbal commands to stop, the subject ceased. One fish thrown overboard was recovered. The fish thrown overboard were found to be a Black Crappie less than 10 inches in length. In the bucket a second Black Crappie was found that measured less than 10 inches. On Lake Okeechobee the minimum requirement for Black Crappie are 10 inches or more. The subject was cited accordingly for possession of undersized Black Crappie.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Nasworth was on foot patrol in the area of Canal Point Locks conducting freshwater fishery inspections and discovered one subject to be in possession of several undersized Black Crappie less than 10 inches in length. Officer Nasworth issued the subject a citation for the violation and a court date. Officer Nasworth seized the fish for evidence.

RESCUES
GLADES COUNTY

A call was received of an overdue person operating an air-boat, last seen near observation island area on Lake Okeechobee. The missing person was 85 years old with some medical issues. Lieutenant Strenth, Lieutenant Brown, Officers Crosby, Davis, Hausler, and Fijalkowski responded with airboats. A FWC helicopter was requested due to the thick vegetation in this area. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office responded with their Flair unit and assisted with the search until the search was called off at 3 am (to resume at daylight) due to hazards conditions. The subject was located at 9 am the next morning in good shape. He was transported back to the boat ramp and turned over to EMS. He was then transported to the hospital for observation.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
GLADES COUNTY

Officer Crosby went to the Moore Haven High School and gave a boating safety presentation. After the presentation, the students could get on a patrol vessel (that was on a trailer) and ask questions about the patrol truck, vessel and job. At the completion of the program all participants were given a free fishing pole with tackle. There were approximately 25 students that took part.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officers Davis, Crosby, Fijalkowski, and Hausler assisted with public safety and answered questions during the Seminole war re-enactment held at the Okeechobee Battlefield State Park.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

A German tourist couple rented unseaworthy jet skis from a livery through Air B&B. Upon inspection, the livery and employees failed to abide by all applicable rules and statutes. FWC officers rescued the victim on the disabled PWC from Sandspur island and with his full cooperation were able to charge and arrest the defendant. Miami-Dade County added civil charges and restricted the subject from all public county boat ramps.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Corteguera and an FWC officer from Miami Dade County were patrolling an area of Fort Lauderdale when they drove past a residence and saw a cage in the front yard of the residence containing several bunting birds. Upon closer inspection, they discovered that there were 17 painted bunting birds in a big cage in the front yard and another two cages containing two male painted buntings in the backyard. Several trap cages were scattered in the side yard of the home without any birds inside. The home owner was in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and was given federal citations for a total of 19 birds and the traps and one bird cage were seized as evidence.

Officer Washington responded to the Broad Causeway in reference to a PWC half sunk, tied off to the bridge. Officer Washington located a phone number for the owner and left several messages on her voice mail while he was still on the scene. Officer Washington decided to drive to her residence to and made contact with the owner who advised him the PWC was stolen a few days ago, but she had not reported it to the police. Officer Washington explained to the owner it was still her responsibility to remove the PWC from the state waters. While Officer Washington was on the scene, he ensured the owner made arrangements with Fast Response Towing, who advised her they would remove the PWC from the water and take it to the local landfill. Officer Washington advised her he would need photographs of the PWC out of the water and a copy of the landfill receipt for his incident report.

An arrest was made in connection with stolen jet skis from Miami that were recovered by FWC officers in August of 2017. After a thorough investigation, the defendants surrendered themselves at TGK on February 21st, and were placed under arrest for grand theft, dealing in stolen property, title fraud, altered HIN and registration fraud.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Tafoya was on the South end of Channel 2 Bridge conducting resource inspections on a fishing bridge when he saw a subject hauling a medium sized red cooler on wheels behind him, swelling from its contents. Officer Tafoya asked if he had any fish in the cooler to which he replied, “yes” and then asked him if he could look at his catch and he agreed to the inspection. The cooler contained 12 undersized mangrove snapper, 3 undersized lane snapper, 4 undersized yellowtail snapper, and a wrasse. The subject was cited accordingly.

COLLIER COUNTY

While conducting water patrol near Marco Island, Officer Plussa stopped a vessel displaying a foreign registration for a safety inspection. In addition to having multiple safety equipment violations, the operator provided conflicting documentation for the vessel. Officer Plussa determined that the operator was attempting to evade the registration and titling process and was operating the vessel with an expired Florida registration. The violator was cited and warned accordingly.

Officer Arbogast was patrolling a local panther zone at night when he observed a vehicle in front of him swerving in between the yellow lines of the two-lane road. The vehicle was observed, on several occasions, crossing the center yellow line in front of oncoming traffic before abruptly correcting itself. During the subsequent traffic stop, Officer Arbogast could immediately smell the odor of marijuana emanating from inside the vehicle. The operator was showing several indicators of impairment. Officer Kleis arrived on scene to assist. The operator and the single occupant were removed from the vehicle. The vehicle search did not yield significant results other than a large water bottle filled with a fruity alcoholic beverage inside. Officer Arbogast conducted FSTs on the operator. The operator did poorly. Officer Arbogast placed the operator under arrest for DUI and Officer Kleis transported her to the Naples Jail Center.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Dube, along with staff from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) had a joint information booth at the Annual “Gigantic Nautical Flea Market” held at Founders Park in Islamorada. Officer Dube answered questions about boating safety, resource laws and spearfishing. Officer Dube also answered questions to a dozen potential applicants that were interested in a career in the FWC. The weekend event saw approximately 800 people come by the booth.

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  FWC Enforcement Report February 9-15 All Regions
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NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
FRANKLIN COUNTY

Officers Peterson, Kossey, and Travis were targeting undersized oysters in the Eastpoint area. They conducted a resource inspection at the Eastpoint Boat Ramp and found two bags of oysters hidden in the boat. After checking the two bags of oysters for size tolerance, they determined one bag contained 96% undersized oysters and the other contained 100% undersized oysters. Both subjects were cited for possession of undersized oysters and untagged bags and 444 undersized oysters were returned to the water alive.

While on land patrol, Lieutenant Marlow and Officer Boyd drove into Mikissic Beach to conduct resource inspections. When driving into the area, they noticed multiple individuals move around a vehicle in an evasive manner. The officers contacted the individuals and smelled the odor of marijuana. Further investigation revealed multiple bags and a wooden box containing marijuana. Additionally, a marijuana smoking pipe, another pipe with white residue, two straws with white residue, a butane torch, other drug paraphernalia, multiple knives and a pair of brass knuckles were located on one of the individuals. Officer Richardson and a Carrabelle Police Department Officer arrived on scene to assist. Appropriate law enforcement action was taken.

While on patrol, Officer Nelson observed an individual, known to place live animal traps, walk out of a wooded area with a gun. He stopped and talked to the individual and after a brief conversation the man got in his truck and drove away. Officer Nelson followed him and stopped him. Further investigation revealed that he had multiple live traps in the wooded area that he was checking and he failed to possess a hunting license due to it being revoked by the courts. Additionally, the individual had a revoked driver’s license. Appropriate charges were issued for the violations.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Bartlett was conducting resource protection and permit inspections on Eglin Wildlife Management Area. The officer observed a vehicle traveling on Range Road 400 during closed hours. Officer Bartlett stopped the vehicle and contacted the driver and passenger, neither of which had the required Eglin Recreational User Permit. Officer Bartlett issued notice to appear citations to both the driver and passenger for entering Eglin during closed hours and warnings for no permits.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Jernigan received information regarding a social media post that showed a duck and another bird that a subject had killed. The duck was identified as a hooded merganser, but the other bird was a grebe, a protected migratory bird. Officer Jernigan located the subject who admitted to taking the bird. He was charged with a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act under Florida’s Administrative Code.

Officer Hutchinson completed an investigation into a complaint about a juvenile that killed a short horn buck. The investigation revealed evidence that the subject killed the deer by drowning it after he shot it several times with birdshot. He was charged with taking an antlerless deer and animal cruelty.

Officer Hutchinson completed an investigation regarding a subject who harvested two antlerless deer on one of the doe days earlier this season. The man was found in possession of a fresh deer hide, and during the investigation, provided officers with documentation that he killed two antlerless deer at one time. The limit is one per day. He was charged with taking over the bag limit of antlerless deer.

WAKULLA COUNTY

Lieutenant Marlow received a complaint of multiple individuals trespassing on a large tract of land. He responded to the area and observed a vehicle matching the description the complainant gave. When he started driving to their location, the vehicle turned and sped off in a different direction. Lieutenant Marlow closed the distance, the vehicle stopped and the driver quickly exited the vehicle. An interview of the driver and all occupants revealed that they had knowledge that they were trespassing. All individuals were charged accordingly.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers Drew and Reith worked boating safety and resource protection over the weekend. While patrolling Lochloosa Lake they inspected a vessel from Georgia. The two subjects had 71 specks and several other bream species. The men were issued a citation each for over the daily bag limit. The 21 specks over were seized and donated to an approved facility.

Officer Stanley was traveling home from his shift when he saw a truck on a piece of property in Fairbanks area. The owner of the property had complained of persons trespassing. As Officer Stanley approached the vehicle, he observed a subject drinking a beer in the back bed of the truck. Officer Stanley issued a citation for trespass.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Officer Albritton received information that an individual was catching alligators and posting this activity on Facebook. Investigator McMillan began working on the information and found several photos on the subject’s Facebook account of him in possession of alligators. After an interview, the subject was issued three criminal notices to appear in court for possession of alligators.

Officer Albritton received information from a concerned citizen that a private club member in Taylor County had killed an illegal buck deer. During the investigation, he determined that the subject had killed one illegal deer and was in possession of another. Officers Albritton and Robson met with the suspect at his hunt camp in Taylor County and issued the individual one criminal notice to appear and one written warning for taking of illegal deer.

DIXIE COUNTY

Lieutenant Futch was on patrol when he observed a vessel heading in from fishing. He followed the vessel and observed it tie up to a private dock. As he made contact, he observed several redfish on the bottom of the vessel. During a fisheries inspection he discovered several more redfish in a cooler. The subjects were issued a notice to appear for over the bag limit of redfish.

Lieutenant Futch and Officer Sheffield received information that subjects were commercially harvesting oysters in a closed area. As they arrived on scene, the officers observed three commercial vessels and six subjects harvesting oysters in a closed area. Following a brief interview, the subjects admitted they knew the area was closed. The subjects were issued notices to appear and the oysters were returned to the water.

Lieutenant Futch was on patrol when he observed a man in a vessel gigging fish near Steinhatchee. As the operator of the vessel returned to shore, Lieutenant Futch made contact and observed an undersized flounder on the front of the boat. A resource inspection revealed a small plastic container with several redfish fillets inside. The subject admitted to gigging and filleting several undersized redfish earlier in the night and was issued a citation for the violations.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officer Troiano attended Bishop Middle School’s career day and answered many questions about our job and what our responsibilities are in conserving Florida’s natural resources.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Matthews was on patrol at Sebastian Inlet State Park when he observed a group of subjects loading up their vehicle in the parking lot. They had numerous items including fishing gear in their possession, but denied having caught any fish. During a resource inspection, a bag began thrashing around inside the open trunk of the vehicle. An oversized snook (34 inches) and several undersized sheepshead were found inside the bag. A citation was issued for the offense and the fish were returned to the water.

Two men arrested by Lieutenant Lightsey, Investigator Horst, and Officer Matthews were sentenced for numerous violations they committed in T.M. Goodwin Wildlife Management Area (WMA) last year. The two men were found guilty of illegally entering a WMA, illegal take of frogs from T.M. Goodwin, possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, and possession of cannabis and drug paraphernalia.

ORANGE COUNTY

Officer Mendelson observed two vehicles pulled off Nova Road near Deseret Ranch. After conducting surveillance, three individuals were apprehended for trespassing and fishing inside the ranch. Officer Bohne also responded to assist with the case. The three subjects were issued a notice to appear for trespassing and the fish were returned to the water.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officers Harris and Miller and Lieutenant Zukowsky participated in the annual Heroes on the Water, Northeast Florida Chapter kayak outing in the Palm Valley area of the intracoastal waterway (ICW) in north St. Johns County. The officers provided vessel traffic control and general waterborne security for approximately 25 military veterans and their family members, many of whom fished for several hours in and around the tidal creeks in the narrow stretch of the ICW near the SR 210 Bridge.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officers Lawrence and Thomas assisted Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) Biologist Nadia Gordon from the Jacksonville Field Office with locating a juvenile harbor seal in the inland waters of north St. Johns County. With teams of biologists on each of their patrol vessels, Officers Lawrence and Thomas ferried the group around as they navigated the shallow waters in Stokes Creek checking on the welfare of the marine mammal. According to Gordon, biologists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) advised that the southernmost range for harbor seals is typically South Carolina. This one just went further south than most. Seals are opportunistic carnivores that feed on fish, shellfish and crustaceans. The animal appeared in good body condition and is likely eating well. The biologists hope the seal will head back north as the waters warm over the next few weeks.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Officers Berg and Gaudion were on night water patrol in South Hillsborough County when they observed a vessel using a high-powered spotlight. The officers watched the individuals and determined that they were gigging fish. The officers conducted a fisheries inspection and located a red drum that had been gigged. The individual was charged with red drum taken by illegal method.

While on land patrol along the Hillsborough River, Lieutenant Van Trees watched several subjects fishing from a closed bridge. During a resource inspection, warnings were issued for license violations and one of the subjects was found to have a warrant out of Jacksonville for his arrest. The subject was arrested, and Officer Phillippi arrived to assist and transported the subject to the Hillsborough County jail where he was booked for the warrant.

Officers Martinez and Alvis were on land patrol when they stopped two subjects as they were arriving back to the boat ramp. The subjects, one of which has a lifetime ban from commercial fishing, were in possession of blue crabs, stone crabs, and a bag of filleted fish. After interviewing both subjects, the officers found that they had caught two snook with a cast net and kept them. Snook is currently out of season and can only be caught with hook and line gear. Due to his extensive violation history, one subject was taken to jail for four misdemeanor charges related to snook violations, and the other male subject having no prior history, was cited accordingly for the violations.

Lieutenant DeLacure and Captive Wildlife Investigator Hough arrested two subjects regarding the unlawful taking and possession of Indigo Buntings and a northern mockingbird which were trapped illegally. The subjects were also charged for tampering with evidence after they attempted to conceal and flee with several birds.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Hough and Lieutenant DeLacure went to the Florida State Fairground to inspect mobile vendors and traveling wildlife exhibitors. They found and cited an out of state vendor for failure to present a valid non-resident fish dealer’s license. In addition, they also discovered an individual from Texas that had unlawfully imported 60 sugar gliders (Class III wildlife), failed to obtain an import permit, had no license to sell/display/exhibit the Class III Wildlife, and imported the sugar gliders with no official certificate of veterinary inspection prior to entry into the State. The exhibitor was closed down by the Florida State Fairground Authority.

HIGHLANDS COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Zimmerman along with Lieutenant DeLacure identified an individual who was illegally in possession of capuchin monkeys. The subject was charged with unlawful possession of Class III Wildlife (for exhibition purposes) without a valid license, possession of Class III Wildlife at an unpermitted facility location, and failure to meet minimum standard caging requirements. The monkeys were returned to the originating facility.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Stapleton was conducting resource inspections along the coast when he encountered a man fishing near a bridge. During the inspection, Officer Stapleton located a bucket the man was using to keep fish which contained seven undersized mangrove snapper. In addition to possession of the undersized fish, the man had over his legal bag limit and failed to possess a current fishing license. Appropriate citations were issued.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Gonzales was on land patrol around the South Skyway Fishing Pier. While on patrol he stopped and performed a fisheries inspection on an individual fishing from the pier, which revealed that the subject had caught and kept several undersized gray mangrove snapper. The subject was issued a citation for possession of undersized gray snapper and will have to appear in court for his violation.

Officer Miller was on patrol conducting fishery inspections on Snead Island and encountered a subject in possession of eight undersized mangrove snapper, the largest being 8 ¾ inches, and one undersized sheepshead. The subject was issued a citation for the mangrove snapper and issued a warning for the undersized sheepshead.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on water patrol in Big Bayou, Officer Alvis and Lieutenant Laskowski conducted marine sanitation device compliance inspections. Several anchored liveaboard vessels were inspected. Two citations and two written warnings were issued for various violations to include no working marine sanitation device, failure to transfer vessel title, and expired vessel registration.

Officers Guerin and Berg were on land patrol when they encountered three men fishing near the 4th Street boat ramp. A resource inspection revealed that none of the individuals had a valid saltwater fishing license and one of the individuals was also in possession of a 16-inch red drum. That subject was cited for possession of an undersized red drum and issued a warning for the license violation.

While on land patrol near Fort Desoto, Officer Bibeau contacted an individual that was returning to his vehicle to conduct a fisheries inspection. The individual was in possession of two undersized seatrout. After further investigation, Officer Bibeau found that the subject had previously been cited for the same violation only 10 days prior by another officer. Officer Bibeau wrote the individual a misdemeanor citation for the fisheries violation.

Officer Bibeau received a call from dispatch advising him of three individuals catching and keeping numerous undersized mangrove snapper and sheepshead near Blind Pass. A resource inspection revealed the subjects were in possession of 15 undersized mangrove snapper and four undersized sheepshead. The individuals were issued the appropriate misdemeanor citation and warnings for the violations.

Officer Martinez was on land patrol at the 4th Street boat ramp when he observed a vessel returning to the ramp and performed a resource inspection of the vessel. The operator was in possession of 15 sheepshead, 14 of which were under the legal size limit of 12 inches. The operator also had an expired vessel registration. The subject had been warned less than a year ago for the same violations. The fish were seized as evidence and the subject was cited accordingly for the violations.

SARASOTA COUNTY

Officer Brown was on land patrol around Case Key Boat Ramp and stopped and performed a fisheries and boating safety inspection on two men returning in their vessel. A resource inspection revealed one of the men had caught and kept a red drum that was undersized. The subject was given a citation for possession of undersized red drum and will have to appear in court for his violation.

Officer Sierra was conducting fishery inspections at the 10th Street boat ramp and performed a resource inspection on two subjects who were in possession of several undersized stone crab claws. Both subjects were cited accordingly.

Officer Hertel responded to a complaint of a subject cast netting and keeping snook in Phillippi Creek at the Tuttle Bridge. The subject netted a 41-inch snook and tried to conceal it next to the bridge. Officer Hertel found the fish and cited the subject for possession of snook during closed season and possession of snook over the slot limit.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
GLADES COUNTY

Officer Worrell, Lieutenant Brown, and Captain Suggs were working night hunting when they observed a spotlight near the Charlotte county line. They located the individuals shining a spotlight and, while observing the individuals, heard a shot. After stopping the individuals, the officers located and seized one doe deer, 5 firearms, and a bottle of prescription pills. The appropriate citations were issued.

Lieutenant Brown made an illegal possession of alligator eggs case during the summer. The subject was found guilty, put on probation, and fined.

Officer Brodbeck was on vessel patrol on Fisheating Bay when he observed a vessel fishing for black crappie. A vessel stop was initiated to conduct a resource inspection. When asked how many fish he had on board, the subject stated 25, the daily bag limit for black crappie. An inspection of a cooler on board the vessel revealed over the daily limit of black crappie already packed in ice. The subject was issued a citation for the violation.

Officer Brodbeck was on land-based water patrol at the Harney Pond Canal boat ramp. While assisting another vessel with a mechanical problem, Officer Brodbeck observed a vessel with fishing equipment in plain view load onto a trailer at an adjacent ramp. The officer approached the vessel and occupants and asked how many fish they had caught. The owner of the vessel stated that they had caught several black crappie, as well as other species. After receiving consent to inspect the fish on board, Officer Brodbeck observed several black crappie well below the 10-inch limit for Lake Okeechobee. When asked if he knew the size limit for black crappie, the owner of the vessel stated 10 inches. A total of 5 black crappie were below the required size. The vessel owner received a citation for the violation. The fish were photographed and returned to the water.

Officer Brodbeck was on land-based water patrol in Moore Haven. An off-duty officer informed Officer Brodbeck that subjects may be using a cast net at Sportsman’s canal to harvest game fish. Officer Brodbeck parked his patrol vehicle a distance away and observed multiple subjects actively fishing from the bridge on SR 78 and catching black crappie. The officer contacted the subjects to conduct a fishing license and resource inspection. Four black crappie were less than the required length of 10 inches. One subject stated that he did not have a fishing license. When his information was checked through the law enforcement database, the subject had an active felony warrant out of Hendry County. The subject was placed under arrest and transported to the Glades County jail. The appropriate warnings were issued for the resource violations.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Brodbeck was on land-based water patrol at the Scott Driver boat ramp on the Kissimmee River and observed a vessel being loaded onto a trailer with fishing equipment in plain view. A resource inspection revealed two black crappie less than the required 10 inches. The subject was issued a citation for the violation. The fish were photographed and returned to the water.

Officer Brodbeck was on land-based water patrol at the Scott Driver boat ramp along the Kissimmee River. While conducting surveillance, the officer observed a vessel with two occupants approaching the dock with fishing equipment consistent with fishing for black crappie. A resource inspection revealed 5 undersized black crappie. The passenger of the vessel took responsibility for the violation and was issued a citation. The fish were photographed and returned to the water.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

An FWC officer responded to a request for assistance from a city marine patrol unit near Virginia Key. Upon arrival, the FWC officer found that the city officer had conducted a vessel stop and the operator was thought to be impaired. The FWC officer conducted field sobriety tasks, determined the subject to be impaired, arrested and transported him to an Intoxilyzer facility. The subject was administered a breath test which confirmed the officer’s suspicion. Shortly thereafter, another FWC officer responded to a second request for assistance, this time from county marine patrol units at Crandon Park marina. Upon arrival, that FWC officer found that county officers had conducted a vessel stop and encountered another operator thought to be impaired. The FWC officer administered field sobriety tasks and determined that subject was impaired. The FWC officer arrested and transported the second subject to an Intoxilyzer facility where a breath test was administered. That subject’s test results confirmed that he was impaired two times above the legal limit. Two other FWC officers responded to a call for assistance from US Coast Guard at Haulover Marina fuel docks. Upon arrival, the officers learned that Coast Guard had stopped a suspicious, outbound twenty-one-foot vessel laden with what was thought to be illegal fuel drums. Though the drums and the gasoline inside of them were determined to have been lawfully stowed and transported, the vessel operator was issued a criminal citation for failure to display a hull identification number on the vessel and infraction citations for registration and boating safety violations.

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Way, Messier, and Lieutenant Peters conducted a commercial vessel inspection on a lobster fisherman actively pulling traps. Lieutenant Peters was dropped off on the vessel while Officer Way and Messier went and retrieved a lobster trap that was just dropped from the commercial vessel. Once on deck, Lieutenant Peters discovered a significant amount of undersized lobsters sitting in a basket on the deck. These undersized lobsters were not being maintained in a continuously circulating live well as required. Lieutenant Peters also discovered that the vessel was significantly over their limit of undersized lobsters for use as attractants. Officers Way and Messier found that the trap they retrieved did not have a valid tag. The captain of the vessel was charged with possession of 46 undersized lobster, not maintaining undersized lobsters used as attractants in a shaded continuously circulating live well, and for not having a current trap tag affixed to his trap. The 46 undersized lobsters were returned to the water alive and unharmed.

Officers Martino and Hettel were on water patrol in Key West Bight and conducted a vessel stop on a small skiff. During the boarding, the operator had been drinking and stated, "I had a few." Officers decided to perform seated field sobriety tasks. The operator performed poorly with enough clues to place him under arrest for BUI/Operating a vessel with normal facilities impaired. He was transported to Stock Island Jail for booking. There he refused to submit a breath test and was issued an additional citation for that offense.

COLLIER COUNTY

While conducting water patrol near Keewaydin Island, Officer Plussa was flagged down by a concerned boater who had called 911 about a dangerous vessel that passed them less than 5 feet and at speeds of over 50 miles per hour. The witness completed a sworn statement and Officer Plussa located the suspect vessel nearby. Because of his investigation, the owner and operator in command of the vessel was arrested for BUI and allowing an impaired person to operate the vessel and reckless operation of the vessel. During the encounter, one of the subjects became non-compliant and had to be physically restrained, resulting in additional criminal charges for resisting arrest and interference with an FWC officer. Both subjects were also cited for refusal to submit to a breath test and navigation rule and safety equipment violations.

While conducting evening park patrol of Delnor-Wiggins State Park, Officer Plussa was contacted by park rangers who found an intoxicated man passed out on the beach in a closed area after hours. The subject refused to follow their instructions to leave the park. Officer Plussa issued the subject citations for park rules violations relating to consumption of alcohol in a state park, remaining in a state park after closing hours, and a warning for failure to follow park staff instructions. Officer Plussa ejected the subject from the park and issued him a trespass accordingly. Due to the subject’s impaired state and his inability to walk, Officer Plussa transported him to the park exit and coordinated a cab for his safe journey home.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
MONROE COUNTY

Officer McKay was requested by Dagny Johnson State Park management to assist in a Burmese Python collection event being held in the park and on Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge properties. The South Florida Association of Environmental Professionals had received the necessary permits to conduct the invasive species removal day. McKay and State Park Ranger Bob Muhly led some of the groups through parts of the Keys not normally accessible to the public on both State and Federal lands and provided historical background on the areas. Even though no pythons were located, it was deemed a successful day as the group learned more about how the natural resources are being protected and in some cases where the areas are being restored back to their natural state.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Richards, Foell, Adams and Detective Bragg with MCSO conducted an overnight Gulf of Mexico JEA patrol onboard the FWC offshore patrol vessel Safeboat. The officers focused on a concentration of commercial shrimping vessels located outside of the Tortugas shrimp sanctuary. While heading offshore, the crew observed a commercial stone crab vessel actively working stone crab traps. An inspection revealed numerous commercial violations, including 15 undersized stone crab claws, no aerial display, no saltwater products license available for inspection, and no endorsement numbers displayed on their buoys. The subjects were charged accordingly.

Later in the patrol, the officers used radar to ensure no commercial shrimp vessels were inside of the Tortugas shrimp sanctuary. After surveilling the closed area, the officers began to board and inspect the commercial shrimping vessels. A total of four 80’+ vessels were inspected throughout the night. After completing the third inspection, the crew observed a vessel on radar inside the sanctuary. The crew approached the vessel and began documenting the violation. The vessel was approximately 300 yards inside of the sanctuary during the time of the boarding. The vessel was inspected, thoroughly documented and NOAA was notified on scene. The vessel contained 25,000 pounds of shrimp. The case has been forwarded to NOAA for federal charges.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Plussa conducted targeted patrols of Delnor-Wiggins State Park and adjacent waters focusing on recent complaints involving vehicle and vessel traffic around park patrons. Officer Plussa stopped a total of thirty-five users and issued citations for park rules and littering violations, several boating citations for safety, registration, and navigation rule violations, and traffic citations for speed and careless operation, as well as written warnings for the same.

RESCUES
MONROE COUNTY

FWC Dispatch notified Officer Martino and Hettel of a person in distress on a grounded 34’ center console vessel oceanside near Big Pine Key. Officers proceeded to Dolphin Marina and boarded an FWC vessel. Officers proceeded to the location while communicating with the U.S. Coast Guard. The victim was reported to be having an asthma attack and having difficulty breathing. Officers arrived at the subject vessel and found the captain curled up in the fetal position on a bench seat on the bow where he was barely conscious. The victim was placed on the patrol vessel and transported to shore to awaiting EMS and taken to the hospital.

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  FWC Enforcement Report February 16-22. All Regions.
Posted by: bigefromlc - 03-08-2018, 11:38 AM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Land was on patrol at Pensacola Beach conducting resource inspections and approached an individual who was surf fishing on the beach. A large tail was protruding from a five-gallon bucket filled with water near the subject. The red drum was over the maximum size of 27 inches. The fish was released to the water and the subject was issued a citation for the violation.

Officer Pettey received information that an individual shot an illegal short horned buck and posted it on Facebook. During an interview, the individual admitted killing the deer. The deer antlers measured 8 inches, short of the 10-inch minimum. The deer was seized and donated to a local charity. The subject was issued a notice to appear citation for the violation and for not having a hunting license.

Lieutenant Hahr was patrolling the Escambia River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when he observed two campers at the Mystic Springs Campground. While talking to them, he smelled the odor of cannabis and subsequently discovered a small amount of cannabis and a pipe. While detaining both subjects, they became uncooperative. While Lieutenant Hahr was handcuffing the man, his girlfriend ran to the truck and locked herself inside after being told to stop several times. The woman was removed from the truck and arrested for resisting arrest without violence. A search of the truck revealed more cannabis and paraphernalia along with to two forms of heroin, psilocybin mushrooms, unknown pills, and another unidentified substance. Both subjects were charged with possession of controlled substances and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Investigator Livesay was dispatched to a mobile home park regarding trespassing and illegal trapping. A subject admitted to trapping on the vacant property adjacent to the mobile home park. The property is owned by the U.S. Navy and the subject stated he did not have permission to set up traps on the property. The subject admitted to trapping two raccoons, a beaver, and a fox using steel leg hold traps. Two traps were removed from the Navy property and one from the mobile home park. The subject did not possess a trapping license and was issued two citations for possession of a fox without a permit and taking nuisance wildlife using steel leg hold traps.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

Officers Nelson and Travis were conducting resource inspections of individuals fishing in Eastpoint. During an inspection, the officers found two individuals to be in possession of 14 spotted sea trout, four over the limit and six were undersized. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

HOLMES COUNTY

Officer Greene responded to a complaint of illegal road hunting in western Holmes County. The complainant got the tag information and passed it along to the officer. After a short interview, the subject admitted to shooting from the roadway. Appropriate charges were filed through the State Attorney’s Office.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Bartlett was on land patrol at Joe’s Bayou boat ramp in Destin. The officer observed a pontoon boat returning to the ramp after sunset operating with a nonfunctional portside navigation light and displaying an expired Alabama vessel registration. During a subsequent boating safety inspection, the operator could not produce the registration, but explained he had purchased the boat in June 2017. Officer Bartlett explained the law requires that the new owner, within 30 days from the date of purchase, must transfer the vessel title into his name. The individual was issued a notice to appear citation.

Investigator Molnar was working night hunting activity on a county maintained road which passed through Eglin Reservation. A pickup truck slowed down while the passenger displayed a LED light into an open field in a manner capable of disclosing the presence of deer. Investigator Molnar followed the vehicle for about ½ mile and conducted a traffic stop. A pump action 12-gauge shotgun was located between the passenger side door and the seat along with five 00 buck shotgun shells. An LED flashlight was also located in the center console and there was dried deer blood and hair in the bed of the truck. After speaking with the subjects, it was determined they were attempting to take deer with a gun and light. Appropriate citations were issued. Eglin Range Patrol also cited the subjects restricting them from using the Eglin Reservation for three years.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officers Jones and Mullins were on foot patrol in a closed area of the Eglin Reservation. The officers encountered a subject dressed in camouflage and armed with a muzzle loading deer rifle. The subject was issued a notice to appear in criminal court for the offense of hunting in a closed area. The subject’s information was also referred to Eglin Range Patrol for action on his Eglin permits.

Officer Lewis was on forest patrol near Blackwater River State Forest when he observed a truck with a dog box parked at the gate where he had checked subjects in the past. He approached the vehicle and observed a man in the driver seat and a woman in the passenger seat. The man appeared to be trying to conceal something between the seats. Officer Lewis asked the man if they owned the property they were on, or if they knew who the owner was, and he said they did not. Officer Lewis searched the truck and subsequently found a medicine bottle containing three small baggies that appeared to contain methamphetamine, a glass smoking device with methamphetamine, and prescription narcotics. The man told him that the bottle contained methamphetamine, Percocet, and Hydrocodone, and that he smoked meth earlier that day. Officer Lewis arrested the man and charged him with three felony counts of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was transported to the Santa Rosa County Jail without incident.

Officer Lewis was on forest patrol at Bear Lake when he observed a subject fishing from a pier. The subject had kept a variety of fish. Upon request, the subject could not produce a valid freshwater fishing license. While the officer was copying the man’s vehicle tag number, the man stated that the tag did not belong on the vehicle, and he had attached it to the vehicle. While conducting his inspection, Officer Lewis observed a backpack in the truck that the man stated was not his. When asked about it, the man stated that it contained methamphetamine. Officer Lewis searched the backpack and discovered a soda bottle that had methamphetamine cooking inside of it, known as a one-pot. Officer Lewis contacted the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office narcotics unit to safely handle the substance. The narcotics unit arrived on scene and neutralized the substance. Officer Lewis arrested the man and charged him with manufacturing methamphetamine. He transported him to the Santa Rosa County Jail. The subject was also issued a citation for fishing without a license.

WALTON COUNTY

Officers Bradshaw and Letcher completed an investigation involving a deer that had been reported as being a legally taken buck which had been processed and placed in a cooler. When parts of the deer were inspected, the officers knew it was not consistent with a legally taken deer due to the size. After multiple conflicting interviews, the subject in possession of the meat admitted it was an antlerless deer. The subject responsible for shooting the deer was later identified. Both subjects were charged for taking/possession of an antlerless deer.

Officer Tison began a derelict vessel investigation after observing a vessel that was partially submerged in Hogtown Bayou. The owner had previously been cited for failure to transfer the title. It was later determined the owner of the vessel was in the Walton County Jail for an unrelated violation. Officer Tison met with the subject and discussed options for correcting the issue with his vessel. He was charged for a having a derelict vessel on the waters of the state.

WASHINGTON COUNTY/HOLMES COUNTY

Officers worked a detail over the weekend focusing on areas where complaints of night hunting have been received. Officers Gore, Hayes, and Coker observed a vehicle illuminating a field in a manner capable of disclosing wildlife. After a traffic stop, they discovered the driver in possession of a firearm. The subject was issued appropriate citations for the violation.

Officer Gore was on patrol when he heard a gunshot. He coursed the shot, went to the area and located a parked vehicle. A brief time later, a subject in camo with a gun approached. Officer Gore identified himself and asked what he shot. The subject stated a coyote. Further investigation of the hunting stand and area revealed a freshly harvested doe deer. The subject was cited for taking an antlerless deer out of season.

SEARCH & RESCUE
BAY COUNTY

While on patrol, Officer Basford and Reserve Officer Cooper saw what appeared to be a man struggling in the water inside one of the sandbar breakers off St. Andrews Beach. They approached and found an older gentleman struggling to hold onto an overturned 16-foot vessel. The vessel was caught inside the breakers, which caused it to roll. The officers positioned their vessel inside of the rolling breakers and safely retrieved the man from the turbulent water. The man was shaken and cold, but did not receive any injuries. Preliminary findings revealed the subject was trolling outside of the breakers when a large wave capsized his vessel, only 5 minutes before the officers found him.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
TAYLOR COUNTY

Officer Robson was on patrol at Yates Creek boat ramp, checking fishermen as they landed their vessels. During an administrative resource inspection of a commercial air boat, subjects were found to be in possession of saltwater fish and a seine net not properly marked at each end, wrapped in a tarp on the floor of the boat. The subjects admitted to net fishing. The owner received a citation for not properly marking each end of the seine net.

DUVAL COUNTY

Officer Shearer responded to a complaint about a subject keeping undersized redfish at Talbot Island State Park. Arriving at the fishing pier, he found two subjects fishing and conducted plain clothes surveillance. One of the men caught a small redfish, looked around and dropped it into his tackle box. Officer Shearer approached the subject and located two more small redfish in the area. The subject admitted to keeping the fish and was issued the appropriate citations and warnings.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
FLAGLER COUNTY

Officer Meade received an early morning phone call from a Flagler County Sheriff’s Deputy about possible night hunting in west Flagler County. At the site, tire sign was found from a truck that had pulled off the road next to a pasture. The owner of the pasture had gotten the tag number of the truck. Later in the day, Officer Meade and Lieutenant Dack investigated and interviewed three individuals – two adult males and one juvenile female. The three had pulled over and while the female shined a light into the pasture, one of the males attempted to shoot at a deer standing in the pasture with a 22-250 rifle. All three gave written statements to the fact, and with the written statement from the deputy of what he observed, Officer Meade filed charges on all three for night hunting and shooting from a road right of way.

SUMTER COUNTY

Officer Scrambling received information about a Wildwood man that was feeding, catching, and skinning alligators and keeping them in his freezer. The subject was interviewed at his residence. A consensual resource inspection was conducted and two small American alligators were found in a deep freezer located on the carport. The subject was cited appropriately for the violation.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officer Sapp and Officer Edson were on water patrol on Lake George when they stopped a vessel for violating the slow speed zone at the south end of the lake. During the stop, the officers detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the operator and observed numerous signs of impairment. The operator became hostile and began to swear at the officers. After their investigation, the officers determined that his normal faculties were impaired and arrested him for boating under the influence (BUI) and he was transported to the Volusia County Jail.

PUTNAM COUNTY

Officer Bernard was conducting fisheries inspections at Rodman Dam and checked a subject’s catch. The subject was in possession of four black bass, two of which were over 16 inches. The subject was issued a citation for possessing more than one bass over 16 inches in length.

Officer Bernard was conducting fisheries inspections at Rodman Dam and checked a subject’s catch. The subject was in possession of five black bass, all of which were over 16 inches. The subject was issued a citation for possessing more than one bass over 16 inches in length.

OSCEOLA COUNTY

Investigator McKinney responded to a single vehicle all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accident that occurred in Bull Creek WMA. A 38-year-old male was operating an ATV on the East Loop Road. For an undetermined reason, he lost control of the machine and flipped it. He was found by friends off the roadway unconscious, next to the upside-down vehicle. The man was transported to Holmes Regional Hospital where he is currently listed in critical condition. The case is being worked as a motor vehicle accident.

BREVARD COUNTY

Officers Eller and Hallsten were conducting fisheries patrol in the Atlantic Ocean out of Port Canaveral and were checking recreational vessels for compliance with all state and federal saltwater fisheries regulations. While checking vessels, the officers noticed one vessel acting unusually. When the officers approached this vessel to conduct a check, the vessel accelerated in the opposite direction. Officers intercepted the vessel and conducted a stop. Officers noticed fishing gear on board and asked if there was any fish on board. The operator told officers that he had “gotten skunked today” and that he did not have any fish. A resource inspection revealed an undersized and out of season red grouper. The violator was issued a citation for the violation.

RESCUES
LAKE COUNTY

FWC received a call that an 80-year-old man from the United Kingdom was missing and that his vehicle had been located in Richloam Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Officer Teal had previously run the tag after the Florida Forest Service had reported it stuck in a mud hole. At the time there were no signs of foul play and no reports of a missing person. Officers Teal and Phillips arrived on scene and immediately located foot sign leading away from the vehicle. FWC Officers from Hernando, Pasco, Lake and Polk Counties were also enroute, along with personnel from the Florida Forest Service and Lake County Sheriff’s Office. The man had been following his GPS directions which lead him through the heart of the Richloam WMA. The roads within Richloam are very rough and difficult to travel even with a 4x4 vehicle. The man had become stuck very late the night before and wound up spending the night in his car and set out on foot the next day looking for a way out. The officers began following the foot sign for several miles leading through the heavy thick woods. The foot sign crossed a fence into Green Swamp West WMA and continued. The officers meticulously followed the foot sign, losing the trail several times only to pick it back up because the man had a slight limp and would drag his foot every so often. They followed him to a road, but instead of turning left which would have been an easy route to civilization the man turned right headed into a heavily wooded area. After several miles of tracking, the officers found the man lying on the ground next to the road. He was severely dehydrated, but otherwise unharmed. The man was taken to the hospital where he was treated and released. Thanks to the tracking skills and persistence of these two officers the man was located alive and well.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on patrol at the Lowery Park Boat Ramp, Officer Rorer observed a vessel returning to the boat ramp. The operator repeatedly had trouble loading the vessel onto the trailer at the boat ramp. During the process, he nearly backed into a second vessel waiting their turn to use the ramp. During a boating safety inspection, Officer Rorer detected signs of alcohol impairment coming from the operator. Standardized seated field sobriety tasks were administered. Based on Officer Rorer’s observations, the operator was arrested for operating a vessel while impaired by alcohol. He was transported to the Hillsborough County jail where he submitted to a breath test. Both breath samples were over the legal limit of .08.

LEE COUNTY

Officers Thompson and Hargrove were patrolling late one night when they spotted a commercial fisherman returning to the dock. They were familiar with this subject because he had recently been convicted of the use of monofilament gill nets in state waters and was currently on probation. When the officers inspected his catch, they found nine sharks on board. The sharks were harvested with nets, an unlawful method of take, and he was eight sharks over his bag limit. The subject was arrested for the shark violations along with a violation of his probation curfew.

While patrolling the waters late one night, Officers Hardgrove and Stapleton spotted a small boat operating in shallow water. When they heard the two people on board using a cast net, they stopped the boat for a resource inspection. When they smelled a strong odor of burnt marijuana, they began a search for additional contraband. One of the subjects on board was found to be in possession of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and multiple prescription medications. He was arrested for the drug charges and resisting arrest.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land patrol at the Tierra Verde Bridge, Officer Bibeau observed two individuals that were actively fishing. A resource inspection revealed six undersized mangrove snapper, one undersized sheepshead, one whole stone crab, and one undersized stone crab claw. One of the subjects admitted to catching all the fish, and was written a misdemeanor citation and multiple warnings for the fisheries violations.

While on land patrol near Gandy Beach, Officer Martinez noticed a large group of people huddled around a truck and vessel at the water’s edge. As Officer Martinez approached the group one of the subjects began to throw fish back into the water. Inside the vessel was legal fish. He continued his inspection and asked about a large cooler in the bed of the truck. Officer Martinez was given permission to search the cooler and found eight snook, one redfish, and one sheepshead hidden underneath a pile of mullet. All eight of the snook were undersized and out of season – the redfish and sheepshead were both undersized as well. After interviewing the group, three subjects admitted to cast-netting all the fish. The subjects were cited for possession of snook out of season, possession of undersized snook, taking snook by illegal method, possession of undersized redfish, and possession of undersized sheepshead.

While driving over the Tierra Verde Bridge, Officer Martinez noticed a subject fishing the bridge watching him intently as he passed by. Officer Martinez kept driving, parked his truck out of sight, and then watched the subject from a concealed position. As the subject and another man returned to their vehicle, Officer Martinez approached and initiated a resource inspection. The subjects were found to have one out of season and undersized gag grouper, as well as six undersized mangrove snapper. The subjects were cited accordingly for their violations.

Officer Ferguson was on patrol at Honeymoon Island State Park when he observed a subject carrying fishing equipment down the beach. Officer Ferguson initiated a resource inspection and found two red drum underneath a cast net in a bucket. The subject was over his daily bag limit of red drum and cited accordingly.

Officer Bibler was on water patrol offshore of St. Pete Beach. He observed a fishing vessel coming in from offshore and stopped the vessel to conduct a resource inspection. Upon inspecting the catch, the captain was in possession of an American red snapper. The subject was cited for possession of American red snapper out of season.

Officer Bibler was on water patrol offshore of Pass-a-Grille when he observed a fishing vessel coming in from offshore and stopped the vessel to conduct a resource inspection. During the inspection, the subjects admitted to catching and keeping a variety of fish. One subject admitted to catching a greater amberjack and Officer Bibler informed him that it is currently prohibited to take greater amberjack due to the season being closed. The subject was cited for the violation.

While on land patrol at the Gandy Beach, Officer Martinez observed a subject fishing from the beach and approached to conduct a resource inspection. The inspection revealed the subject was in possession of nine mangrove snapper (four over the daily limit), six of which were undersized. The subject was cited for possession of undersized mangrove snapper and warned for over the bag limit.

While on land patrol at the Dunedin Causeway, Officer Bibeau observed three individuals returning to their vehicle carrying miscellaneous fishing equipment. A resource inspection revealed two undersized gag grouper. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized gag grouper and harvest of gag grouper during closed season.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
LEE COUNTY

Officers Hardgrove, Thompson, Stapleton, and Lieutenant Barrett participated in a multi-night operation targeting resource and public safety crimes on the water along with the United States Coast Guard, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, and Cape Coral Police Department. The joint operation was successful and resulted in two felony arrests.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LEE COUNTY

Officer Hazelwood taught his first hunter safety class at Bass Pro Shops in Fort Myers. Officer Hazelwood explained the legal aspects of the course and answered questions from the class participants. Officer Hazelwood is an avid outdoorsman and long-time hunter. He thoroughly enjoyed sharing his knowledge and experience with newcomers to the sport.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Investigator Coffin responded to an early morning call of a crocodile roaming a neighborhood in Hallandale Beach. Investigator Coffin and the Hollywood Police Department located the 8’4” crocodile in the yard of a residence. A trapper was called to the scene and the crocodile was captured and relocated. This crocodile had been previously tagged and was the same crocodile which was found on Hollywood Beach back in November.

GLADES COUNTY

Officer Brodbeck was on land-based water patrol at the Harney Pond Canal boat ramp in Lakeport and observed a vessel with fishing equipment in plain view approaching the same ramp. The officer approached the vessel and two occupants and asked how many fish they had caught. The owner of the vessel stated that they had caught their limit of 50 black crappie. After receiving consent to inspect the fish located in a cooler on deck, 52 black crappie were counted. The passenger of the vessel took responsibility and received a citation for the violation. The fish were photographed and returned to the water.

Officer Brodbeck was on land-based water patrol late at night at Harney Pond Canal boat ramp in Lakeport. A vessel approached the ramp with two occupants and fishing equipment in plain view. The vessel owner stated that they had caught their two-person limit of 50 black crappie and consented to an inspection of a cooler located on the deck of the vessel. After inspecting the cooler, a total of 54 black crappie were counted. A second count, with both occupants counting, again resulted in 54 black crappie. The vessel passenger took responsibility for the violation and was issued a citation for violating the daily bag limit of black crappie. The fish were photographed and returned to the water.

MARTIN COUNTY

Officer Brevik was conducting patrol near Stuart and observed an individual fishing underneath the Roosevelt Bridge. While approaching, he witnessed the man look at him and walk towards a bucket. The subject reached in the bucket, took out one black drum, and walked towards the water. The subject looked back again and held the fish over the water. Officer Brevik identified himself as FWC state police and told the subject not to drop the fish. With fish in hand over the water, the subject slowly took the fish away from the water. The subject stated he knew the black drum was undersized when he caught it and decided to keep it. The subject was cited accordingly.

Officer Brevik was conducting patrol near Jensen Beach when he responded to a call at the Jensen Beach Causeway of a male and female fishing at the causeway and keeping multiple undersized black drum. A resource inspection revealed three undersized black drum. The male subject stated that all the fish were his. The subject was cited accordingly.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Brodbeck was on land-based water patrol at Scott Driver boat ramp on the Kissimmee River and saw a vessel approach the dock with fishing equipment in plain view and initiated a boating safety and resource inspection. When asked if they had caught any black crappie, the owner of the vessel stated that they had and pointed to a cooler. When asked if he knew the size limit for black crappie, the subject stated 10 inches and also pointed out a ruler located on the vessel. Two black crappie were located which measured well under the required 10 inches. The subject was issued a citation for the violation and the fish were returned to the water after being photographed.

Officer Brodbeck was on land-based water patrol at Scott Driver boat ramp on the Kissimmee River conducting boating safety and resource inspections. A vessel with a single occupant approached the dock with fishing equipment in plain view and Officer Brodbeck initiated a resource inspection. When asked, the subject stated that he had caught his daily limit of 25 black crappie. Upon inspection, 27 crappie were located in a cooler on the deck of the vessel. The subject had received a warning the previous week from Officer Brodbeck for the same violation. A citation was issued for over the daily bag limit of black crappie. The fish were photographed and returned to the water.

Officer Brodbeck was on land-based water patrol late at night conducting surveillance at Scott Driver boat ramp on the Kissimmee River. A vessel approached the dock with a sole occupant and fishing equipment in plain view. A resource inspection of the subject’s cooler revealed 2 black crappie which were well below the 10-inch size limit for Lake Okeechobee. The subject was issued a citation for the violation, and the fish were photographed and returned to the water.

Officer Brodbeck was on vessel patrol late at night near Scott Driver boat ramp along the Kissimmee River. While conducting surveillance, the officer observed a vessel with two occupants approaching the dock with fishing equipment consistent with fishing for black crappie in plain view. A resource inspection revealed 6 undersized black crappie. The passenger of the vessel took responsibility for the violation and was issued a citation. The fish were photographed and returned to the water.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Defeo and Trawinski were on patrol on the intra-coastal waterway when they observed a vessel on plane in a slow speed manatee zone. The vessel ran aground and came to an abrupt stop. The officers conducted a vessel stop and determined the operator was operating the vessel while impaired. The subject was placed under arrest for BUI.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
MARTIN COUNTY

Officer Hankinson and Officer Pecko patrolled federal waters off St. Lucie Inlet enforcing federal and state fishing laws. The officers conducted numerous vessel stops and inspections. Violations found were handled accordingly.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Hankinson, Moss, and Spradling conducted federal fisheries patrol with Federal NOAA Agent Nicotri. Federal fishery inspections were focused near 12-24 miles offshore of Palm Beach and Martin County. Numerous vessels traversing from the Bahamas were checked for compliance. Violations were handled appropriately.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
HENDRY COUNTY

Officers Warensford and Brodbeck conducted a hunter safety education presentation for approximately 10 students. The officers educated the students on the laws of hunting, introduced them to wildlife management areas, and encouraged proper hunting ethics. The course gave students the opportunity to meet some of the local FWC officers and to ask questions about hunting laws, regulations and ethics.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Lieutenant Russo and a Jupiter Police Officer assisted an older woman who was crying in her parked car on the side of Indiantown Road in Jupiter. The handicapped woman’s electric scooter had fallen off the rear of her car and was in pieces on the side of the road. Officer Russo and the Jupiter Officer repaired the scooter and placed it back on the woman’s car.

RESCUES
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Several Palm Beach County officers including Officers Spradling, Godward, Defeo, Trawinski, and Merizio, responded to a capsized vessel 5 miles offshore of Lake Worth. It was reported that the vessel had capsized and left 5 people stranded in the water. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit as well as the USCG also responded. The 5 subjects were located and the vessel was towed by a commercial salvage company.

Officers Defeo and Merizio, along with Investigator Toby and Lieutenant Fillip responded to a traffic crash deep in the Corbett Wildlife Management Area. The driver had crashed into a tree and was unconscious for several minutes. EMS responded and transported the driver to the hospital.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

An officer conducting surveillance on his patrol vessel noticed two subjects pulling crab traps and placing them inside their vessel. He observed them relocating the traps after removing the catch. The officer contacted the vessel and identified that the traps did not belong to either of the subjects who removed the harvest. After an investigation and thorough inspection, the violators were charged with molesting blue crab traps and narcotics possession.

An officer observed a subject throwing a cast-net in a no-entry zone of Virginia Key. The subject was inspected and cited accordingly.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Janzen was on land patrol bayside of Indian Key bridge when he observed two individuals fishing from the rocks. The two individuals made eye contact with Officer Janzen and immediately stopped fishing. One individual grabbed a stringer of fish and tossed it on the water away from where he was standing. Officer Janzen recovered the stringer with 8 undersized (Mangrove) Grey Snapper. The two men were charged with possession of undersized mangrove snapper. The individual that threw the stringer was also charged with interference or obstruction of an FWC Officer, and was taken to the Plantation Key Jail.

Officers Richards, Foell and Sapp onboard the FWC offshore Safe Boat patrolled Gulf of Mexico federal waters from Key West to the Dry Tortugas. The officers conducted a fisheries inspection on commercial shrimp vessel out of Biloxi, Mississippi. A resource inspection on multiple freezers inside the cabin of vessel revealed a variety of unregulated saltwater species. Inside the in-deck freezer hold, a brown grocery bag was discovered in between the actual wall of the freezer hold and a false wood-plank wall. The bag contained 18 wrung spiny lobster tails, 14 of which were undersized. An inspection of the turtle excluding devices (TEDs) onboard revealed two violations of improper bar spacing. The case was forwarded to NOAA for federal charges.

Officers Garrison, Powell, Carroll, Canamero (SW) and Lieutenant Parisoe (SW) responded to an assist call from Monroe County Sheriff’s Office about a threat at Marathon High School. Lieutenant Cox assisted MCSO personnel as well. The search warrant was served and arrest made. FWC personnel stayed on scene until the last of the attendees had safely exited the area.

Officers Piekenbrock, Mobley, Rubenstein, and Wagner conducted offshore patrol in the Dry Tortugas Ecological Reserves and observed a vessel just outside the no fishing boundaries actively fishing. A resource inspection revealed two out of season red snapper, one out of season red grouper, six undersized yellowtail snapper, and a legal mutton snapper. Citations were issued for the violations. Officers also conducted a vessel stop on a large commercial shrimp trawler. Officers cited the captain after the resource inspection that revealed eight out of season hogfish.

COLLIER COUNTY

Lieutenants Sushil and Bulger received a complaint of a subject parked illegally in Fakahatchee Preserve State Park. When they arrived on scene they recognized the subject’s vehicle from previous encounters. The lieutenants believed the subject was fishing nearby but were unable to locate him. A short time later the subject and another man returned to the vehicle. The lieutenants performed a resource check on the subjects and determined that the subjects had failed to pay the park day use fee, had driven off the roadway to conceal their vehicle, and one subject did not have a valid freshwater fishing license. The subjects were cited accordingly

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Several FWC Miami-Dade officers and dispatchers worked the Miami Boat Show. The FWC personnel made hundreds of public outreach contacts and distributed informative materials. They answered questions and assisted many individuals interested in learning how to become involved with FWC. The guest attendance was upwards of 100,000 people.

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Dube and Rubenstein, along with FWC staff, assisted with the Keys Public Iguana Technical Assistance Workshops that were held in both Key West and Key Largo.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Reams was nominated as the Wildlife Officer of the Year to represent the state of Florida at the 42nd annual National Wild Turkey Federation Convention & Sport Show. Officer Reams along with officers from around the country were recognized for their work at the awards banquet.

Officer Curbelo and Lieutenant Bulger represented FWC at the Collier County Sheriff’s Office “Kids Love Fishing” event in Naples. This yearly event held at the CCSO Youth Deputy’s Camp Discovery gives local children the opportunity to learn about fishing. Over 400 local youth were in attendance.

RESCUES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Plussa and Knutson responded to a law enforcement assistance call from a commercial towboat near Marco Island. A small 13’ vessel was taking on water and was disabled in the surf along the beach. Wake from passing vessel traffic was inhibiting the towboat’s pump out of the small vessel. Officers slowed passing vessels for over a half-hour until the vessel had been pumped out and escorted safely to shore by the towboat.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
MONROE COUNTY

Investigator Mattson was on unmarked water patrol when he observed a commercial dive vessel aground and trying to power off the flat. The boat had a trail of mud at least 500 yards behind the stern of the boat. The boat was destroying the habitat with customers on board. When Investigator Mattson questioned the captain as to the reasoning he was powering off the flat, he said that he didn’t want to be stuck. He said that the boat recently relocated to the bayside and he was unfamiliar with the waters on the bayside. Investigator Mattson cited the captain for destroying state park resources. The customers provided witness statements that the captain almost ran them aground earlier when they were going out to the reef. Investigator Mattson will do a follow up with the Lignumvitae State Park biologist. Investigator Mattson also obtained a video of the incident from a local charter captain.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Thurkettle and Tidwell along with Lieutenant Sushil conducted panther zone speed enforcement on US 41. Numerous vehicles were stopped for speeding in the zone, with the fastest vehicle traveling at 85 mph in the posted 45 mph zone. Multiple subjects were cited accordingly and one driver was arrested for driving without a valid driver’s license and possession of narcotics.

Officers Knutson and Plussa conducted foot and vessel patrol on and around Keewaydin Island and Tigertail Beach. They focused on littering, alcohol, and reports of dogs being off-leash near critical wildlife areas for protected nesting birds, as well as general BUI and boating safety patrol. Officers interacted with 85 people, providing a combination of education, written warnings, and issued citations for offenders with multiple violations.

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  FWC Enforcement Report February 2-8. All Regions.
Posted by: bigefromlc - 02-23-2018, 07:34 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Pettey received information that a group of subjects were catching what appeared to be several hundred pounds of Bonita on the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier. State law prohibits an individual from keeping more than 100 pounds of Bonita unless they have a saltwater products license (SPL). Officers McHenry and Land arrived to assist. Together the officers found five subjects in possession of 1,145 pounds of Bonita without having the required SPL. The officers seized 645 pounds of Bonita from the subjects. The individuals were allowed to keep the remaining 500 pounds as part of their daily limit. The seized Bonita were donated to the Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida. Notice to appear citations were issued for the violations.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

Officers Peterson, Kossey, and Travis were targeting undersized oysters in the Eastpoint area and conducted a resource inspection at the Eastpoint Boat Ramp. During the inspection, they determined the subject was in possession of undersized oysters. After checking a bag of oysters for size tolerance, they determined the bag contained 68% undersized oysters. The subject was cited and the undersized oysters were returned to the water alive.

Officers Travis and Carr received a call about subjects hunting deer with dogs in the Apalachicola Wildlife Environmental Area during closed season. They responded to the Sand Beach area and contacted three subjects, one of whom admitted to allowing his dogs to pursue deer. The subject was cited for running deer during closed season.

Officers Carr and Nelson were patrolling Highway 65 when they conducted a resource inspection on two subjects fishing at the Cashes Creek bridge. Officer Nelson checked their fishing licenses, which were valid, and then he requested to check the cooler and was given permission. The subjects immediately began to explain that the fish in the cooler were given to them about 10-15 minutes earlier. The resource inspection revealed 13 redfish, only one of which was of legal size. The appropriate citations were issued to the subjects. Officer Nelson returned nine back to the water alive and left the one legal sized fish with the subjects.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Corbin received information from the U. S. Coast Guard (USCG) Destin regarding a 27-foot sailboat aground and blocking part of the channel into Sara Ann Bayou in Niceville. The last known registered owner stated the vessel was sold in October and provided a bill of sale. The new owner confirmed that he purchased the vessel and provided the title documentation. The new owner was aware the sailboat was aground and blocking part of the channel. A notice to appear citation was issued for failure to transfer vessel title into his name, which is required within 30 days of purchase.

Officers Jarvis and Bartlett received a complaint regarding a subject who killed two antlerless deer on Eglin Wildlife Management area. The officers contacted the subject and observed the antlerless deer. A notice to appear citation was issued for killing two antlerless deer.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Hutchinson received a complaint about a subject who shot after legal shooting hours while deer hunting. When he responded to the area, he located a man at the house on the property, who claimed to have shot a coyote. After further investigation, the man admitted to shooting a buck after legal shooting hours with the aid of a spotlight in the field in front of his residence. Officer Hutchinson located the seven-point buck. The man was charged with night hunting. The deer was donated to the Waterfront Rescue Mission and the rifle and spotlight were seized.

Officer Hutchinson was contacted after midnight by a Santa Rosa County Deputy Sheriff who requested his assistance. The deputy informed him that he observed a truck driving slowly down a road while a spotlight was being shined from the cab into several fields where deer are located. He followed the truck and stopped it for a traffic violation. Once he stopped the truck, he discovered a freshly killed 4-point buck lying in the bed of the truck. Two firearms were in the front seat. Officer Hutchinson arrived at the deputy’s location and immediately recognized the driver of the truck from a previous night hunting case. All three subjects admitted to shooting the deer on the side of the road with the use of a spotlight. A search of the truck revealed drug paraphernalia and illegal drugs. One subject was charged with night hunting and the drug and paraphernalia violations. The two other subjects were charged with night hunting and shooting from a paved public roadway. Both firearms, the spotlight, and the deer were seized. The deer was donated to the Waterfront Rescue Mission.

Officer Lewis located a subject in Blackwater Wildlife Management Area that was hunting over a food plot and scattered corn. The suspect had placed no trespassing signs up at the entrance to the area and had apparently been hunting the area for quite a while. He was charged with attempting to take deer over bait in a wildlife management area.

Officer Mullins received information regarding an illegal deer that had been taken in Blackwater Wildlife Management Area. Officer Mullins and Roberson met with and interviewed the subject involved, who admitted to taking the deer, but stated that it was legal. When asked to see the antlers from the deer, the suspect was evasive and the officers felt he was not being truthful. The officers asked to see the remains of the deer and the suspect showed them buried remains from the deer he claimed was legal. Laying a few feet from the remains, the officers noticed a small set of antlers that matched the antlers from the deer in question. After an investigation, it was determined that those small antlers belonged to the deer the subject had taken a few days before. Charges were filed for taking a deer that did not meet the antler restriction rule.

WAKULLA COUNTY

Officer Korade responded to assist with a call for service off Forest Road 313 in the Apalachicola WMA. While in route to the area, along Whiddon Lake Road, he observed several vehicles parked along the roadway. The vehicles were occupied by several individuals wearing blaze orange and holding what appeared to be handheld GPS tracking units. Officer Korade made note of this and continued to the assigned call. After completing the call, he returned to the area where he had seen the subjects. Officer Korade was joined by Officers Hughes and Carr. The officers investigated and determined the individuals were allowing their dogs to pursue game on private lands without owner permission. Citations were issued to the individuals for Hunter Responsibility violations.

WALTON COUNTY

Officer Bartlett received an anonymous complaint of two vehicles driving in an area closed to vehicle traffic in the Eglin Choctaw East Management Unit near Range Road 214. The complainant stated while he was exiting the area he observed where the vehicles had drove around a closed gate and pulled the post up to access the closed area by vehicle. When the officer arrived, he contacted both vehicles exiting the area on the same unnamed/unnumbered road they used to access the area. Both drivers acknowledged they drove their vehicles in the closed area and were issued citations for driving in a closed area.

Investigator Armstrong and Officers Brooks and Bartlett were on water patrol on the Choctawhatchee River when they observed a subject in a vessel returning from hunting. When the officers contacted the subject, they observed blood in his vessel. The subject said the blood was from a deer he had killed the day before but was unable to produce any sex identification of the deer – but stated some of the deer meat was at a friend’s house in Freeport. Lieutenant Hollinhead and Officer Letcher contacted a subject at the residence and confirmed a portion of a deer had been brought to him. An inspection of the meat did not support when the subject said the deer was killed due to the age of the meat. After several conflicting stories the subject in the vessel took the officers to a houseboat where a deer had been cleaned but there were also multiple deer carcasses that appeared to have been killed in the last several weeks. The antlers on two of the carcasses were less than ten inches. The subject was questioned again and provided a statement that he and his brother had killed one of the deer while night hunting on the river the night before the officers had stopped him. A firearm on the houseboat was identified as the one used to take the deer and was seized and placed into evidence storage. The subject was charged with taking a deer at night with a gun and light and taking a deer with antlers less than ten inches.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
WALTON COUNTY

Local FWC officers helped with the annual mobility impaired Wounded Warrior hunt on Eglin Wildlife Management Area. There were a total of 58 mobility impaired hunters and Wounded Warrior veterans that attended the hunt. The officers tracked/recovered deer for the hunters and responded to calls for service in other areas of Eglin. There were 270 applicants who submitted their requests to participate and 49 hunters were randomly selected. There were 39 deer taken, along with 9 hogs. Also, there were 20 Panhandle Archery volunteers that helped clean deer and provided food for the event.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Santa Rosa County officers teamed up with other FWC staff and numerous volunteers to work the Blackwater Hutton Unit Mobility Impaired Hunts. The hunts went off without any issues with several hunters harvesting deer. FWC staff and volunteers provided meals for the hunters and sponsors provided door prizes and giveaways for the hunters. Many hours of preparation from both FWC staff and volunteers go toward this hunt to make it what it is. Many in the community came together and made the hunt a great success.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
DUVAL COUNTY

The Resource Protection Squad was assigned a call concerning someone setting raptor traps in a county preserve in western Duval County. A trap baited with a live pigeon and mice was located and a Cooper’s Hawk that became trapped was released. Surveillance was set up on the trap and an hour after sunset two individuals were observed leaving a trail and walking down to the creek where the trap was set. One of the subjects admitted to setting the trap. He had no falconry permit and had set the trap in a preserve area where it is illegal to take any animal anytime. Appropriate citations and warnings were issued.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Officer Robson was on patrol at Yates Creek boat ramp checking fishermen as they landed their vessels. During a resource inspection of a commercial air boat, subjects were found to be in possession of a seine net not properly marked at each end wrapped in a tarp in the floor of the boat. The owner received a citation for not properly marking each end of the seine net.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Eller was targeting illegal night fishing in Port Canaveral when he observed a group of men quickly exiting a marina with several coolers. At first contact, the men stated that they were going fishing and that they were preparing their gear. Officer Eller heard what sounded like fish flopping in the cooler and other evidence that indicated this may be untrue. The men gave permission for a search which revealed two coolers full of fish, including six undersized sheepshead and one undersized seatrout. The fish were seized and the subjects were cited appropriately.

LAKE COUNTY

Officer Shaw was on patrol on the south-side of Lake Gertrude when he observed a subject fishing in a boat. A resource inspection revealed the man was in possession of two black bass which were well over the maximum 16-inch size limit. He was appropriately cited for the violation and was also issued several warnings for boating safety violations.

MARION COUNTY

Officer Dias received information from the land manager of Ventura Ranch about someone trespassing. Officers Hargabus, Rice, and Simpson responded to assist. A Toyota pickup truck was located on the boundary of the ranch with foot sign going into the property. The foot sign was tracked for approximately four miles into the ranch. After three hours, Officer Hargabus contacted the subject when he returned to his vehicle. The adult male subject admitted to trespassing on the property, but would not say what he was doing there. He was issued a notice to appear for trespass on property other than a structure or conveyance.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officer Graves and Lieutenant Zukowsky gave a presentation on general and local saltwater fishing rules and regulations to approximately 80 members of the Flagler Sportfishing Club in Palm Coast. The evening event was held at the Flagler County Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) club where the officers also provided members information on commercial and federal saltwater fishing regulations, boating safety rules and hunting laws.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HARDEE COUNTY

Officer Kobs received a complaint from a hunter who witnessed a person shoot a deer from a truck in a nearby field. Two individuals by a truck matched the description given by the hunter. The subjects admitted to shooting a doe, cutting out the backstrap and two leg hams, and placing them in a cooler provided by the second subject. A .22 Magnum rifle was seized from the shooter. The individual was charged with hunting by illegal method and hunting out of season. Additional charges will be direct filed for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and hunting with his license being permanently revoked.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Price observed subjects in a wildlife management area late one night and called Officer Perry for assistance. The officers tracked the subjects as they deployed dogs and hunted the area. One of the vehicles began driving in a closed area. At approximately 4:45am, the officers stopped the men as they were leaving the area. During the inspection the men said they were just hunting racoons, but when asked for their hunting licenses and management area permits, neither of the men had the licenses. The dogs were not tagged with any identifying information. A misdemeanor citation was issued for failing to have the dogs properly tagged, and infractions were issued for not possessing a valid hunting license and management area permit. A warning was issued for operating a vehicle in a closed area.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Dalton and Lieutenant Hinds were on water patrol around Terra Ceia Bay. While on patrol they stopped to perform a fisheries and boating safety inspection on a vessel casting netting in the bay. During the inspection the two officers noticed that the subject on the vessel had cast netted three undersized red drum and one undersized sheepshead. The subject was issued one citation for possession of over the bag limit of red drum and two written warnings for undersized red drum and undersized sheepshead.

While Officer Gonzales was on water patrol around Long Boat Pass, he stopped a vessel to perform a boating safety and fisheries inspection. During the inspection, Officer Gonzales found that the captain of the vessel had caught and kept undersized tripletail fish. The subject was issued a citation for possession of undersized tripletail.

While Officer Hinds was on land patrol around Bishop Harbor boat ramp, he stopped a vessel returning to the boat ramp to perform a boating safety and fisheries inspection. The inspection revealed that the subject had caught and kept several very small spotted seatrout. The subject was issued one citation for possession of undersized spotted seatrout.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on patrol, Lieutenant Laskowski observed an individual wade fishing, catching and keeping several spotted seatrout. When the man waded back to shore, a resource inspection revealed the subject was in possession of nine spotted seatrout. Three of the nine fish were undersized. The individual was cited for possession of undersized and over the bag limit of trout.

While on water patrol approximately eight miles offshore of Indian Rocks Beach, Officer Bibler stopped a vessel that had been fishing. A resource inspection revealed the subject was in possession of undersized and out of season gray triggerfish, as well as five undersized hogfish. The subject was cited for the violations.

While on water patrol approximately seven miles offshore of John’s Pass, Officers Bibler and Martinez stopped a vessel that had been fishing to conduct a resource inspection. During the inspection the officers found one subject to be in possession of several undersized and out of season gray triggerfish. The subject was cited for the violations.

POLK COUNTY

Officers Infante, Carter, and Reserve Officer Johnson were on water patrol on the Chain of Lakes for the Smoke on the Water event. While Officer Infante was assisting Officer Carter during a BUI arrest, a vessel motored past their vessels on plane. Officer Infante immediately activated blue lights and went after the vessel. During the encounter, Officer Infante noticed the captain of the vessel had bloodshot eyes and very slurred speech. The captain refused to perform the seated field sobriety tests (SFSTs) upon request. The individual was placed under arrest for boating while normal faculties are impaired. The individual refused to provide a breath test as well, and was booked into the Polk County jail.

RESCUES
PASCO COUNTY

Officer Angelis responded to a motorcycle accident that occurred on SR 52 in the San Antonio area. He stopped to check on injured persons and render aid while waiting for the investigating agency. While he was there, the motorcycle operator fled the area. Officer Angelis determined the motorcycle was stolen and requested additional assistance. Numerous personnel from FWC including K-9 and Aviation responded. Members from the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Highway Patrol arrived to investigate the incident. Officer Balfour was searching a nearby field when he saw the subject off in the distance. The subject was in a tree hiding from law enforcement. The subject was taken into custody without incident.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
GLADES COUNTY

Officer Brodbeck was on land-based water patrol at night at Harney Pond boat ramp conducting resource and boating safety inspections. A pontoon boat approached with fishing equipment in plain view consistent with fishing for black crappie. The pontoon boat beached next to the boat ramp with no other vessels nearby. The officer asked the two subjects aboard the pontoon boat if they had caught any fish and they stated that they had black crappie on board. Officer Brodbeck asked the operator if he could inspect the fish and the operator consented. One occupant retrieved the truck and trailer, while the operator backed away from the beach to load the vessel. Once the vessel was on the trailer, the officer observed a black crappie floating in the water where the vessel had been. Officer Brodbeck waded out into the water and retrieved the fish which was a black crappie measuring 11.5 inches. The fish was still alive, but cold to the touch. An inspection of the vessel revealed 50 black crappie, a 2-person limit. Several of the fish were still alive but on ice in a cooler. The operator of the vessel was cited for over the bag limit of black crappie.

Officer Brodbeck was on vessel patrol on Lake Okeechobee conducting boating safety and resource inspections near Indian Prairie Canal. After responding to a search for a stranded boater in a nearby marsh, the officer returned to the canal where he had observed numerous vessels fishing for black crappie. Two vessels were found with undersize black crappie aboard, despite both having measuring devices aboard and knowledge of the 10-inch limit for Lake Okeechobee. The appropriate citations were issued.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Investigator Patterson and Officer Fretwell were on night patrol when they observed lights working in a grove. The lights were shining in a manner capable of disclosing the presence of wildlife. Investigator Patterson and Officer Fretwell located nine subjects in the grove where the lights were being displayed. Each subject was in possession of a firearm and ammunition. The subjects were also in possession of freshly killed rabbits, armadillos and opossums. One of the subjects was a convicted felon. Another subject was under a domestic violence injunction, which prohibited possession of a firearm. Three subjects were issued Notices to Appear for misdemeanor charges. One subject was booked into the Okeechobee County Jail on a felony charge.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Hankinson investigated a social media complaint concerning the reckless operation of a vessel in Jupiter. The complaint consisted of a vessel being operated at a high rate of speed in hazardous conditions within a few feet of surfers, approximately twenty to sixty yards offshore. Through investigation and sworn statements, Officer Hankinson identified the operator, witnesses and location. Upon review of the investigation, the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office is direct-filing a reckless operation misdemeanor charge on the operator.

Officer Spradling was advised by Officer Merizio and Investigator Sierra that a tip was received by email about a subject in a vessel catching and keeping over the bag limit of Golden Tilefish. Officer Godward and Officer Stone, who were on a patrol vessel, observed the vessel entering the intracoastal water way through the Boynton Beach inlet, occupied by one subject operating the vessel. Officers Godward and Stone followed the vessel into the Boynton Beach Boat ramp where Officer Spradling was standing by. Officer Stone asked for consent to search the cooler and the subject advised it was fine for him to do so. The subject was in possession of six Golden Tilefish on state waters, which is five over the legal bag limit. The subject was issued a misdemeanor notice to appear citation for over the bag limit of Golden Tilefish. Six Golden Tilefish were seized as evidence.

RESCUES
GLADES COUNTY

Officer Worrell responded to a request for assistance from the Glades County Sheriff’s Office. They had received a 911 call that an individual had been ejected from a swamp buggy and run over. The Sheriff’s Office could not access the area due to the wet muddy conditions. Officer Worrell arrived on scene, located the individual and called for a medical helicopter. The injured person was transported to the hospital via helicopter.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
HENDRY COUNTY

Officer Worrell responded to a panther complaint near Highway 835 and Dooley Grade. The deceased panther was located on the west shoulder of the road with fatal injuries from a vehicle collision. The officer photographed the scene, took GPS coordinates and transported the panther to a FWC biologist for further evaluation.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

While on land patrol in Miami-Dade, an investigator and an officer followed up on a lead to a residence that had several cages in plain view. They contacted the owner of the residence and discovered another cage inside the yard containing a juvenile bobcat. They confirmed the owner did not possess a Class II wildlife permit for the animal. The owner was charged with several misdemeanor violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and possession of the bobcat without a permit. The officer seized a total of ten birds, both painted bunting and indigo, eleven trapping cages, as well as the bobcat that will be released upon discharge from a veterinarian.

FWC, working with the USFWS at MIA, inspected a shipment of marine fish. In the shipment, a saltwater business imported four lionfish of the genus Pterois. The fish were turned over to the FWC and the business was cited.

MONROE COUNTY

Investigator Chris Mattson was on water patrol and observed a subject pulling recreational stone crab traps on the bayside of the 84 mile marker. Six of the stone crab claws were undersized. The man was cited for the violation of possession undersized stone crab claws.

Investigator Mattson was driving northbound on US 1 and observed a vehicle passing in the no passing zone at a high rate of speed. During a traffic stop, the driver showed signs of impairment. Monroe County Sheriff’s Office arrived and told Investigator Mattson that they were running radar and had clocked the vehicle at more than 100 MPH. The vehicle was passing on the Snake Creek bridge, almost causing several accidents. The operator was arrested for DUI after field sobriety tasks showed many signs of impairment. He was taken to the DUI room where he provided a breath sample of .156 and .158. He was charged with DUI and reckless driving and booked into the Plantation Key Jail.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Araujo and Yurewitch were on late night UTV patrol on Collier beaches when they encountered a subject cast netting. Officer Araujo observed movement in a nearby plastic bag, which turned out to be three undersized pompano. The subject was issued the appropriate law enforcement action.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Dube assisted the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary with the “Boat Smart” boating course at the History of Diving Museum in Islamorada. As an instructor Officer Dube taught several sections of the course along with Coast Guard personnel to the students. There were approximately 25 students of all ages that attended the weekend class.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Curbelo and Polly represented FWC at the Collier 2018 First Responder’s Career Fair in Naples. The officers interacted with more than 150 youths from area schools. They educated them on FWC’s primary missions as well as some of the specialized equipment we use in our day to day operations.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Yurewitch, Plussa, Knutson, Araujo, and Lieutenant Mahoney participated in an overnight operation in Delnor Wiggins Pass State Park targeting boating and fishing violations within the park. Numerous subjects were educated regarding park rules and numerous violations were addressed.

RESCUES
MONROE COUNTY

A couple on vacation rented a deck boat from a local marina earlier in the day to go boating and swimming after becoming recently engaged. They decided to stop the vessel and swim around it as it drifted. Due to the winds the vessel drifted away faster than they could swim. The rental company, which utilizes a GPS tracking device on all their vessels was able to see that the vessel engine was off and the vessel adrift for at least an hour and a half. When the vessel was not at the dock at 5 pm the company called and reported the rental as overdue activating FWC and the USCG with an air asset flown in from Miami to search at sun down. The female was eventually found an hour later by an FWC crew when they heard her shouts for help, some 2.2 miles away from the rented vessel. The USCG air asset located the male 2.6 miles from the rented vessel location and another FWC crew responded finding the male extremely fatigued but still wearing his PFD. Both subjects were transported to shore to be evaluated by EMS but refused transport.

FWC and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office water units responded to a call of a single vessel accident. The vessel crashed on to the bank of the canal in Tarpon Creek near the Sugarloaf KOA. The vessel operator was the only one board the vessel when it crashed. FWC and MCSO transported him on a backboard to shore for awaiting EMS. The FWC is investigating the accident.

COLLIER COUNTY

During an overnight detail in Delnor Wiggins Pass State Park, Officers Yurewitch, Plussa, Knutson, Araujo, and Lieutenant Mahoney assisted a boater who had become grounded on a sandbar during low tide. With conditions worsening, the officers assisted the boater in removing his vessel from the sandbar.

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