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  FWC Enforcement Report March 17-23. All Regions.
Posted by: bigefromlc - 03-28-2017, 12:12 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
CALHOUN COUNTY

Officers Forehand and Hayes located two turkey blinds with cracked corn and millet seeds scattered within 30 yards of the blinds prior to turkey season. On opening morning, they witnessed two hunters actively calling and hunting for turkeys from the baited blinds. Both hunters were cited for taking or attempting to take turkeys over bait.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Boyd and Nelson located a vessel in the south end of the Middle Grounds Habitat Area of Particular Concern, 95 nautical miles south of Carrabelle. While approaching the vessel, the captain of the vessel ran from the port side to the starboard side and began throwing fish into the water. The fish were recovered and the officers found the occupants to be in possession of reef fish not landed in whole condition (fillets), undersized gag grouper, gag grouper during closed season, over the bag limit of vermillion snapper, along with the use of “J” hooks with natural bait and the violation of throwing fish overboard as law enforcement approached. The occupants admitted to the violations and were issued the appropriate citations and warnings for the violations.

GULF COUNTY

Officer M. Webb was on patrol in the Gulf of Mexico when he conducted a federal marine fisheries inspection on a vessel 11.5 nautical miles offshore. The captain of the vessel was actively fishing and had in his possession six gray triggerfish. A federal resource citation was issued for possession of gray triggerfish during closed season.

Officer H. Webb responded to a complaint of anglers harvesting over the daily bag limit and possession of undersized red and black drum under the Highland View Bridge. He arrived at the location and saw a man loading a stringer of what appeared to be undersized black drum into the back of his truck. Officer Webb conducted a fisheries inspection on the man and discovered that he was in possession of eight undersized black drum. A citation was issued for the violation. Following that stop, Officer Webb saw more anglers on the shoreline with a large stringer of fish. He conducted a fisheries inspection on the group and discovered that they were in possession of several black and red drum. Two of the red drum and one of the black drum were undersized. A citation was issued to the responsible party for possession of undersized red drum and a written warning was issued for possession of undersized black drum.

WAKULLA COUNTY

Officer Boyd was working the area of Mashes Sands when he saw a vessel inbound with two occupants. After conducting boating safety and resource inspections, Officer Boyd located three red snapper in a cooler. A citation was issued for possession of red snapper during closed season.

On opening morning of spring turkey season, Officers Nelson and Mandrick located a blind that was approximately 15 yards from and overlooking corn that had recently been distributed. The officers saw a shotgun barrel protruding from an opening in the blind. The officers approached the blind and made contact with the individual inside. When asked about the bait present in front of the blind, the individual denied having any knowledge of the bait present in the location he was hunting, even though the bait was clearly visible from the blind. After conducting a short interview, the individual admitted to knowing the bait was present and that he was hunting turkeys over bait. The appropriate action was taken in regards to the violation.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officers Manning and Allgood concentrated their efforts on offshore fisheries inspections in the Gulf of Mexico. Four vessel operators were found in possession of undersized greater amberjack. Notice to appear citations were issued for these violations. Later that day as they approached another vessel, they noticed the operator throw some fish into the water. As Officer Allgood boarded the vessel, Officer Manning retrieved two gray triggerfish that were still floating. Officer Allgood questioned the operator of the vessel about the triggerfish and he admitted to throwing them. During his inspection, a strong odor of marijuana was present. One of the passengers admitted to having a small amount of marijuana and a pipe. The pipe and marijuana were seized and notice to appear citations were issued for possession of undersized gray triggerfish, possession of cannabis, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
WASHINGTON COUNTY

Officer Greene attended a Hunter Safety class at Hard Labor Creek Plantation, where he taught the law portion of the class to approximately 12 individuals. Numerous questions relating to legal aspects of hunting were answered.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
BAKER COUNTY

Lieutenant Huff and Officer Gill worked two bait sites for turkeys that Officer Burnsed had found the previous week. After daylight, a hunter came into one of the bait sites, placed a decoy in the bait site and began to call for turkeys. The officers located the hunter who admitted to knowing the bait was there. The hunter was cited for attempting to take turkey over bait.

HAMILTON COUNTY

Officer Nichols was on patrol in a remote area of Hamilton County when he saw fresh tire marks entering a farm field where he had previously located a site baited with cracked corn and a whole corn feeder. He decided to check the area for turkey hunting activity. From a concealed location, he saw several turkey hunting decoys set up in the baited area. Approximately 20 minutes later, he saw one hunter emerge from the wood line of the baited area. He had crossed a fence onto the adjacent private property. Officer Nichols watched as the hunter entered the wood line of the private property carrying a pair of binoculars. He then saw two more hunters emerge from the wood line of the baited area. After approximately 10 minutes, the first hunter returned and climbed back over the fence. The three hunters began to gather their decoys, shot guns, and other hunting equipment. Officer Nichols decided to return to his vehicle and conduct a turkey hunting inspection on the three subjects. Upon inspection, it was found that all three hunters were adults hunting during the youth-only hunting season. The three men had been turkey hunting approximately 5 yards from the whole corn feeder and 10 yards from the cracked corn. It was also found that none of the hunters had permission to be across the fence on the adjacent private property. All three hunters were issued citations for adults hunting during the youth turkey hunting season and hunting turkeys within 100 yards of a baited area. The three subjects also received citations for non-resident hunting license violations. After speaking with the owner of the fenced private property, one hunter was issued a warning for trespassing.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Lieutenant Kiss was off duty when he saw two suspicious vehicles parked on the edge of private property in Lake City. The area in which the vehicles were parked is known for trespassing as well as hunting and fishing related violations. Lieutenant Kiss notified Officer Johnston who was on duty a few miles away, who arrived and located the four individuals shortly after dark as they returned to their vehicles. All subjects were seen trespassing on the private property and admitted to accessing the property to go fishing. One subject appeared nervous as Officer Johnston was educating him on trespass laws. The subject gave consent to search his person and spontaneously admitted to having a marijuana pipe. He also admitted to having marijuana in his vehicle. Officer Johnston successfully located the marijuana pipe and a bag of cannabis. All four subjects were issued trespass warnings while the one subject was issued a notice to appear for possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia.

K-9 Officer Gill received a call for assistance about a subject fleeing from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office while deputies were trying to serve a warrant. K-9 Friar was deployed on the subject’s last known location. The officer and his K-9 tracked the subject a lengthy distance until the track ended at a residence. K-9 Friar alerted that the subject had fled into a garage at the residence. The deputies entered the residence and located the subject hiding in a closed room. After the subject was arrested, K-9 Friar also recovered a deputy’s lost cell phone.

Officer Johnston received a call from dispatch about a hawk being shot with a pellet rifle. The hawk was taken to a rehab facility where a pellet was removed from the wing of the hawk. The original complainant provided the names of likely suspects which included one adult and one juvenile. Both subjects were located shortly after receiving the call and admitted to being involved and present when the hawk was shot. The adult stated the juvenile was the one who shot the hawk while the juvenile stated the adult shot the hawk. After consulting with the local state attorney’s office, Officer Johnston will file charges on both subjects. The hawk is currently undergoing rehab and is expected to survive.

Officer McDonald was on foot patrol on private land checking for illegal turkey hunting activity when he went to a field where he had located bait at an elevated hunting blind. As he neared the field, he saw two turkey decoys in front of the blind. Officer McDonald set up surveillance of the area and after approximately one hour, he saw two hunters entering the field and walking toward the blind. A short time later, Officer McDonald found one hunter in the blind. The hunter was armed with a bow and a rifle and admitted to attempting to harvest turkey. The hunter was cited for attempting to take turkey over bait.

UNION COUNTY

Captain Redmond, Reserve Captain Lee, Lieutenant Huff and Officer Gill worked a hunting club detail for turkey hunters on opening morning where Officer Gill had previously found numerous baited sites for turkeys. The officers went into the club in the early morning to begin surveillance on the baited sites. Shortly before daylight, several hunters came into the bait sites and, at daybreak, began calling for turkeys. The officers located the hunters who admitted to trying to kill turkeys on the baited sites. A total of three hunters were cited for attempting to take turkey over a baited area.

Officer Burnsed worked a hunting club detail where he had previously found several baited sites for turkeys. After setting up surveillance, he saw three hunters go to the different bait sites and, after daylight, began to call turkeys. Officer Burnsed contacted he hunters who all admitted to hunting the turkeys over the bait. The three subjects were cited for attempting to take turkey over a baited area.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LAFAYETTE COUNTY

FWC Day at Lafayette Elementary went well with approximately 650 students in attendance. Officers Dwain, Drew, Vazquez, Aubrey, Wiggins and K-9 Friar, along with Lieutenant Humphries, attended the event. Officer Dwain brought a 5-foot alligator, Officers Drew and Vazquez spoke on boating safety and the work of FWC officers, while Lieutenant Humphries described hunting decoys.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Eller received information from an informant about an individual who was keeping gopher tortoises to eat. Officer Eller contacted Lieutenant Bonds and they made their way to the residence to investigate. Upon arrival at the residence, the owner was very nervous and confrontational. Officer Eller developed a dialogue with the suspect and got consent to look around the property. Officer Eller located a gopher tortoise penned up in the subject’s backyard. The owner was notified of the violation and issued a criminal citation for possession of a protected species, specifically a gopher tortoise. The gopher tortoise was seized and relocated back into the wild.

LAKE COUNTY

Officer Scrambling was working turkey hunting on private property adjacent to a closed portion of Seminole Forest Wildlife Management Area (WMA), when he saw a subject using a turkey call with two turkey decoys approximately 60 yards from his blind. Bait had also been placed on the ground less than 100 yards from where the hunter was hunting. The subject was given a notice to appear for the violation.

PUTNAM COUNTY

Officers Simpson and Guirate received information about a baited blind in Crescent City and went to the location in the early morning of the opening day of turkey season. They came upon a subject from Ohio and a guide from Massachusetts, who were issued citations for hunting turkey over bait. The guide was then questioned about his guide service and locations of other subjects. The guide provided directions to another piece of property. Officers Jones, Ward and Lieutenant Baer responded to their request for assistance. They arrived at the next piece of property where they saw foot sign leading into the woods. Officer Simpson deployed K-9 Moose who tracked straight to a baited blind with two subjects inside. The guide was from Virginia and the subject was from South Florida. They again issued citations for hunting turkey over bait. Officer Jones had obtained more information as to where other subjects were. The officers then relocated to a separate piece of property where another individual from South Florida was found to have killed a turkey over bait. None of the guides had a hunting license or turkey permit. A total of five citations were written for hunting turkey over bait, two warnings for no hunting license, and all parties involved were educated on the bait rule in the State of Florida.

SUMTER COUNTY

Officers Teal and Phillips were on patrol in Richloam WMA a few days before opening weekend of turkey season, when they found a truck parked near a closed area of the WMA. They saw turkey decoys in the back of the truck and heard someone using a turkey call not far from them. The officers followed foot sign from the truck where they saw two individuals, dressed in camo and holding shotguns, actively calling turkeys. After a post Miranda interview, the subjects admitted to trying to kill turkeys for the past few days. Both individuals were cited for hunting turkeys during closed season.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Lieutenant Eason and Officer Thornton walked through an area near Venetian Bay Estates looking for possible turkey bait violations prior to the opening of the season. They found cracked corn and bird seed just outside of a construction area within an 800-acre private hunt lease. On opening morning, Officers Thornton and Sapp worked the area and saw a subject attempting to take turkey within 100 yards of the bait. The subject was issued a criminal citation for the violation.

RESCUES
MARION COUNTY

Investigator Sumpter responded by land to a report that a vessel had overturned and two people were holding onto it. When he arrived on the scene, there was one person holding onto the overturned vessel. He communicated with the person via PA and provided reassurance. While scanning the debris field for the other occupant, he saw a person standing on the far shore. A U.S. Forest Service (USFS) employee said he could get a kayak on the scene in 20 minutes. Once the kayak arrived, Investigator Sumpter and a Marion County firefighter paddled to the person holding onto the boat. The 66-year-old man was hypothermic and exhausted, but still alive because he had managed to put on a lifejacket after he went into the water. Investigator Sumpter tied a rope around the man and towed him to shore with the kayak. Officer Dias arrived with a patrol vessel and he and Investigator Sumpter went to look for the other subject that was now lost in the woods. He was found a short time later, hypothermic, exhausted, and having trouble breathing. Marion County firefighters joined the FWC officers and carried the 69-year-old man out of the woods. USFS Officer Stokes transported him to a waiting ambulance. Investigator Sumpter and Officer Dias recovered the vessel and debris from the water, including the fishermen’s cooler with the fish still in it. Both men were treated on the scene and released. They returned home that day because they had PFDs and used them.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Birchfield was on water patrol when he saw two individuals catching multiple sheepshead from a local railroad trestle. A resource inspection revealed one of the individuals was over the bag limit and in possession of undersized sheepshead. A notice to appear was issued.

Officers Norris, Zampella, Sehl and Pilot Fields patrolled multiple nights in the Cecil Webb WMA. They encountered multiple vehicles in the area after hours and operating on closed roads. A total of seven citations and five warnings were issued for various violations.

HIGHLANDS COUNTY

Investigator Ervin saw a subject hunting turkey over bait on private property. The area had been baited with cracked corn, and the subject was operating a turkey call from a ground blind. An early morning resource inspection was conducted and the subject admitted to hunting turkey over bait. The subject gave a sworn written statement and was given a notice to appear for the violation.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Lieutenant DeLacure saw a truck at a gas station in north Tampa with the truck bed containing approximately 25 used/waste tires and noticed an expired waste tire collector permit displayed on truck. The lieutenant approached the occupants of the truck after they exited the store and requested identification and a valid waste tire collector permit. Neither subject could produce any documentation. Investigators Hough and Holcomb were in the immediate area and responded to the gas station to assist. Investigator Hough took over the lead upon arrival due to his extensive knowledge of environmental crimes and charged the female driver for driving with a suspended license with knowledge and failure to produce a valid waste tire collector permit. Investigator Hough transported the female subject to the Hillsborough County Jail on the charges and the vehicle was impounded because the accompanying subject did not have a valid driver’s license.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officer Martin was on land patrol near Bicentennial Park in Oldsmar when he witnessed multiple subjects cast netting the park ponds. Upon inspection, a 20-inch snook was discovered in a plastic bag. The subject admitted to catching the snook with the cast net and did not have a fishing license. The subject was cited for multiple violations.

POLK COUNTY

Officer Carter was on land patrol at the Saddle Creed Park Fishing Management Area when he saw two subjects fishing from a bank. He approached them and asked if they caught anything and both subjects said they did not. When asked for their fishing licenses, neither subject had one. Both subjects were issued a citation for no fishing license.

Officer Cristofaro patrolled multiple days at Alafia River State Park. During this time, he issued 13 traffic warnings and one traffic citation for traffic-related offenses.

SARASOTA COUNTY

Officer Polaszek was conducting fishery inspections along the North Venice Jetty and encountered an individual in possession of six undersized sheepshead. The subject was cited appropriately and the fish were photographed and seized.

Officers Hughes and Ridgway were on water patrol near the Ken Thompson Boat Ramp and noticed a group of people collecting some sort of marine life out of the waters of Sarasota Bay. During a resource inspection, they found that the group had collected several bags of sea urchins. After conducting interviews, two members of the group were given criminal citations for possession of over the bag limit of marine life; they are required to appear in court.

RESCUES
LEE COUNTY

Officers Stasko, Thompson, Curbelo, Thurkettle and Lieutenant Ruggiero responded to a search and rescue late one evening after a hiker was reported missing. The hiker was supposed to be back to his vehicle by 9 p.m., but by midnight he had not returned. The FWC K-9 began tracking, and around 2 a.m., the sheriff’s department helicopter located the man deep in the woods. An ambulance was called to the scene just in case the man was injured. After being rescued, the man was evaluated by medical staff, given a blanket to prevent hypothermia, and released. The man was very grateful for the response and happy to be out of the woods.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Sierra was off duty at his residence when he heard frantic screaming coming from his neighbor’s residence. Knowing that there were young children at the residence, Officer Sierra rushed over to find a one year old child had fallen into the pool and was unresponsive, not breathing, and had no pulse. Officer Sierra started CPR and continued until EMS arrived. The child was transported to All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburgh and is reported to be in critical condition.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Salem and K-9 Officer Stasko participated in the Youth Turkey Hunt at the RV Griffin Reserve in southwest DeSoto County. Six youth hunters from around the state had the opportunity to take a turkey and a hog during the two-day hunt. A total of four turkeys and two hogs were harvested. The officers gave a brief overview of the agency and provided a K-9 demonstration.

HERNANDO COUNTY

Lieutenant Grover conducted a presentation to a local group of Weeki Wachee residents. He spoke about the FWC mission, capabilities, and enforcement efforts on the Weeki Wachee River. He followed up with a question-and-answer session by the residents.

POLK COUNTY

Officer Sweat did an outreach at the Davenport School of the Arts and had approximately 90 attendees. He talked about the duties of an FWC officer, and he brought an alligator. At the end, everyone was given the opportunity to ask questions.


SOUTH A REGION
RESCUES
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Hankinson, Brevik, Morrow, Kirkland, Godward, Investigator Phillips and the Palm Beach County Fire Rescue responded to the JW Corbett WMA regarding an elderly male experiencing chest pains. Upon arrival, the officers encountered the patient and directed rescue to his location. The patient was then transferred to rescue personnel for evaluation and transportation.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
MARTIN COUNTY

Officer Cobo responded to an anonymous complaint of a raccoon which had been inside an animal trap for more than 24 hours. After further investigation, it was determined that the owner had trapped the raccoon legally but was not aware of the legalities of leaving the animal with no food or water for more than 24 hours. The owner was given a warning and directed to MyFWC.com for information on nuisance animals.

SOUTH B REGION
CASES
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Smith responded to a possible theft of a Marmoset Monkey. The complainant stated that the local police department investigated the theft and made an arrest. She also stated that they returned the monkey to her. A search of the license database indicated the complainant did not possess a valid license for the monkey and was also exhibiting the monkey at her place of business. Further investigation determined that she had a license for the monkey that expired nearly a year ago. She was issued warnings for possessing and exhibiting the animal without a valid license and is in the process of license renewal.

MONROE COUNTY

A Good Samaritan south of Key West found a kayak with personal effects on board but no occupants. The USCG and FWC started a search of the area to look for a possible swimmer/diver with no success. Officers Garrison and Piekenbrock encountered a swimmer near shore who claimed he had just lost a kayak earlier in the day. Officers Messier and Way met up with the Good Samaritan to return the kayak to its possible owner only to find contraband in the kayak. The investigation led to misdemeanor citations to the swimmer for harvesting live rock, over the limit of ornamental sponges, over the limit of octocorals and other marine life violations.

Officer Mattson responded by water to a complaint of a vessel with two occupants that were possibly diving on lobster traps offshore of Tavernier. When Officer Mattson arrived on the scene, the boat had left the area. Officer Mattson located the vessel a short time later and stopped the vessel and performed a fisheries inspection of the boat. The inspection revealed that the operator was in possession of five undersized spiny lobster. He was cited accordingly.

RESCUES
COLLIER COUNTY

While performing license and fisheries inspections near the Jetport in Collier County, Officer Araujo was approached by a subject who stated that he had a camp nearby in the Big Cypress National Preserve, and that when he arrived at his camp earlier that day, there was a subject who had taken up residence. The complainant showed Officer Araujo a picture of the subject on his phone, and stated that the subject had walked to the camp after getting his vehicle stuck. Officer Araujo located the subject’s car nearby and ran the license plate. The registered owner came back as missing/endangered out of Miami-Dade County. Officer Araujo contacted Lieutenant Bulger as well as the National Park Service (NPS) and updated them of the situation. Using an FWC swamp buggy and a NPS swamp buggy, Officer Araujo, Lieutenant Bulger, and five NPS rangers proceeded to the camp to locate the individual. Upon arriving at the camp, the subject was located and transported back to waiting EMS units. The subject stated that he had gotten stuck and “just started walking” and that he had been in the Big Cypress for six days when the officers located him.

Officers Curbelo and Thurkettle were notified of a missing hiker within the Crew WMA. The subject had been riding the trails with a companion when he decided to go off trail, advising his companion that he would catch up with them later. Near dusk, the subject got a message to his companion that he could not find his way back, and relayed his coordinates before his phone died. Officers Curbelo and Thurkettle, Lee County officers, Collier County Sheriff’s Office deputies and their helicopter joined in the search. The helicopter located the subject near his last location where Officers Curbelo and Thurkettle found him. The individual was checked out by EMS and released.

Officer Arbogast and his fiancé were enjoying their evening off duty when they saw a 5- year-old boy in the middle of a busy, four-lane road near midnight in Greater Naples. Officer Arbogast saw the boy crying and waving his arms hysterically. Officer Arbogast immediately recognized that the boy's safety was in danger and that he needed to act immediately. Officer Arbogast approached the boy, and identified himself as a “policeman.” Once Officer Arbogast showed the boy his badge, the five-year-old relaxed and began to explain that he could not find his mother and was "scared of monsters he saw.” Officer Arbogast contacted the Collier County Sheriff's Office for assistance. FWC Officer Lugg, who was also off-duty but near the scene, also responded to assist. Once investigators arrived, they found that the boy's 1-year-old sister was also in the residence alone in a baby crib. They waited for the mother to return. Sheriff's investigators arrested her for felony driving on a suspended/revoked driver's license and felony child neglect. The children were left in the care of a family member and the Florida Department of Children and Families was informed.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Way responded to a 911 call of two persons on a small sailing vessel that took on water and sank just south of Big Coppit Key near Key West. A nearby Good Samaritan on a nearby vessel took one passenger on board and to shore, while Officer Way recovered the vessel and the operator, who was still clinging to the sunken vessel a short time later. There were no sustained injuries and the vessel was later removed by commercial salvage.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROL
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

The FWC, US Coast Guard and Miami Police participated in Operation Picnic Basket during the weekend. The goal of the operation was to enhance boater safety during the busy spring break boating season throughout the county. FWC Officers issued 163 boating citations, 68 warnings, 2 BUIs, and one misdemeanor citation for out-of-season red grouper. They also arrested one subject with an attempted murder warrant, another for felony fleeing and eluding, and recovered one stolen PWC which led to a subsequent arrest.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Garrison, Mobley and Carroll worked with the Marathon Turtle Hospital to release six different species of turtles, one of which was a 330-pound green turtle that Officers Adams and Carroll rescued a month prior. All the turtles were released offshore of Marathon. The event was attended by photographers, a video crew from The Weather Channel and representatives from several other organizations. It attracted several media outlets allowing more opportunity to relay our message of protecting our natural resources and sea creatures that live in them.

Officers Sapp, Martino and Carroll worked the FWC and NOAA information booth at the “Original Marathon Seafood Festival” in the middle keys. Officers spoke with roughly 250+ people and educated everyone about fishing regulations and boating safety. Officers also recruited multiple people who had interest in becoming an FWC officer.

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  FWC Enforcement Report March 10-16. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 03-28-2017, 11:59 AM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

Officers Wicker and N. Basford were working night shift at St. Andrews State Park during spring break. While patrolling in the campground, they noticed a strong odor of cannabis coming from a campsite. The officers announced their presence and asked the subjects to come out of the tent. The subjects opened the tent door and cannabis smoke bellowed out as they exited the tent. The officers asked about the cannabis and the subjects produced a glass jar with a bag of cannabis inside it. The subjects stated that the cannabis belonged to all of them and one of the subjects gave the officers a pack of rolling papers. All four of the subjects were charged with possession of cannabis less than 20 grams and the subject that produced the rolling papers was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officers Ramos and McHenry were conducting saltwater fishing license and marine resource inspections on Pensacola Beach and saw a man, who was actively fishing, begin to behave suspiciously. When asked, the man provided a false name to the officers. After establishing the man’s name, an active warrant was found for violation of probation/DUI. The subject was booked into Escambia County Jail for the outstanding warrant and issued a citation for not having the required non-resident fishing license.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

A resident called FWC Dispatch with a complaint of rifle rounds whistling through his trees over his home. An officer responded and heard shots coming from the west near the Shoal River. The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office responded and assisted in stopping two vehicles exiting a road near the area. Five subjects were detained and admitted to shooting within the past half hour. An AR-15 rifle, shotgun and .45 pistol were used to target the wooded shoreline across the river. The firearms in the vehicle were cased, record checked and legal to possess. The subjects were released and educated on proper firearms use.

An FWC officer patrolled a parking lot on the University of Florida extension (UF REEF) on Poquito Road, leased from the Eglin Air Force Base. A subject was “drifting” with his vehicle between the light poles on the wet pavement after hours. A trespass warning was issued for one year. Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office responded to assist and the facility manager was notified.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Jones was on patrol in the early morning on the Eglin Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and found a fresh set of vehicle tracks going through a closed range gate and into an area closed to all public access. He followed the tracks to an area where he saw flashlights working off in the distance. He followed the lights on foot and found a man and a woman standing near a parked vehicle. The two subjects were in possession of hundreds of spent brass ammunition shell casings. They were charged with numerous violations including entering a closed area, entering Eglin property during closed hours, no Eglin permit and theft. The male subject was also charged with resisting arrest without violence.

Officer Jernigan concluded an investigation into a boat that was found abandoned in the Blackwater WMA. He contacted the last registered owner who referred him to another man to whom he gave the boat. The officer finally contacted a subject who admitted to finding the boat in what appeared to be an abandoned state. He took the boat but later thought that it might have been stolen, so he hauled it to the nearby forest where he disposed of it. The man was charged with littering and the boat was returned to the registered owner.

Officer Hutchinson received information about a man who had a small alligator as a pet at his residence. The subject did not have the proper permits to possess the alligator and the officer found that the man was keeping the alligator inside an aquarium. The man admitted to catching the alligator in Yellow River at the end of the 2016 alligator hunting season. He said he caught two small alligators and took them home, but one later died. He kept the other one as a pet. The alligator was seized and the man was charged for possession of an alligator without a permit.

RESCUES
SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Lieutenant Berryman and Officers Hoomes, Roberson and Cushing responded to a request from the U. S. Coast Guard (USCG) of a reported distress call from a vessel somewhere in East Bay/Blackwater Bay. After searching the area for three hours in rough seas and inclement weather, the search was called off due to lack of additional information on the possible location of the vessel.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
OKALOOSA COUNTY

FWC officers responded to a concerned citizen’s request to find a challenged sea turtle in the Gulf of Mexico near Destin Pass. Lieutenant Clark and Officer Maltais located the turtle more than a half mile offshore, common for this time of year. The officers attempted a rescue but did not have the equipment on board, as the turtle would dive when approached. Three staff members from the Okaloosa Island Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, along with Officer Jarvis, arrived at the USCG Destin to assist Lieutenant Clark with the rescue. Upon return, the turtle was located again, captured and turned over to the Gulfarium team where they anticipate a successful rehabilitation of the sick female turtle.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Hutchinson helped coordinate an after-school function for S. S. Dixon Elementary School. The event’s theme was camping, fishing and nature. FWC Wildlife Biologist Almario, Wildlife Technician Jernigan and Officer Hutchinson participated in the event. They set up a wildlife display that involved hands‑on wildlife identification games as well as other displays. They answered many questions and interacted with the students and their parents. Approximately 300 people attended the event.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
ALACHUA COUNTY

A subject hunting with his son harvested a turkey within several yards of a game feeder. Officer Stanley issued the subject a citation for taking turkey over bait and explained to the youth the importance of hunting within the laws.

BAKER COUNTY

Officer Burnsed was checking some private land for illegal hunting activity when he saw two subjects standing in a food plot holding a freshly killed turkey. Turkey season had not yet opened and one of the subjects admitted to killing the turkey just before the officer’s arrival. The subject took the officer back to the location where they had shot the turkey and the officer determined the turkey had been taken over a baited site. The subject was cited for taking turkey during closed season and for taking turkey over a baited area.

Officer Burnsed was working a turkey hunting detail on youth weekend on a baited site that had cracked corn broadcast on the ground. At daylight, a hunter and juvenile approached a ground blind overlooking the bait site. The adult began calling turkeys once in the blind. Officer Burnsed made contact with the adult hunter who admitted to placing the bait out to attract turkeys. The subject was cited for attempting to take turkey over a baited site.

Lieutenant Huff was working a turkey hunting detail on youth weekend when he saw an adult hunter holding a shotgun and calling turkeys with a small child. The adult was hunting with a 12-gauge, 3½-inch shotgun with heavy turkey load. He admitted the child was too small not only to shoot the shotgun, but also unable to carry one. The hunter admitted that the shotgun was his and was cited for an adult hunting turkey during the youth season.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officers Drew and Johnston were on patrol in a rural area outside Lake City known for illegal dumping, trespassing and other criminal activity. The officers saw several fishing poles, rifle ammunition, a gas can, and other articles scattered along the side of a rural road. Believing the items were most likely stolen, the officers began to canvas the surrounding area looking for additional clues and saw a suspicious vehicle nearby hidden in the woods. The registration to the vehicle revealed the vehicle was reported stolen the same day out of Columbia County along with several firearms, including a .308 rifle. After backup arrived, the vehicle was cleared and determined not to be occupied. The firearms were not found, but the officers did find high-end fishing equipment along with several rounds of .308 and 12-gauge ammunition. The items were recovered and returned, along with the vehicle, to the rightful owner. The case was turned over to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

Officer Johnston was on land patrol at Lake Desoto in Lake City when he saw a vehicle being driven in a reckless manner. A pickup truck pulled out in front of him at a high rate of speed and began driving in a designated pedestrian lane around Lake Desoto. The driver nearly hit a pedestrian and had to take evasive action to avoid a collision. The subject slowed down for a moment and once again rapidly accelerated away while driving in front of Officer Johnston in his marked patrol vehicle. The pedestrian who was nearly hit began pointing at the vehicle as Officer Johnston drove by her. Officer Johnston activated his emergency lights and siren. The operator took an abrupt turn while accelerating causing a computer modem to slide out of the bed of his truck and onto the highway. Officer Johnston had to swerve to avoid hitting the computer modem. The driver stopped shortly after Officer Johnston activated lights and siren. Upon contact, the driver was displaying a variety of indicators consistent to that of someone under the influence of an alcoholic beverage. The driver stated his erratic driving was his way of removing leaves from the bed of his truck. The subject refused to participate in field sobriety tasks and refused to provide a breath sample. He was arrested and transported to the Columbia County Jail where he was booked for reckless driving and DUI.

DUVAL COUNTY

The Duval County Health Department contacted Environmental Investigator Terrones for assistance after finding bio-medical waste behind a tattoo business in Jacksonville. The waste was in several areas on the ground and in an unapproved, open dumpster co-mingled with regular trash. Used piercing needles, tattoo needles, bloody gauze and bloody aprons were some of the items that had been disposed of, none of it in red bags or sharps containers. The business owner took full responsibility and was cited accordingly. The health department ordered the business to hire a contractor to remove the bio-med waste and will follow-up with administrative fines.

LAFAYETTE COUNTY

Officers Drew and Johnston were on land patrol in a rural area near Mallory Swamp WMA when they saw a vehicle approaching on their side of a dirt road. The passenger of the vehicle was hanging out of the window. The driver noticed the officers and quickly maneuvered back onto his side of the highway. The officers pulled alongside the vehicle and engaged the driver in a conversation. When the officers asked the driver if there was anything illegal inside his vehicle, he became nervous. The officers exited their patrol vehicle and could see several pieces of flint in plain view on the floorboard of the suspect’s vehicle. Suspecting artifacts may have been taken from state land, the officers asked for consent to search the vehicle. A methamphetamine pipe with a crystal-like substance was found as well as a plastic bag containing suspected methamphetamine residue. The residue and crystal substance both yielded a positive test result for the presence of methamphetamine. The driver was arrested and transported to the Lafayette County Jail for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. At the time of the arrest, the subject was on felony probation for meth-related charges.

UNION COUNTY

K-9 Officer Gill and Reserve Captain Lee received information of illegal poaching of deer that was occurring at night during Thanksgiving week. The original complaint was that shots were fired off the highway in the vicinity of a licensed deer pen. The officers contacted Investigator Hoyle for assistance after several suspects were identified. During the three month investigation, it was discovered that the suspects killed several deer at night, including two large antlered deer out of the deer pen in question. After gathering all the information, the suspects were interviewed. The investigation resulted in numerous felony and misdemeanor charges to be direct filed, including possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, felony trespass, grand theft of livestock, breaking/cutting fences, taking of doe during closed season and illegal taking of deer at night on multiple occasions.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers in Alachua County were busy throughout the weekend watching multiple turkey bait sites. The youth weekend turned out to be a great weekend for young hunters. Several birds were harvested including a 10-inch bearded gobbler turkey taken in the Newberry area by one young lady and later posted on social media.

Officers continue to work area lakes for speck, bream and bass fishing along with boating safety violations. Officer Harris issued several boating inspection stickers for those in compliance with safety gear.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officers Balgo, Hallsten, and Eller were conducting fisheries inspections on commercial king mackerel vessels coming into Sebastian Inlet. While boarding a vessel for a fisheries inspection, Officers Balgo and Eller counted 57 king mackerel on board the vessel. The legal commercial bag limit for king mackerel is 50. A citation was issued to the operator of the vessel for over the commercial bag limit. Other commercial vessel stops on the same day resulted in warnings for commercial safety gear, no Saltwater Products License (SPL) in possession and one king mackerel over the bag limit.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

While on vessel patrol at night on the Indian River, Officer Kearney saw a commercial fishing vessel engaged in commercial fishing activities. After stopping the vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection, he found the fisherman was in possession of several undersized sheepshead and a pufferfish. Upon further inspection, it was revealed that the man did not possess his commercial license as required and had been issued citations within the last six days for the exact same violations. The officer issued the subject citations for the various violations.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

While on routine patrol, officers located several areas that had been baited with cracked corn and bird seed on a hunt club near Samsula. On the opening day of the youth turkey season, Officers North, Malicoat, Ward and West entered the club before daylight and monitored the baited areas to ensure that hunters remained at least 100 yards from the bait. Two adults were cited for allowing minor children to shoot turkeys over bait. Both turkeys were shot at less than 15 yards while they were standing in the bait.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

Area officers participated in a community outreach event at the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office. The annual Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranch BBQ event draws a large crowd from the community. FWC officers provided a display including an airboat, ATV, patrol vessel and robo-deer.

LAKE COUNTY

Public Information Officer (PIO) Weber taught hunter safety to approximately 18 students at the Gun Shop in Leesburg.

SEMINOLE COUNTY

PIO Weber and Officer Sapp attended an outreach event at the Starlite Baptist Church in Winter Springs. The officers had an alligator and two snakes on hand for display and answered several questions pertaining to conservation and fish and wildlife laws.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HERNANDO COUNTY

Officers Peterson, Pulaski and Canfield were on water patrol in federal waters offshore of Hernando County inspecting vessels for fisheries compliance. During the patrol, the team located a commercial fishing vessel engaged in fishing. A fisheries inspection revealed the two fishermen were in possession of four gag grouper. Additionally, an inspection of the required fishing gear revealed the vessel monitoring system was not functioning. The officers also discovered their federal Gulf reef fish permit had expired. A case package will be prepared and forwarded to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the violations.

HIGHLANDS COUNTY

FWC officers and investigators responded to a boating accident that occurred on Dinner Lake. They discovered only a dog on board, but one subject was discovered deceased in the lake nearby. This is an ongoing boating accident investigation.

LEE COUNTY

While on patrol at Pineland Boat Ramp, Officer Hardgrove encountered a subject as he was passing the Pineland Boat Ramp and heading into the marina on his vessel. When asked if he had caught anything, the operator stated that he had caught some sheepshead but had thrown them back because he hated cleaning them. When a resource inspection was initiated, the operator appeared to be hesitant and stated that there weren’t any fish on board. The resource inspection revealed a shopping bag with fish fillets sticking out of it. The fillets still had the skins on and consisted of three sheepshead, eight mangrove snapper and four gag grouper. The operator was issued a notice to appear for undersized fish, failure to land in whole condition and possession in a closed season.

Officer Hardgrove and Lieutenant Spoede initiated a stop on a 17-foot skiff near Pine Island and performed a resource check after noticing there were several fishing poles on board. A resource inspection revealed that all of the subject’s fish were under the legal minimum size limit of 15 inches total length to harvest. The operator was issued a notice to appear for possession of undersized spotted seatrout.

MANATEE COUNTY

While on and patrol near the South Skyway Fishing Pier, Officer Davidson performed a fisheries inspection on an individual fishing from the pier. The subject had caught and kept a 13-inch gag grouper and a 10-inch sheepshead. The subject was cited criminally for possession of gag grouper out of season and issued warnings for undersized gag grouper and undersized sheepshead.

While on land patrol around the South Skyway Fishing Pier, Officer Dalton performed a fisheries inspection on an individual fishing from the pier and found that the subject had caught and kept a 20-inch gag grouper. The subject was cited criminally for possession of gag grouper out of season and given a warning for undersized gag grouper.

RESCUES
PINELLAS COUNTY

Officer Martinez and Lieutenant Van Trees responded to and assisted with a capsized vessel around the Dick Meisner Bridge. Three subjects had gone out on the water during extreme weather conditions on a 16-foot vessel and realized they would not be able to make it much further. When they turned around, the vessel started taking on water and capsized. Fire Rescue, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Eckerd College, and FWC arrived and all three occupants were retrieved and brought safely to land. The officers helped Eckerd College with the retrieval of the vessel as well.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
PINELLAS COUNTY

Officers Bibeau and Gaudion were presented the Florida Guides Association Trained-Eyes Coast Watcher Officer of the Year Award at the 2017 Outdoor Expo, held at the Florida State Fairgrounds. This award will also be presented at the Commission Meeting to recognize officers who were instrumental in coastal resource protection.

SOUTH A REGION
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Vacin conducted a marine fisheries inspection on a vessel returning from offshore into Dania Beach. The vessel contained one undersized sailfish and the subject was issued a criminal notice to appear for possession of the undersized sailfish. The sailfish was seized as evidence.

Officers Ryan and Sadilek were on night patrol in Dania Beach and stopped a vehicle for running a red light. The officers suspected the driver was under the influence and conducted field sobriety tasks on the driver,who was subsequently placed under arrest for DUI. Officer Brock arrived on the scene and transported the driver to the Broward County breath alcohol test facility and from there to the Broward County Jail.

Officers Ryan and Sadilek responded to the Mizell-Johnson State Park about a person finding what he thought could have been a human bone. The officers took possession of the bone. Officer Tarr brought the bone to the Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office where it was confirmed that it was not a human bone.

Investigator Coffin was on land patrol in an area in western Broward County when he encountered two subjects trapping small birds. The subjects were using six wooden traps which they were hanging on trees in a nearby wooded area. Five of the traps contained an indigo bunting in each and the sixth trap contained a painted bunting. All six birds are federally protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and are illegal to trap and possess. Both subjects were charged with possession of non-game migratory birds and for trapping wildlife on South Florida Water Management District lands.

HENDRY COUNTY

Officer Nasworth responded to the property of United States Sugar area 6 and Collins Slough Road for a trespass complaint. Officer Nasworth arrived on the scene and spoke to a security guard who advised him that a subject was trespassing on cultivated private land. The subject was advised that he was trespassing on private property. The subject acknowledged that he knew he was trespassing. The subject was charged with trespassing and issued a court date for the offense.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Toby saw an individual fishing near Lake Okeechobee at the Canal Point Structure and conducted a fisheries inspection. The individual was in possession of undersized black crappie and made multiple efforts to hide the fish once the inspection began. The individual was on felony probation with a clause of “no illegal fishing” in the terms, stemming from an incident when the individual was convicted of battery on a law enforcement officer while stopped for fishing illegally. The individual was arrested and transported to the local jail for the violation of probation. Additionally, the individual was issued a misdemeanor citations for possession of undersized black crappie and obstructing an FWC officer.

Officer Nasworth responded to the Jolly Roger Marina in Clewiston for a boating accident investigation. The owner of the marina advised Officer Nasworth that a gentleman had rented a boat earlier in the day and returned it damaged. The boat sustained heavy damage to the right pontoon and skeg of the motor and the person that rented the vessel had left the marina prior to the damage being discovered. The investigation is ongoing.

FWC investigators and patrol officers responded to a boating incident at the Burt Reynolds East Boat Ramp. An individual jumped off the US1 Bridge and made contact with a vessel passing underneath before he entered the water. The subject was transported to St. Mary’s Hospital. The incident is still under investigation.

Investigator Booth responded to a residence to assist Palm Beach Police Department (PBPD) and Palm Beach County Animal Control. While there for unrelated matters, the PBPD discovered approximately 100 deceased snakes. Two dogs, two tortoises, two parakeets and two snakes were still alive, but were being kept in poor conditions. Palm Beach County Animal Control took possession of the living animals. After numerous attempts to locate the owner of the animals, Investigator Booth, assisted by Officers Spradling and Godward, located the subject who was then cited for abandonment of animals.

Officer Cobo responded to a vessel fire near the Intracoastal Waterway in Jupiter. The ski-type vessel had an inboard engine and four persons on board. During a recreational cruise, the Captain noticed smoke coming from the engine compartment and quickly turned the vessel around and headed back to port. He then directed all of his passengers, who were in their late 70s, to put on their life vests. As the smoke increased in intensity, he had all passengers abandon ship and jump into the water. Thanks to the safety equipment on board and the quick thinking by the Captain, all of the passengers were able to swim to a nearby dock along the shoreline and make it to safety. The vessel became completely engulfed in flames and was a complete loss.

Officers Ryan, Tarr and Sadilek were on patrol in western Palm Beach County and conducted a fisheries inspection on individuals that had been fishing. After the inspection, two individuals were criminally cited for over the bag limit of black bass and possession of oversized black bass. Twenty-one black bass were seized as evidence.

RESCUES
MARTIN COUNTY

Multiple FWC officers and investigators responded to a call for assistance at Sandsprit Park regarding a kayak incident. Preliminary information indicated a subject needed immediate medical assistance and CPR was in progress. Upon the arrival of responding FWC personnel, it was reported that the subject had been transported from a sandbar near the Sandsprit Boat Ramp and then to the Martin Memorial South Emergency Room. Preliminary information indicates the subject experienced a medical issue, collapsing in the water while walking a kayak back to the ramp in the water. The female subject assisted the male subject until assistance arrived. Subsequently, the male subject was pronounced deceased at the hospital. The incident is not being investigated by FWC as a boating accident fatality.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Brevik and Hankinson responded to a search and rescue in the J.W. Corbett WMA. Two hikers were lost off of trail 3. The hikers had a low supply of water and one had an injured foot. The officers were able to find both hikers with limited information. Once found, Officer Brevik provided them with bottled water and transported the hikers to the North Check Station where their family was waiting.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROL
BROWARD/PALM BEACH COUNTIES

Port investigators and all three port K-9s participated in a three-day detail at various port facilities around Broward and southern Palm Beach counties. The detail targeted violations related to the shipping of wildlife and saltwater products. Various violations were found including improper package labeling, improper securing of wildlife, overcrowded containers of wildlife, restricted species shipping violations and license violations.

SOUTH B REGION
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Arbogast and Investigator White were at a local boat ramp conducting a follow-up investigation to a boating accident involving a PWC livery. The livery inspection revealed that the livery did not have the necessary personal watercraft insurance as required by Florida Statue 327.54(5). This company had been warned a few weeks prior regarding their lack of proper insurance. While at the ramp, the officers discovered a second livery company operating out of the same area without proper personal watercraft insurance. Both company owners were issued notices to appear.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

FWC officers concentrated enforcement actions on the Key Biscayne Regatta held over the weekend. A total of 105 vessels were inspected and 337 users checked. The FWC officers issued 39 boating citations, 55 warnings, 4 misdemeanor arrests (resource and livery), 1 DUI, 1 BUI, and handled one boating accident. In addition, an overdue PWC with two persons on board was located by FWC officers. The PWC was escorted back to the marina safely without incident.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Sapp was on water patrol near Key West when he received information from Recruit Hettel, currently in training at the Florida Public Safety Institute in Tallahassee, regarding ongoing poaching activities near Key Haven. Using the information, Officer Sapp responded to the area and began searching for a 39-foot Contender. A vessel matching the description was located, with no registration numbers and a vessel stop was initiated. While checking the vessel’s safety gear, two spear guns were observed. When asked if he went spearfishing that day, the operator replied “yes.” A marine fisheries inspection revealed one out-of-season black grouper, and one undersized mutton snapper. The subject was cited and issued a notice to appear.

RESCUES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Johnson responded to a vessel taking on water approximately one half-mile offshore near Wiggins Pass. Once on the scene, Officer Johnson was joined by the Collier County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit and the USCG. Two of the occupants of the vessel were unable to swim. All five of the subjects were safely removed from the sinking vessel and returned to shore.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Araujo responded to a panther depredation call in Golden Gate Estates. The complainant reported a panther had killed goats and geese on her property. She also feared that the panther was still hiding inside the goat pen. Officer Araujo confirmed that the animals were killed by a panther and it was no longer in the area. FWC’s local panther biologist has responded to previous panther depredations at the location advised that there is a panther in the area. Officer Araujo explained to the complainant that a more secure enclosure would help to avoid future panther depredations.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Plussa and Florida Highway Patrol troopers conducted traffic enforcement patrol in the Collier County Panther Zone portions inside the Collier-Seminole State Park boundary. The daytime speed limit is 60 MPH and the nighttime speed limit is 45 MPH. Throughout the evening, Officer Plussa stopped numerous motorists and issued multiple citations, with many violators driving over 70 MPH in the 45 MPH zone. In addition to citations and warnings for unlawful speed, Officer Plussa took appropriate enforcement actions issuing a combination of citations and warnings for expired vehicle registration, no auto insurance, failure to transfer driver’s licenses, no headlights at night, no taillights at night and other violations.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Araujo attended an FWC-sponsored youth fishing clinic at the Naples Pier. He spoke to children about how to be a responsible angler, respect the environment and how to practice catch and release fishing. After the demonstrations, the kids got a rod and reel and learned to fish, some of them for the very first time. Officer Araujo showed kids how to bait their hooks, assisted in landing fish and how to safely hold them. During the clinic, Officer Araujo was also able to demonstrate how to successfully release pelicans when one became hooked.

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  FWC Enforcement Report March 3-9. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 03-17-2017, 04:41 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Clark received information that an individual posted a picture of himself on a social media website holding an alligator snapping turtle at his residence. After speaking to the individual, he found that two other individuals had also been in possession of the turtle. One of the individuals caught the turtle and then brought it home to take pictures. The turtle was reportedly taken back to the spot where it was first located and released. The individual was cited for possessing and transporting a species of special concern. The other two individuals were given warnings and educated on the laws concerning that species.

Officer Pettey received an internet complaint that showed an individual in possession of what appeared to be an oversized redfish. The individual was located and found to be in possession of a 38‑inch redfish. A citation was issued for the violation.

Officers Pettey and Allgood responded to a trespass complaint that occurred on a hunting club in the Walnut Hill area. Earlier in the week, several trail camera photographs of an individual walking through the club holding a gun were provided. The officers located the subject walking in the area near the club, interviewed him and when he was shown some of the photographs, he admitted to trespass while hunting on the property. A criminal history check revealed the subject is a convicted felon and is not allowed to possess firearms. A warrant was obtained the next day for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Officer Allgood received information that some fishermen were harvesting over the bag limit of sheepshead at the Fort Pickens fishing pier. When he arrived on the scene, there were three men with several buckets and a cooler filled with sheepshead. The fishermen were in possession of 59 sheepshead and given notice to appear citations for over the bag limit.

While off duty, Lieutenant Clark saw a vehicle pulling a trailer full of waste tires on Highway 98 in Gulf Breeze. He contacted Officer Allgood and advised him that there was no placard or permit displayed on the side of the vehicle as required. Officer Allgood saw the vehicle approaching his location and confirmed the vehicle was not displaying a placard and conducted a traffic stop. The driver confirmed he did not have a permit to haul waste tires and was issued a notice to appear for transporting waste tires without a permit.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

Officer Matechik was on patrol in the Cash Creek area when he saw a subject in a vessel working a net. He could see a large pile of net in the vessel and approximately 200 pounds of mullet in the vessel. When asked how many nets he had, he responded that there were four nets on board and two of the nets were tied together. The subject said the nets would probably be more than 500 square feet. Due to the nets being wadded up, they were seized for further investigation. Officer Richardson responded to assist and they were able to stretch the nets out at the Carrabelle field office. The first nets that were tied together measured 4,096 square feet. The second net measured 1,260 square feet. Charges are being filed against the subject.

Officer Matechik was on patrol on St. George Island when he saw a vessel and a subject working a net. When he got closer, he saw that it was the same subject he cited the week before for oversized nets. During his inspection, the subject told Officer Matechik that there were nets tied together and told him where they were tied together. In all, there were four nets tied together and another net in the vessel. The subject had approximately 100 pounds of mullet on board along with miscellaneous fish. Officer Richardson responded to assist and the officers seized the nets and transported them to the Carrabelle field office to better inspect them. The total square feet of the first nets tied together was 4,619. The second net in the vessel measured 342 square feet. Charges are being filed on the same subject for multiple net and fishery violations.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Pifer conducted an Individual Fishing Quota inspection (IFQ) of a federally permitted commercial fishing vessel which had landed the night before and was offloading the next morning. Upon arrival, the vessel was already in the process of offloading its catch. An inspection of the fish inside the wholesale dealer’s truck revealed three undersized red snapper and one undersized vermillion snapper. Since the majority of the catch had already been offloaded, A thorough inspection of the vessel’s catch was conducted at the dealer as it was being sorted and packaged for resale. With help from Officer Corbin, a total of five undersized red snapper and fourteen vermilion snapper were found. Officer Pifer returned to the commercial vessel and obtained a sworn written statement stating that the fish were harvested from federal waters. The captain was issued a federal citation for the violation and all information was forwarded to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This was the captain’s third IFQ violation within a six‑month period.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Hutchinson was patrolling the Blackwater State Forest when he saw a vehicle driving carelessly, almost striking his patrol vehicle. After stopping the vehicle, he discovered that the passenger had a warrant for his arrest from Santa Rosa County. The subject was placed under arrest and transported to the Santa Rosa County Jail. The driver of the vehicle was issued a written warning for careless operation.

Officer Lewis was on forest patrol in Blackwater River State Forest when he detected the odor of cannabis emanating from a tent. He heard people inside the tent and asked them to come outside and speak with him. One of the men admitted to smoking a cannabis cigarette and consented to a search of the tent. Drug paraphernalia and a baggie that appeared to contain methamphetamine were located. A field test of the substance in the baggie was positive for methamphetamine. The man was arrested for possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, possession of cannabis not more than 20 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was transported to the Santa Rosa County Jail and the drugs and paraphernalia were seized as evidence.

Officer Lewis saw a vehicle swerving all over the roadway and stopped the vehicle. He detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from the vehicle and on the driver’s breath. During field sobriety tasks, the driver showed obvious signs of impairment. The driver was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) and transported to the Santa Rosa County Jail where he blew a .163, more than twice the legal limit. The subject was charged with operating a motor vehicle with a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or above.

Officer Lewis was on patrol at the Webb Landing campsite in the Escambia River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when he saw a man and woman camping. As the man was taking items out of his vehicle, a box commonly used to store drug paraphernalia was in plain sight. He asked the man about the box and the man admitted that there were pipes he used to smoke weed in the box. The man consented to a search of the vehicle and three pipes with cannabis residue were found in the box. He also found another box that contained a glass pipe and a small baggie of methamphetamine. Officer Jernigan arrived to assist. The officers located a large water bong used for smoking cannabis. The subject was arrested for possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, possession of drug paraphernalia and for an outstanding warrant out of Pinellas County.

WALTON COUNTY

Officer Bartlett was on land patrol at a local marina in Freeport inspecting vessels for titling requirements. An owner of a 28‑foot Bayliner cabin vessel failed to transfer the vessel’s title into his name within 30 days. The new owner was given a written warning. More than a month later, the officer followed up and confirmed the owner had still neglected to transfer the title to his name. The owner was issued a notice to appear citation.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Bartlett and J. Rockwell attended an outreach event at Crestview High School. The officers talked about the core missions and what it takes to become an FWC officer. The officers displayed a patrol vessel and, with the upcoming boating season right around the corner, relayed the importance of boating safety. There were a total of 72 students in attendance for the event.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS

DUVAL COUNTY

The Resource Protection Service Squad coordinated with uniform patrol to conduct a targeted enforcement detail focusing on blue crab commercial fisheries. Violations were found for gear and trap requirements, quality control, boating safety and navigation hazards. Nine citations and 22 warnings were issued in a two-day period, and several violations are still waiting to be addressed when contact can be made with the fishermen. At the end of the second day, commercial fishermen on one boat stated that they heard blue crab fisheries enforcement had been stepped up in the area, and they had gone over their vessel and equipment to ensure compliance.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
LAKE COUNTY

Officer Weber responded to a call in progress of a person illegally dumping in the Ocala National Forest. The subject was located and cited for littering. The subject promptly cleaned up the area and properly disposed of the trash.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officers Ward and West responded to a local farmers’ market to investigate a complaint about a man selling saltwater products without the proper licenses. An inspection revealed that the seller did have a retail license. However, he was offering oysters and clams for sale that had passed the terminal sale date and he did not have any paperwork proving where he purchased the oysters. Citations were issued for the violations.

Officer Bertolami was checking shoreline fishermen in the New Smyrna Beach area when he found an adult male in possession of a goliath grouper and several grey snapper smaller than the allowed size limit. The subject was issued a criminal notice to appear for possession of goliath grouper.

Officer Bertolami witnessed an adult male operating a moped who failed to stop at an intersection’s red light and almost struck another vehicle which had the right of way. After stopping the moped, a DUI investigation ensued. The subject was arrested for DUI and the Ormond Beach Police Department (OBPD) placed him into their patrol vehicle. The suspect manipulated the handcuffs to the front of his body and escape from the patrol vehicle’s back seat, attempting to run away. Officer Bertolami and OBPD officers immediately re-captured him and he was charged with escape. He was transported and booked into the Volusia County Jail.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officers Zampella, Stasko and Norris followed a suspicious vehicle traveling east during closed hours in the Webb WMA. The vehicle would stop at every area that held water, shine a flashlight, and the driver would sometimes get out of the vehicle. A vehicle stop was made at Tucker Grade and Road 7. The subjects were cited for being in the WMA during closed hours, knowingly driving on a suspended driver’s license and open container (passenger).

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on land patrol near the Tampa Bypass Canal, Officer Baker saw a subject loading large rocks into his truck from Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) property. The subject had 25 rocks in the bed of his truck. These rocks are used by SWFWMD to prevent erosion along the canal. The subject was cited for petit theft.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Stanley stopped a vessel returning from the Gulf of Mexico to Fort Myers Beach to conduct a marine fisheries inspection. During the inspection, an out-of-season and undersized gag grouper was discovered. The fish measured approximately 20 inches and the legal requirement during the open season is 24 inches. The closed season is January 1, 2017, through May 31, 2017. A notice to appear was issued for out-of-season gag grouper and a warning was issued for undersized gag grouper.

While on patrol at the Pineland Boat Ramp, Officer Hardgrove encountered two individuals as they pulled their vessel up to the ramp after returning from fishing. During a subsequent resource inspection, he discovered several filets with the skin still on that were identified as sea trout, in addition to the two whole fish. The two spotted sea trout that were still in whole condition were both legal sized, but the fillets appeared to be from much smaller fish. The owner and operator of the vessel took responsibility for the fillets and were issued a notice to appear for sea trout not in whole condition.

While patrolling Lehigh Acres in response to a citizen complaint and at the request of East County Water Control District (ECWCD), Officer Price made contact with two trucks along a canal. Officer Price asked both drivers if either had been previously warned about being on ECWCD lands. Both drivers advised that they had not. A quick check revealed one of the drivers had been issued a trespass warning for being on ECWCD lands. The previous warning location was approximately 100 yards from the spot where Officer Price saw the trucks. The individual was written a notice to appear for trespassing after warning on ECWCD lands. The other driver was issued a trespass warning.

Officer Collazo was on patrol in the CREW WMA when a hunter in the area noticed him. The hunter had shot and killed two hen turkeys and feared the officer would find out, so he turned himself in to the check station attendants. Officers Collazo and Furbay responded to the area and interviewed the man about the incident. A K-9 tracked and located the area where the hunter shot the turkeys and found two spent shell casings which were used to kill the turkeys. The turkeys were seized and the hunter was charged with two misdemeanors for illegally taking hen turkey and for over the bag limit of turkey in the CREW WMA.

PASCO COUNTY

Officer Pulaski was stopped at a traffic light on State Road 54 when he was flagged down by a woman in the neighboring parking lot. She was seeking his assistance in relation to two men who were fighting. She stated they had metal poles and a gun, and that “someone was going to be shot.” Officer Pulaski pulled into the parking lot and apprehended the two individuals which were fighting. Pasco County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) deputies arrived a short time later because they had received a 911 call on the incident. The individuals were turned over to the PCSO for the investigation. Possible charges are pending.

SARASOTA COUNTY

Officers Brown and Stasko were on land patrol in the eastern part of the county when they heard what appeared to be a single gunshot in the distance. They walked in the direction of where they thought the shot came from and came across a man in a white Ford pickup truck who appeared to be cleaning an animal. From their vantage point, the officers could not tell what kind of animal the man was cleaning. During a subsequent resource inspection, the man admitted to the officers that he had killed a 5-foot alligator while he was fishing. The officers recovered the meat and the carcass of the alligator before charging the subject criminally for possession of American alligator. The man must appear in court for his violation.

RESCUES
LEE COUNTY

Officers from Lee, Manatee, Sarasota and Collier counties responded to a call for assistance from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office when a series of brush fires raged out of control in Lehigh Acres. The fires were moving at speeds up to 20 miles per hour through residential neighborhoods, fueled by high winds. The officers assisted with evacuations of people, pets and livestock. They also aided with traffic control until the fires were brought under control after dark.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officers Cason, Cocke and Gaudion responded to an overdue sailboat that departed from Pasco County and headed towards Manatee County. Family members advised the operator had called and said he was having numerous mechanical failures, and that they could no longer reach him due to the inclement weather. The officers searched into the morning with the United States Coast Guard (USCG), and the search was picked up by Lieutenant Van Trees and Officer Ferguson. The USCG sent a C130 airplane to continue the search and found the subject 18 miles offshore of Pinellas County. The man was rescued in good condition by a USCG helicopter and rescue swimmer.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
LEE COUNTY

Officers Perry, Hardgrove, Lieutenants Spoede, Ruggiero and Captain Carpenter assisted FWC biologists with the capture of a manatee trapped in a freshwater lake in a housing development in Fort Myers. The manatee had become trapped in the lake during an extreme high-water event several months earlier and had been unable to return to the river. Officer Perry and Lieutenant Spoede, along with FWC biologists, deployed two small vessels by hand in the lake. They were then able to herd the manatee into a large net set by the remaining biologists and law enforcement officers. Captain Carpenter, Lieutenant Ruggiero and Officer Hardgrove, working in conjunction with FWC biologists and volunteers, pulled the manatee to shore where it was safely carried to a waiting transport vehicle. The manatee was successfully released later that afternoon into the Caloosahatchee River.

Officer Stanley and Lieutenant Spoede assisted FWC biologists with the capture of an injured juvenile manatee near Captiva Island. The manatee was approximately seven feet long and suffering from an injury preventing it from submerging. Officer Stanley maneuvered his patrol vessel to herd the manatee away from docks and toward a large net that FWC biologists had set off the beach. The manatee was successfully captured, then carried safely to a waiting transport vehicle so it could be taken to a rehabilitation facility for treatment and recovery. FWC law enforcement and biologists, Tween Waters Resort staff and volunteers all assisted in the capture and transportation.

SARASOTA COUNTY

Officers Polaszek, Sierra and Lieutenant Gerkin assisted personnel from the FWC Marine Mammal Rescue and Mote Marine with the rescue of an adult manatee that appeared to be having complications due to red tide. The manatee had beached itself on an oyster bed in Dona Bay in Venice, Florida. Rescue personnel got the manatee onto a stretcher, attached the stretcher to the patrol vessel, and attempted to tow the manatee to the North Jetty Fish Camp. Approximately one minute into the tow, the manatee decided it did not want to make the trip and successfully escaped. The manatee was monitored for about one hour and seemed to be doing well. The rescuers could not get close enough for a second attempt.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
HERNANDO COUNTY

Officers Fagan, Wolff and K-9 participated in an outreach for the Cub Scouts. There were approximately 100 scouts and family members in attendance. Officer Fagan talked to the scouts about the job of a FWC officer, and provided an educational experience with the aid of an American alligator. Officer Wolff spoke with the scouts about the K-9 program in FWC and provided a K-9 demonstration.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Officers Dearborn, Alvis, and Boogaerts participated in the 2017 News Channel 8 Outdoor Expo and Boat Show at the Florida Fairgrounds. This is a big outreach event that is well received by the public with more than 15,000 people in attendance each year. FWC officers were on site to help answer questions as well as staff from the FWC Office of Boating and Waterways to promote the "Wear It Florida Campaign.”

LEE COUNTY

Officer Salem spoke at the Old Bridge Yacht Club where he educated approximately 60 people about boating safety and fishing regulations. The event gave the group an opportunity to ask questions about local manatee zones, fishing regulations unique to the area and meet one of the local officers face-to-face.

FWC officers joined with members of the Lee County Marine Law Enforcement Task Force to work an informational booth at the Bonita Springs Boat Show. The officers provided valuable information to new and experienced boaters alike.

Officer Bell was invited to speak to the Girl Scouts Troop 451. They were very excited to see a baby alligator, brooks king snake and bearded dragon. Officer Bell educated the troop about boating safety, resource protection and about being an FWC officer.

SOUTH A REGION
CASES
HENDRY COUNTY

Lieutenant Steelman saw a vehicle shining two spotlights out of the passenger side of an SUV on a rural road. They continued to shine the pastures to the south of the road for 45 minutes. The vehicle traveled approximately nine miles in that 45 minutes, stopping several times to shine the pastures. When headlights from other vehicles would appear, they would stop shining their spotlights. When the vehicle was stopped, both passengers had 22 rifles on their laps. The subjects stated they were hunting and looking for rabbits and deer. All three subjects were issued appropriate citations with a court date and the evidence was seized and placed in a secure facility.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Officer Payne was on late-night patrol when he received information from another officer that a subject at the Belcher Canal Spillway was bragging to people about cast netting snook the previous night. The officer responded to the location but found no vehicles or subjects. He then decided to go check the spillway at Taylor Creek to see if anyone was fishing at that location. When he pulled up to the small parking area, he saw a subject known to him from previous stops and various resource violations. The subject had in his possession an oversized snook that was tied to the end of his cast net. Further investigation revealed an additional snook of legal size in his backpack. The subject had no fishing rods and admitted to using a cast net to harvest the fish. The two snook were returned to the water alive. The subject was arrested, transported and booked into the St. Lucie County Jail for the resource violations. He was charged with possession of snook over the bag limit, possession and harvest of an oversized snook, and harvest by illegal method. The cast net was seized as evidence. It was later discovered that the subject’s saltwater fishing privileges had been revoked for a two-year period by the court due to a prior resource violation conviction. An additional charge of fishing with a revoked license will be filed.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING

Officers Toby, Nasworth and Investigator Doricchi participated in the “National Read Across America Day” for Dr. Seuss week at two elementary schools, one in Palm Beach County and one in Hendry County. During this event, they played interactive games with the children to educate them on the difference between “wildlife” and “pets.” The officers then read Dr. Seuss books to the children to promote literacy and education. The children asked great questions and were very eager to meet the officers. Prior to leaving, the officers passed out FWC coloring books, bookmarks, lanyards, and “Junior Officer” stickers to the children. Overall, the officers were able to engage and interact with approximately 200 children between the two elementary schools with a very positive outcome.

MARTIN COUNTY

Officer Nasworth spoke to youth hunters at the DuPuis WMA about the Florida sportsman youth alligator hunt. He spoke to the youth hunters about the duties of an FWC officer, how to practice safe hunting and how to report violations if they observe them.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Cobo assisted Department of Environmental Protection park personnel at MacArthur Beach State Park in West Palm Beach for the annual nature-scaping event. More than 800 people attended the free outdoor festival which included art and music, nature walks, kids’ activities, native plants for sale, kayaking and food trucks. No security issues were reported.

SOUTH B REGION
CASES
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

An officer was on patrol recently at Watson Island Boat Ramp concentrating his efforts on returning personal watercraft (PWC) operators and the appropriate laws associated with use of such craft. His approximate two-hour enforcement effort resulted in the issuance of eleven boating citations to multiple violators for various violations. One subject received three citations for not possessing the requisite boater education card, operating a PWC after dark, and operating a PWC with an expired registration. Enforcement actions and education such as this will hopefully prevent a future tragedy.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Mattson was leaving John Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo when he saw a motor scooter operating on the bike path that specifically states “no motor vehicles.” The scooter did not have a tag on it. When asked for his driver’s license, the man provided a Pennsylvania ID card. The man said he left his license at home and he was only trying to move the scooter from his work place to his house. A records check revealed the man had a suspended driver’s license and a non-extradition warrant out of Ohio. Officer Mattson arrested the man for knowingly operating a vehicle with a suspended license. His belongings and scooter were turned over to his girlfriend. He was taken to Plantation Key Jail and was written two traffic citations in addition to the misdemeanor arrest.

RESCUES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Araujo and Curbelo were asked to assist Lee County officers with a serious forest fire in Lehigh Acres located off State Road 82. The fire was moving very quickly through residential areas. FWC officers worked together with multiple agencies including Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Forest Service, and local fire departments to evacuate citizens. The strong winds and dry weather conditions made containing the fire very difficult and dangerous. The officers went door to door to houses that were in the path of the fire, assisting residents with evacuation.

At the request of Collier County Emergency Services, Lieutenant Sushil and Officers Arbogast, Johnson, Lugg, Miller, Osorio-Borja and Plussa responded to assist with Collier County’s largest wildfire in recent years. An estimated 4,000 acres of Picayune Strand State Forest and areas east of Naples and S.R. 951 burned into the night and the next morning. In addition to the specialized wildfire containment equipment and aircraft from Florida and the U.S. Forestry Services, firefighting equipment and personnel from local jurisdictions as far away as north Charlotte County responded to assist in containing the blaze. Responding FWC officers provided traffic direction, incident command management, and crowd control services to augment Collier County Sheriff’s Office units through the night and into the early morning hours. Additionally, these FWC officers used their knowledge of the areas surrounding the forest fire and their specialized large patrol trucks to transport and rapidly reposition mobile traffic sign trailers, barricades, and other traffic control devices as the fire quickly spread and changed direction throughout the incident. No major structures were lost and no injuries were reported.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Dube responded to a 911 call of a vessel in distress after it capsized offshore of Islamorada. A passenger of the small vessel managed to swim ashore after the vessel he was on sank due to the rough seas and high winds and called 911. The two remaining passengers stayed with the vessel until Officer Dube arrived. The two passengers were clinging to the overturned vessel’s hull as it was drifting with the wind and current. The men were brought on board the patrol vessel and taken to shore. All three men were cold and sore, but uninjured. The men were very thankful for the FWC’s efforts and expressed their gratitude multiple times.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
COLLIER COUNTY

Investigator White and Lieutenant Mahoney conducted plain-clothes foot patrol within the Big Cypress WMA with a primary focus on the feeding of alligators. Upon arrival, three subjects were fishing from a bridge which is posted as “No Fishing from Bridge.” They saw a juvenile catch a fish and dangle it over the water to entice the alligators located near the bridge. The juvenile teased the alligators for a while before feeding them the fish attached to the end of his fishing line. The juvenile was educated and warned about the dangers of feeding the alligators. Additionally, one of the adults was cited for not possessing a valid freshwater fishing license. Additional patrols were conducted along the Turner River. No feeding violations were seen and additional freshwater fishing license tickets were issued.

The crew of the Offshore Patrol Vessel CT Randall conducted turtle excluder device (TED) inspections on the shrimp boat fleet operating out of Fort Myers Beach over a three-day period. Lieutenant Shea, Officers Miller and Thurkettle inspected a total of 33 TEDs on 12 shrimping vessels. They found 14 TED violations, which were corrected dockside by the crews of the vessels. They also addressed a state violation involving the possession of Bahamian starfish, a prohibited species to possess, on board one of the shrimping vessels. The crews, captains and owners of the shrimping fleet vessels were all very appreciative of the dockside inspections to ensure that all their TEDs were in compliance.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Operation “Clean Sweep” targeted the area of Watson Island anchorage over the past month, with more than 30 derelict vessels being removed or brought back into compliance by the owners. Officer Ingellis, the City of Miami Marine Patrol officers, and J. Ricisak with DEP Resource Management, took part in the month-long cleanup of the area. The Dinner Key anchorage will be the next area targeted for derelict vessel removals.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Dube was asked to be the co-host again with Captain Bill Kelly on his Friday Night Radio Show in Islamorada. Officer Dube spoke about recent arrests/cases that FWC officers have made and the recent rise in boating accidents and fatalities in Monroe County. Captain Kelly and Officer Dube had several guest speakers on the show promoting their various events and fishing tournaments.

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  FWC Enforcement Report February 24- March 2. All Regions.
Posted by: bigefromlc - 03-06-2017, 02:16 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
JACKSON COUNTY

Officers Forehand and Hayes were on foot patrol in the Apalachee Wildlife Management Area (WMA) checking a baited tree stand they found earlier that morning. As they were nearing the stand, they heard a high-powered rifle shot coming from that direction. Once they got within sight of the stand, they saw a subject walking away from the stand who appeared to be trying to leave the area. The officers checked the area and found fresh blood near the corn that had been placed in the area. The subject admitted that he just shot a doe. The following charges were direct filed through the state attorney’s office: placing bait in a WMA, taking antlerless deer during the closed season and taking deer with a rifle during a shotgun-only hunt. The hunter was also warned for no hunter orange and failure to check in/out at the check station.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officer Stanley was given information about an individual possessing two deer in a pen next to the River Rise State Park. There were two whitetail deer in one pen and a raccoon in another. All three animals came from the wild. The animals were released back into the wild and written warnings were issued for no permit and cage requirements.

After a three-year investigation and a three-day jury trial, A guilt guilty verdict on a marijuana growing operation was issued by a jury. The main defendant was found guilty on the three following felony charges: 1) Manufacture of Cannabis 2) Conspiracy to Manufacture Cannabis and 3) Possession of Cannabis over 20 Grams. He received 2 years of Community Control (house arrest) followed by 13 years of drug offender probation. The individual’s fine was $16,271 plus $100 for cost of prosecution with a prohibition of any alcohol or illegal drugs.

Lieutenants Ferguson, Barrow, Officers Stanley and Troiano responded to a structure fire at a licensed captive wildlife facility. The facility was conducting routine burning when flames quickly got out of control. The fire spread to a hay bale inside the rhinoceros night house and quickly engulfed the structure. Employees were able to isolate and contain the rhinoceros in a safe area of the enclosure, away from the fire. Alachua County Fire Rescue arrived on scene and put the fire out before any other damage occurred.

DUVAL COUNTY

Officer Christmas was on routine patrol when he contacted two subjects trespassing by pulling their jon boat from a creek off Alta Drive on CSX Railroad property. A resource inspection of their catch revealed two undersized red drum and one undersized black drum. Neither of the subjects had a fishing license. The fish were seized and returned to the resource alive and the subjects were issued citations for the illegal fish, trespassing and no fishing license.

Environmental Investigator Terrones responded to a large amount of litter that was illegally discarded behind a Jacksonville shopping center. The debris included household garbage, a sleeper sofa, a wall unit, cinder blocks and assorted plastic and paper items. Mail found in the litter led to a nearby residence where an investigation revealed that a realtor had hired a cleaning company to empty the contents of the home. That company subcontracted the work to a third party who, after being interviewed, took full responsibility for the discarded items and was charged accordingly.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Eller received a call that a local retail fish house was selling undersized fish and conducted a retail inspection which reveled four undersized black drum. Further inspection showed that the fish house was also failing to keep adequate records of their trip tickets, which is a violation. The fish house owners were informed about these violations and cited accordingly.

While on night vessel patrol in the Indian River near Sebastian Inlet, Officers Eller and Hallsten noticed a vessel without its white navigational light on. Officer Hallsten initiated a stop and, after a safety inspection was performed, the occupants of the vessel expressed that they had been fishing that night. A fisheries inspection revealed four snook, one of which was undersized. The individual who caught the fish was identified and cited accordingly.

While conducting resource inspections at the Stick Marsh Boat Ramp of the Upper St. Johns WMA, Officer Marroquin saw a vessel returning from a day of fishing. While introducing himself to the occupants, he saw a bag containing clothing move and flop in like a fish. Both occupants stated that no fish were on board. Five largemouth bass were hidden inside a trash bag under clothing and other items. The Stick Marsh/Farm 13 area is a catch and release only area for bass. Citations were issued for the violations.

While on late-night patrol, Lieutenant Lightsey saw two hunting dogs working down a dark roadway. He waited in concealment until the hunters approached on the right of way. He overheard them saying that the dogs must have bayed a hog. Once the men got closer to the area, Lieutenant Lightsey revealed himself and stopped the men. Three men and five hunting dogs were involved in the hog hunt and admitted to having been on private and public land and roadways looking for wild hogs. Citations were issued for hunting from the right of way and the use of hunting dogs with no collar or owner information.

Officers Maslo, Kearney, Rutherford, Cybula, Loeffler and Lieutenant Lightsey participated in a Targeted Enforcement at Sebastian Inlet targeting vessel navigation lights. During the night-time detail, numerous vessels were inspected resulting in 27 warnings, two boating citations, resource citations for snook and flounder, and illegal entry/trespass citations.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officer Campbell saw several suspects catching oversized and bag limits of black and red drum at Guana Dam. He noted who was catching what and where they were storing their fish. As soon as one of the suspects would land a fish, he would run it up to the trunk of his vehicle and place it into a cooler. Another suspect was seen landing an undersized red drum and hiding the fish in the trash can nearby. After Officer Campbell saw several violations, he made contact with the suspects. Three of the nine suspects were found with oversized black drum, two were found with undersized redfish and one had eight oversized black drum, which put him over the daily bag limit and slot-size limit. The remaining suspects all received warnings for trespass in a state park after hours, and no shore-line license. Four misdemeanor charges were issued for size and bag limits and 17 warnings altogether were written by Officer Campbell. The fish were measured, photographed and seized as evidence.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officer Ward conducted a boating safety and marine fisheries inspection on a vessel returning to the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) Highbridge Boat Ramp just before dark. There were two people on board who were in possession of three redfish, one over the bag limit. The operator claimed two of the redfish and was cited accordingly.

Officer McKee was on water patrol on the St. John’s River near Lake Dexter when he saw a vessel occupied by a single subject violating the manatee speed zone on the west side of the lake. Officer McKee conducted a vessel stop to address the violation and learned the subject had been crappie fishing. A fisheries inspection revealed the subject was in possession of 40 black crappie, 15 over the limit. The subject was issued a citation for the bag limit violation and a warning for the manatee speed zone violation. The 15 over the limit crappie were returned to the water alive.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LAKE COUNTY

Lieutenant Chase traveled to Palm Beach County to participate as an instructor for the FWC’s “Becoming an Outdoors Woman” program. The event had more than 125 women in attendance and promoted both safety on the land and in the water.

Lieutenant Chase attended the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Bass Tournament. FWC’s partnership with Lake County Sheriff’s Office was prevalent as they jointly educated both children and adults on the importance of resource management and public safety.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officers North and Malicoat taught the laws portion of a Hunter Safety class to approximately 20 students at the Volusia County Fairgrounds.

Officer Edson represented FWC at the second Annual Deland High School Ag Expo. He presented a static display and interacted with approximately 200 high school students during the day, answering questions and explaining the duties and responsibilities of FWC officers.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Norris was on land patrol when he noticed the vehicle in front of him drifting in and out of its lane. After observing numerous traffic violations, a traffic stop was conducted on the vehicle. While talking to the driver, the officer noticed signs of impairment and asked the driver to perform field sobriety tasks. The driver was subsequently arrested for DUI and booked into the Charlotte County Jail.

HERNANDO COUNTY

Officers Sehl and Peterson saw two subjects fishing from a canoe on the Weeki Wachee River. One subject stated that he had caught several mangrove snapper. The fish were measured and did not meet the minimum total length requirement of 10 inches. The individual received the appropriate citation for possession of undersized gray snapper. Both subjects also received warnings for fishing without a license.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Officer Alvis was on land patrol conducting night-time fisheries inspections along the Gandy Bridge. A light in the water was visible moving along rock piles just off shore. Continued observation of the light revealed it to be a subject snorkeling and spear fishing without a dive flag. When the subject reached the shore, a fisheries inspection revealed the subject was in possession of several undersized sheepshead and mangrove snapper. The subject was cited for the undersized fish and received multiple warnings.

Investigator McDaniel and Lieutenant DeLacure conducted an interview of a subject and determined that he was in violation of numerous captive wildlife rules. As a result, 27 box turtles, 1 alligator snapping turtle, and a pair of albinistic western diamondback rattlesnakes were seized and placed at a licensed facility for safekeeping. Two and one-half pounds of cannabis and a firearm were also seized and turned over to the Tampa Police Department who will follow up with that portion of the case.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Hinds was on land patrol in the Terra Ceia area and saw a vehicle parked at the bridge on Bishop Harbor Road. There were no subjects in the area at the time, so he concealed his vehicle and waited for the subject to return. Some time later, a jon boat returned to the bridge. A resource inspection revealed four undersized snook, the largest being 15 inches. All of the fish were caught with a cast net. The subject was cited for the major violation of possession of more than three snook over the daily bag limit, taking snook by illegal method, and possession of snook during the closed season. Officer Hinds also wrote warnings for possession of undersized snook and several boating safety violations. The subject was previously arrested less than one year ago for the same violations.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Lieutenant Laskowski was on land patrol when he saw a vehicle parked in the median near a bridge. A resource inspection revealed one individual was in possession of six mangrove snapper, five of which were undersized, and one undersized sheepshead. The individual was cited for possession of undersized mangrove snapper and issued warnings for possession of over the bag limit of mangrove snapper and possession of an undersized sheepshead.

RESCUES
MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Davidson was on land patrol in the area of the Palma Sola Causeway when he was flagged down by a man who clearly needed help. The man explained that his wife and daughter had gone for a walk four hours earlier in Robison Preserve and had not yet returned. Furthermore, the man was unable to reach either one of the women on their cell phones, and he was very concerned about their safety. Officer Davidson immediately started to gather local law enforcement assets to help look for the two women, and at the same time started to search the immediate area. The two women were eventually located in a Walmart parking lot several miles away from the area where they began their walk. Officer Davidson escorted the husband and father of the two missing women to the Walmart where he was reunited with his wife and daughter. The women were well and suffered no injuries.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officers Cason, Gaudion, Alvis and Lieutenant Holcomb were dispatched to a search and rescue for four subjects on PWCs in the area of North Skyway Rest Area. The subjects had become stranded on a sandbar and one PWC was experiencing mechanical issues. As night fell, the subjects began to drift apart due to the rising tide and strengthening wind and current. All four individuals were soaking wet and cold as temperatures continued to drop. Officers were able to reach one of the subjects by cell phone and pinpoint his location. All subjects were quickly located and transported to safety. The Eckerd College Search and Rescue team assisted in transporting two of the subjects.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE

Officer Stanley and Lieutenant Spoede assisted FWC biologists with the capture of an injured juvenile manatee near Fort Myers Beach. The manatee was approximately three feet long and suffering from severe cold stress. Officer Stanley was able to maneuver his patrol vessel close enough to allow the biologists to net the manatee without harming it. The manatee was then carried safely to a waiting transport vehicle and taken to a rehabilitation facility for treatment and recovery.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
PASCO COUNTY

Numerous officers from Pasco and Hernando Counties participated in a joint detail targeting the illegal hunting of deer. Their efforts utilized FWC Aviation to enhance protection of the native deer population and deter illegal night hunting.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Salem taught a hunter education class at the Boy Scout Camp and educated them on hunting laws. Officer Salem also spoke about Florida’s WMAs and the hunting opportunities they offer. Everyone was given an opportunity to ask questions before they started the firearm portion of the course. Approximately 30 people attended the class.

HIGHLANDS COUNTY

Officer Cloud worked with Senior Wildlife Biologist Angeline Scotten and assisted with weighing coyotes that had been harvested. Tissue samples were taken for research by the University of Florida, assisted by FWC. The state record coyote was weighed in at this event. This was a great opportunity for stakeholders, law enforcement and biologists to work together.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Bell attended the 2017 Annual Burrowing Owl Festival in Cape Coral. The festival is put on by Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife. He worked alongside several attendees such as the Florida State Parks, Charlotte Preserve, Audubon, Lee County Aquatic Preserve, Shell Factory, Lee County Sheriff’s Office Cell Dogs program and many more. Officer Bell was able to speak to and educate approximately 500 people on Florida’s natural resources.

Officer Furbay conducted a hunter education class at the Fort Myers Bass Pro Shops with approximately 30 attendees. Officer Furbay educated them on hunting laws, and also talked about Florida’s WMAs and the hunting opportunities they offer. Everyone was given a chance to ask questions before they started the firearm portion of the course.

POLK COUNTY

Officers Smith, Franks, Scinta, Jones, Pulaski, Infante, Wester, Franks, K-9 Officer Cloud and Lieutenant Fugate assisted as lane judges for the 10th Annual National Archery in the Schools Program State Tournament that was held in Bartow. A total of 470 schools participated in this statewide program, helping our youth learn valuable lessons from mental concentration to self-improvement.

SOUTH A REGION
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officers Defeo, Seldomridge and Brock responded to the Mizell/Johnson State Park late at night for a vehicle accident. During the accident investigation, one individual was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). The park sustained damage to various items that the vehicle hit.

While patrolling in Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) 2, Officers Tarr, Ryan and Sadelik saw a vehicle trespass into STA 2. Several hours later, they stopped the vehicle as it was leaving the area. During the stop, the officers saw three subjects in the vehicle that were in possession of 37 black bass. The daily limit for black bass is five per person, and only one of those five can be 16 inches in total length or greater. A total of 22 black bass were seized as evidence and misdemeanor citations were issued to two of the subjects that were over the daily bag limit of 5, and over the daily size limit of 1 bass 16 inches or greater.

While patrolling the Everglades WMA Area 2A boat ramp on Loxahatchee Road, K-9 Officer Wright advised that he just saw four vehicles racing at the west end of Loxahatchee Road. Officer Tarr arrived on the scene and saw four vehicles lined up side by side racing at a high rate of speed. Two of the four vehicles were traveling east in the westbound lanes. The drivers were stopped and were issued criminal citations for racing and will have to appear in court.

MARTIN COUNTY

While conducting fisheries inspections in Martin County, Officer Morrow approached a group of subjects fishing and asked if they had any fish in the cooler, to which they replied that they did not. After inspecting the cooler, an 8-inch mutton snapper was located underneath the ice in the cooler. When questioned about why they had lied about the snapper, the subjects advised they had caught the fish earlier in the day and forgotten it was there. The subjects, who were from out of state, did not have any prior history with fisheries violations. Written warnings were issued to the two responsible parties and the illegal fish was returned to the water alive.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officers Davis and Crosby were conducting resource inspections in the area of the Kissimmee River due to complaints of people catching more than the legal limit of black crappie. Upon performing an inspection of a subject who was fishing under the Highway 78 Bridge, he was found to have in his possession 52 black crappie, two more than the allowed possession limit of 50. He was issued a notice to appear for possession of more than the allowable two-day bag limit of black crappie.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

While conducting land patrol in the JW Corbett WMA, Officers Morrow, Willems and Brevik saw three vehicles returning from off-trail along the M-O Canal. Approaching the first vehicle, Officer Morrow made contact with the 20-year-old driver and saw a marijuana cigarette which the subject claimed belonged to “a friend.” Officers Morrow and Brevik then conducted a search of the vehicle’s interior and located five glass smoking pipes with marijuana residue, two small plastic bags containing marijuana, and two bottles of whiskey. Both the driver and passenger were charged with possession of cannabis under 20 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia. In addition, the 20-year-old driver was charged with possession of alcohol by a person under the age of 21. The contraband was seized and placed into evidence with the assistance of Officer Carroll. All subjects were issued warnings for the off-trail violations.

Officer Toby saw an individual fishing on Lake Okeechobee at the Pahokee Marina and conducted a fisheries inspection. The individual was in possession of four undersized black crappie. The individual was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of the four undersized black crappie.

Officer Toby saw an individual fishing on Lake Okeechobee at the Pahokee Marina and conducted a fisheries inspection. The individual was in possession of three undersized black crappie that were hidden in a plastic bag. When lawfully stopped, the individual made efforts to hide these fish from inspection, despite several warnings. The individual was issued a misdemeanor citation for the possession of three undersized black crappie and a misdemeanor citation for obstructing an FWC officer.

Officer Toby saw an individual fishing near Lake Okeechobee at the Canal Point Structure and conducted a fisheries inspection. The individual was in possession of four undersized black crappie. Additionally, the individual did not have a valid freshwater fishing license. The individual was issued a misdemeanor citation for the possession of the four undersized black crappie and a warning for the expired freshwater fishing license.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Boulware conducted patrol at the Okeechobee Battlefield State Park for the Seminole War Re-Enactment. Attendance was approximately 3,500 people during the three-day event.

Officer Nasworth attended the B.A.S.S. Masters anglers meeting at the K. O. A. Campground in Okeechobee. There were approximately 110 professional anglers present during the meeting and he answered boating safety-related questions from the attendees.

SOUTH B REGION
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Arbogast, Lugg, and Plussa responded to a boating accident that involved multiple personal watercraft (PWC) from a local tour group out of Marco Island. The accident occurred in a remote portion of the Ten Thousand Islands Wildlife Refuge. Officers quickly made their way to the accident scene along with the Collier County Sheriff’s Marine and Emergency Medical Service’s Marine Units. The two PWC collisions involved all four occupants being ejected into the water. One occupant suffered a back injury, but was in stable condition and flown by medical helicopter to a Fort Myers hospital. Officer Rogers, from Lee County, responded to the hospital locally to obtain a statement from the injured party. Officer Arbogast conducted the boating accident investigation and issued a citation to the operator of the striking PWC for a navigation rule violation of failing to maintain a proper lookout, and three warnings for navigation rule violations relating to safe speed, taking action to avoid a collision and careless operation of a vessel. Officer Arbogast issued the livery operator and tour guide a citation for not possessing the required boating safety education credentials mandated for PWC rental operators. The rest of the parties returned to shore without further incident.

Officers Miller and Richards on the Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Interceptor were on patrol in federal waters off of Monroe County when they initiated a marine fisheries inspection on a vessel pulling stone crab traps. Officer Richards noted several crates of live stone crabs, stone crab claws and approximately 60 stone crab traps on board. Officer Richards inspected 15 trap tags that were not assigned to the operator or the vessel. Also, the buoys that were attached to these traps did belong to the operator. The operator indicated that the buoys were his and that the tags were his son’s. The operator was cited for failure to possess the proper saltwater products license for the traps that were in his possession and for improperly marking the buoys attached to the traps.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Two FWC officers were patrolling around Moody Canal and saw two subjects fishing alongside the north side of the canal. As the officers approached the subjects, one of the subjects threw several fish in the water. When asked why he had thrown the fish, the subject replied that he knew the fish were undersized. A fisheries inspection was performed and 3 undersized gray snapper and 2 undersized black drum were discovered. The subjects were charged for the undersized fish and the subject who threw the fish in the water was also charged with interfering with an FWC officer.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Swensson noticed a boat returning from the ocean with three individuals on board as they entered South Sound Creek in Key Largo. Two of the individuals were sitting on a cooler in the front of the boat. Officer Swensson noticed a billfish tail and bill sticking out of the cooler. A resource inspection revealed that the subjects were in possession of one undersized sailfish and one undersized amberjack. One of the subjects on board admitted to catching both fish. The subject was cited accordingly.

Officers Mobley and Lopez were on water patrol in the area of Cow Key Channel working a detail targeting live-aboard inspections in the lower Keys and conducted a vessel stop on a dinghy that had an improper display of registration numbers. During the inspection, they saw signs of impairment from the operator. The operator consented to complete field sobriety tasks where he exhibited sufficient behavior to indicate impairment and was subsequently arrested. Officer Mobley met Officer Baumgartner at Cow Key Marina to transport the subject to the Stock Island Jail, where he refused to provide a breath alcohol sample.

Officer Baumgartner conducted a boating safety inspection on a sailboat in Key West Harbor. Upon approach of the vessel, she detected a strong odor of cannabis. While boarding the vessel to conduct a marine sanitation device inspection, she noticed a glass pipe on the floor. The individual on board had bloodshot eyes and admitted to having “packed a bowl” prior to the boarding. The individual also admitted to having marijuana in his possession as well as having other drug paraphernalia on board. FWC Dispatch reported active, out-of-state warrants for probation violation and burglary, with a record of resisting arrest and the individual was arrested accordingly and cited with two uniform boating citations. While on land patrol, Officer Baumgartner noticed an individual filleting fish along the shoreline. The individual discretely tried to throw a fish upon her approach. However, the fish landed in the middle of road. Officer Baumgartner was able to identify the partially filleted fish as an undersized mangrove snapper. With the assistance of Officer Garcia, the Spanish-speaking individual was Mirandized and admitted to filleting and throwing the fish. The individual also admitted to possession of three undersized black drum. The individual was cited for undersized resource, failure to land in whole condition and interference with an FWC Officer.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Carroll and Adams were dispatched to a large distressed Loggerhead Sea turtle (named Jolly) that was wrapped up in lobster trap lines and some netting approximately 16 miles offshore of Key West. Officers arrived and attempted to free the 300+lb turtle from the multiple trap lines when they noticed that one of its fins had been injured by the trap ropes. After working to secure and load the turtle, which took approximately two hours, they then contacted personnel from the Marathon Turtle Hospital who sent some representatives to the area. The Turtle Hospital employees were picked up and transported by USCG out to the location. The Turtle was later brought back to shore to the Turtle Hospital and it has since had surgery and will be prepared to be released in the next few months.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Garcia recovered a Marmoset Monkey and turned it over to Captive Wildlife Investigator Smith for further investigation. Investigator Smith was able to locate the owner of the monkey, return the monkey to the owner, and issued the owner a misdemeanor citation for the escape. Two warnings were issued for other violations related to this incident.

RESCUES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Plussa was travelling on I-75 when he saw a vehicle crashed into a ditch and a male subject laying outside of the vehicle. He exited his patrol truck and found the subject with a severe neck injury due to the accident. Officer Plussa stabilized the subject’s neck and back until Emergency Medical Services arrived to transport the subject to the nearest hospital. The case was turned over to Florida Highway Patrol.

Officers. Wilkins and Sutter responded to a call received from a Good Samaritan concerning two missing jet skiers that were from out of state. With very little information to go off of, the two officers got on a boat to begin the search. Officer Maldonado, Investigator Daniels and the US Coast Guard all assisted with the search. A short time later, Officers Sutter and Wilkins located the two missing jet skiers using FLIR on the south end of the Whale Harbor Channel on the ocean side. A few minutes later, Officer Maldonado and Inv. Daniels arrived on scene to assist. The two men had been stuck on the sand bar for several hours with no way of communicating to anyone as to their location. Officer Wilkins walked out to the two men to help assist them back to the FWC vessel. The two men were reunited with their friends and family unharmed.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Johnson participated in an enforcement effort with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office and Customs and Border Patrol focusing on commercial stone crab, kingfish, as well as detecting stolen vessels, refuel vessels and human smuggling. Several vessels were encountered and pertinent information was obtained for Customs and Border Patrol.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

FWC Officers concluded the first half of operation “License to Sanitize” which focused on retail/wholesale inspections that included facility sanitation, product wholesomeness, records keeping and licensing. A total of 25 inspections were conducted resulting in warnings and citations. Most locations were in compliance with regulations.

FWC Officers concluded “Manatees Matter” detail with USFW, which resulted in numerous federal manatee citations and warnings. The detail focused on the areas of 79th street and ICW towards the Malloy Channel.

FWC Officers put together Operation “Boat Show Showdown” focusing on a habitat protection area near the 2017 Boat Show in Miami-Dade County. Officers, along with FWC biologists, provided high visibility enforcement, educating boaters and keeping them from entering the No Entry Zone.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
COLLIER COUNTY

Lieutenant Bulger attended the Collier County Sheriff's Office’s Kids Love Fishing event. This yearly event invites families from Collier County to spend the day learning about fishing and conservation.

Officer Barringer attended the annual Rookery Bay shoreline bird meeting, which is an opportunity for partners such as FWC biologists, FWC law enforcement, National Audubon Society, Rookery Bay staff, and Team OCEAN to meet and share information about shorebird and seabird nesting data in Collier County. The meeting was set up to learn more about statewide bird data and provide an opportunity to discuss important management issues that arose during the 2016 - 2017 nesting season. The meeting was a huge success with more than 10 individuals from around the State.

Officer Araujo spent an afternoon engaging with youth hunters during a youth spring turkey hunt at Pepper Ranch. Pepper Ranch is owned by the county and provides unique opportunities for Collier County youths to spend a weekend out in the woods and go on guided hunts. Youth hunts at Pepper Ranch include turkey, hog, and deer hunts. One young man harvested his first gobbler and was extremely excited. Officer Araujo spoke with the kids about what it’s like to be an FWC officer and answered questions about conservation.

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  FWC Enforcement Report Feb 17-23. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 02-28-2017, 02:56 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Lieutenant Hollinhead stopped a vehicle on Eglin Wildlife Management Area (WMA) after he observed a subject standing on the back of a truck discarding debris in a wooded area. An inspection of the debris revealed it was large rolls of old carpet and padding that had been removed from a residence. The subject was arrested for littering (over 15 pounds).

Officer Corbin was on land patrol conducting a resource/fisheries inspection on a commercial vessel with four individuals on board in Fort Walton Beach. Tallahassee Regional Communication Center confirmed one of the four individuals had two active warrants out of Okaloosa County. One of the warrants for failure to appear for an FWC notice to appear citation for undersized red drum. The second warrant was for violation of probation (drug paraphernalia). The individual was arrested and transported to the Okaloosa County Jail.

Officer Corbin was on land patrol following up on an at-risk derelict vessel investigation. The vessel owner was previously cited for failure to transfer vessel title. The owner was located and Dispatch confirmed the vessel owner had an active warrant for failure to appear on the FWC notice to appear citation. The individual was arrested and transported to the Okaloosa County Jail.

Officers Pifer and Corbin were dispatched to a boating accident that occurred the day before. The investigation revealed the accident involved a single vessel and a single occupant/operator in Chula Vista Bayou. The vessel’s starboard bow and stern struck a piling on a dock. The operator sustained a 1-inch-long laceration on the head. The officers located the piling/dock that the vessel struck and notified the dock’s owner of the property damage. Officer Pifer cited the operator for failure to maintain proper lookout and excessive speed.

Lieutenant Hollinhead and Officer Tison checked four subjects hog hunting with dogs late at night on the Choctawhatchee WMA. Hunting one-half hour after sunset is prohibited on the WMA. The subjects were issued warnings for the violation and provided the proper information for dates and hours to hunt on the WMA.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

While patrolling the Yellow River WMA, Officers Mullins and Roberson observed a vehicle parked on a wood line without a tag. They positioned themselves so that they would see the vehicle pull back onto the trail and conducted a traffic stop for no tag and transitioned into a resource inspection once they determined the subject had been hunting. It was discovered that the subject was hunting with a center-fire rifle during the archery/muzzle-loader season. They subject was issued a misdemeanor notice to appear for hunting with a center-fire rifle during archery/muzzle-loader season only and a warning for no tag.

While on patrol in the north end of Eglin WMA, Officer Ramos conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle that appeared to be road hunting. A strong odor of cannabis came from the driver’s window while Officer Ramos was speaking with the driver. After further questioning, the driver admitted to having a “one hitter” in his pocket and promised that was all he had. With the driver out of the vehicle, Officer Ramos continued to smell the odor of cannabis and eventually the driver admitted to having more than just the “one hitter” in his pocket. Officer Ramos recovered nearly nine grams of cannabis, four various smoking devices with cannabis residue and miscellaneous paraphernalia from the vehicle. The man was cited accordingly and given a notice to appear in court.

WALTON COUNTY

While on land patrol, Officer Bartlett observed a vessel being loaded onto a trailer at one of the boat ramps that accesses Basin Bayou. During a resource inspection, the owner of the vessel admitted that he was in possession of three red drum. Officer Bartlett confirmed that two of the three red drum were undersized. The individual was issued a notice to appear citation for the violations.

Walton County Sheriff Michael A. Adkinson, Jr., presented Investigator James Armstrong with a letter of commendation for his assistance with multiple investigations, including a group of residential burglaries in rural areas with stolen property valued at more than $40,000. With Investigator Armstrong’s assistance in surveillance and security and his commitment to the case, the investigation resulted in the arrest of three individuals including 17 felony charges and 4 misdemeanor charges and the recovery of $30,000 worth of stolen property including antiques, recreational items, narcotics and firearms.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

While participating in a multi‑officer night-hunting detail, Officer Kinney heard a shot and quickly moved to the area. He saw a truck stopped in the middle of the road. There was no other traffic and with fields in the immediate area, he conducted a traffic stop. The driver was found to have a spotlight in his hand that was still hot to the touch and a loaded rifle and shotgun. After a short interview, the subject admitted to shining for deer and shooting at a doe and a buck during the evening. The subject was cited for the violations and the evidence was seized.

RESCUES

Lieutenant Walsingham and Officers Kinney and Yates assisted Washington County Sheriff’s Office in locating two lost kayakers on Holmes Creek. Approximately an hour after receiving the call, the subjects were located and taken back to the boat ramp without injury.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
WALTON COUNTY

Lieutenant Clark coordinated with Topsail Hill Preserve State Park with an outreach event at the park. Alex Kalfin, FWC Gopher Tortoise Coordinator, presented a PowerPoint presentation and a static display for the staff, volunteers, campers and members of the surrounding communities. The main focus of the outreach event was how to identify a gopher tortoise and recognize/protect its burrow and habitat. Approximately 30 people attended.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
CITRUS AND LEVY COUNTIES

Officers Canfield and Boyer responded aboard the offshore patrol vessel Fincat to assist when a small plane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico, south of Cedar Key. Soon after arriving on the scene, the officers located a piece of debris floating in the water. As the search continued, the Fincat crew and other law enforcement officers on the scene located more items that appeared to be from the plane. The search was a multi-agency effort involving the United States Coast Guard (USCG), FWC and Citrus and Levy County Sheriff’s deputies.

Officers Canfield and Peterson (SW Region) recently conducted federal fisheries patrol on the offshore patrol vessel Fincat in federal waters off Citrus County. The officers stopped several boats and documented two violations. During one stop, approximately 16 miles offshore, Officer Peterson located three mangrove snapper under the federal size limit and one under the state size limit. The operator was issued a warning for the violations. During another vessel stop approximately 20 miles offshore, Officer Peterson located seven mangrove snapper under the federal size limit. Officer Peterson issued the captain of the vessel a federal citation for the violation and the case will be forwarded to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

DUVAL COUNTY

While conducting a boating safety and fisheries patrol in federal waters off Jacksonville, Officer Geib inspected a vessel and found one undersized black sea bass and 10 undersized vermilion snapper on board. Citations and written warnings were issued for the violations.

RESCUES
ALACHUA COUNTY

Lieutenant Ferguson, Officers Stanley and Troiano responded to a capsized vessel on Newnan Lake. Lieutenant Ferguson launched Officer Stanley and Troiano from the road side since the occupants had been in the water for more than 25 minutes. Within minutes, the two officers were able to locate the two men and get them on board their patrol boat. Rescue was notified and met the officers and two extremely cold men at the boat ramp. EMS observed the individuals for a short time and neither wanted to be transported. The vessel was recovered and towed to shore. Several warnings were issued and one citation for no life jackets on board. The registered owner was assisted with loading his vessel and was released.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers are continuing to work area lakes for speck and bass fishing and boating safety violations. With water temperatures still low, officers have been talking with individuals about the importance of safety gear and how quickly hypothermia can set in.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
CLAY COUNTY

Officer Barber attended a carnival at Doctor’s Inlet Elementary School where more than fifty children and adults were in attendance. Officer Barber instructed the attendees on what his duties are as an FWC law enforcement officer and answered questions about applicable laws and regulations.

Lieutenant Glover attended a Career Day at KinderCare preschool in Fleming Island. He described his duties as an FWC law enforcement officer and answered several questions about boating safety, fishing regulations and wildlife. There were 30 children in attendance.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

Investigator Corfield received an internet crimes complaint that a subject on Facebook might be selling snook. A work-up completed by FWC analysts revealed the subject was a violent felony offender wanted for violation of probation and has an extensive criminal history. The subject’s probation officer was contacted and determined he absconded from his probation approximately one year ago. Although the subject’s Facebook page indicated he lived in Kingston, Jamaica, recent videos showed him fishing from a green jon boat in the Indian River Lagoon in the Sebastian and Wabasso areas. While on water patrol south of the Wabasso Causeway, Indian River County Sheriff Deputy Mathisen observed the subject fishing, but lost sight of him. FWC Investigator Corfield responded by land and guided Deputy Mathisen to the suspect vessel who then stopped the vessel as it headed back toward the Wabasso Boat Ramp. The subject on board was the individual in question and he provided Deputy Mathisen with a false name. Back at the boat ramp, the warrant was confirmed and the subject was transported to the Indian River County Jail and booked for violation of probation.

LAKE COUNTY

Officer Scrambling conducted freshwater resource inspections off of Lake Griffin. In addition to multiple warnings being issued, two subjects were found to be in possession of undersized black crappie. One subject had 12 undersized fish and the other subject had three undersized fish. Lake Griffin is a fish management area and the legal size limit is 10 inches or greater. The men were cited accordingly.

PUTNAM COUNTY

Officers Jones, Barber and Lieutenant Dickson responded to a foot pursuit involving Palatka Police Department and a homicide suspect. The subject ran into a dwelling in a housing project and FWC units were used to manage the security of the scene.

While on foot patrol at the Palatka City Docks with Officer Barber and Lieutenant Dickson, Officer Jones noticed an occupied vehicle parked across multiple spaces in the public parking area. As Officer Jones walked past the vehicle, he observed that the front passenger was in the process of rolling a marijuana cigarette. Upon seeing Officer Jones, the subject tried to conceal the marijuana without success. One juvenile female was charged with possession of cannabis under 20 grams and was released to her parents.

Officers Barber and Jones were on patrol near state park property when they encountered a large party with excessive drinking and reported drug use. While on the scene, they observed a vehicle with an operator that was obviously impaired and advised the driver and the other occupants that he was not to drive away from the scene due to his condition. A short time later, while dealing with a different offense, the impaired driver was seen operating the same vehicle. Officer Barber stopped the vehicle and after completing field sobriety tasks, the driver was arrested for DUI of alcohol. His breath test results were more than twice the legal limit.

Lieutenant Dickson was in route to assist Officers Barber and Jones with a large group of people when he made contact with a vehicle that was blocking the only ingress/egress to the property. He could smell a strong odor of alcohol emitting from the vehicle. The driver was 19 years of age and was in possession of and had consumed alcoholic beverages. It was also determined that the 21-year-old passenger provided him with the alcohol. The driver of the vehicle was charged with possession of alcohol under 21 years of age and the passenger was charged with giving alcoholic beverages to a person under 21 years of age.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officer Malicoat and K-9 Officer North were checking a remote shoreline area in New Smyrna Beach when they spotted several adults fishing from the shoreline. After observing the group and checking their catch, an adult male was subsequently issued a notice to appear for harvesting oysters within a closed area. He was also issued warnings for harvesting oysters below the minimum size limit and not being in possession of a recreational shoreline fishing license.

Officer West was patrolling a back-road bridge in the New Smyrna Beach area when he checked four adult fishermen returning to shore. One of the men was found to be in possession of more than his legal bag limit of red drum and was issued a notice to appear.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
SUMTER COUNTY

Lieutenant Wilke and Public Information Officer (PIO) Weber spoke with more than 200 Villages Charter School students. The students were studying different species of animals which the officers spoke about. The officers received handmade thank you cards from all of the students that attended.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

PIO Weber and Officer Sapp attended the grand opening of the Bass Pro Shops Outpost in Daytona Beach and spoke to members of the public about the FWC, conservation and regulations. FWC Executive Director Nick Wiley, Assistant Director Eric Sutton and Northeast Regional Director Shannon Wright also attended the event. Bass Pro Shops owner Johnny Morris, as well as legendary bass fishermen Bill Dance and Roland Martin, spoke with FWC staff and officers.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Birchfield responded to a call about a commercial fishing vessel keeping illegal fish in Lemon Bay. He located the vessel returning to a local boat ramp and, after conducting a resource and safety inspection, found multiple violations. A criminal citation was issued for a saltwater products license violation and warnings were issued for safety violations.

LEE COUNTY

Officers Bradshaw and Salem were patrolling the waters of Charlotte Harbor, north of Matlacha Pass, when they observed a commercial fishing vessel returning to Pine Island. During a resource inspection, officers found a legal number of harvested pompano but when they began inspecting the fisherman’s nets, they discovered that they had been intentionally altered to increase their mesh size, converting otherwise legal seine nets into illegal gill nets. This particular fisherman was convicted of the same violation just over one year ago. The nets were seized as evidence and the fisherman was charged accordingly.

Officers McColgin and Hardgrove were on patrol on Pine Island when they conducted a fisheries inspection on a vessel returning to shore. When they asked the two fishermen if they caught any fish, they said “yes” and showed the officers a cooler of fish. The officers found the men to be in possession of nine red grouper (five of which were undersized) and an out-of-season triggerfish. When asked if they knew the regulations for the fish, the men said they did not. On board the vessel was a Florida Sportsman law stick which showed the regulations for the fish. One of the men admitted to catching the triggerfish, and he was issued a misdemeanor for possession during the closed season. Both men were cited for possession of over the bag limit and undersized red grouper.

Officer Hardgrove was on patrol in the area of the D&D Boat Ramp and encountered a subject as he was pulling his vessel from the water and placing it back on the trailer. After being asked, the subject stated he had two spotted sea trout and a redfish in the cooler. Upon inspection, two redfish were found in the cooler. The larger of the two redfish measured at 27 ½ inches. The subject was issued a notice to appear for possession of oversized redfish and possession over the bag limit.

While patrolling approximately one-half mile south of Burnt Store Marina, Officer Hardgrove encountered a commercial fisherman just beginning to pull in his seine nets. As the subject pulled in his nets, Officer Hardgrove confirmed that four nets had been deployed, and only one net was marked properly with his SPL number on one end. The subject was issued a notice to appear for a commercial vessel not commercially registered, nets not properly marked, kicker vessel not deployed, and several written warnings for safety violations.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Hinds was dispatched to the Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival in regards to a subject selling green turtle parts and shells. The subject was selling two shells and one whole turtle for $3,500. The subject advised that he had gotten the turtle and the shells in the Bahamas thirty years ago. During the interview, he advised that he knew selling the turtle and its parts was illegal, but he needed cash. Officer Hinds cited him for offering marine turtle parts for sale. The turtle and the shells were seized as evidence.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Lieutenant Wells, Investigator Freemon and Officer Smith have been working with NOAA over the last several months on two separate federal cases that the officers made while on offshore patrol. NOAA issued a $9,000 Notice of Violation (NOVA) to the owner and operator of a commercial reef fish vessel (longline vessel), for possessing more hooks than authorized in a gear limited area, and for failing to maintain finfish intact through landing ashore. On the second case, NOAA issued a $5,000 NOVA to the owner and operator of a commercial reef fish vessel for 133 pieces of shark being used as bait to catch reef fish.

While on foot patrol at the Gandy Bridge, Officer Bibeau found two individuals to be in possession of undersized mangrove snapper and sheepshead. At the conclusion of a full fisheries inspection, including their vehicle, Officer Bibeau located 13 mangrove snapper, 4 of which were undersized, and 11 undersized sheepshead. Both subjects were issued a misdemeanor citation and warnings for the fisheries violations.

While on water patrol in southern Pinellas County, Officer Bibler and Lieutenant Van Trees were conducting fisheries and boating safety inspections when they stopped a kayak fisherman. The subject was found to have a warrant for his arrest for failing to appear in court for a 2014 fisheries violation in Pasco County. The subject was arrested and booked into jail to face the charges.

Lieutenant VanTrees and Officer Bibler were on water patrol conducting fisheries and boating safety inspections near the Littrell Bridge. They later found a vessel returning from a day of fishing with two undersized red drum. The appropriate persons were cited for the criminal violations along with fishing license violations.

Officers Pulaski and Ferguson were patrolling Honeymoon Island State Park, assisting the park rangers with closing. While escorting two guests out of the park, a park ranger called for their assistance. The ranger reported an unresponsive couple who were sleeping on the beach. Officers Pulaski and Ferguson arrived on scene and made contact with the couple. After waking the individuals, the officers noticed indicators of impairment and escorted them to their vehicle. While the female was searching through her purse, attempting to locate her identification, Officer Pulaski observed an unlabeled pill bottle containing pills. Officer Pulaski inquired about the pills and the female became very possessive of the bottle, stating they were her pills and she had a prescription for them. The pills were later identified by Investigator DallaRosa as oxycodone. A subsequent search of her purse revealed other drugs without a prescription, as well as marijuana and a pipe. The male had an active warrant for violation of probation. The subjects were arrested and booked into the Pinellas County Jail for the violations. They also received warnings for remaining in the park after hours.

POLK COUNTY

Officer Bontrager responded to a boating accident on Lake Shipp in Winter Haven. Two boats collided in the predawn hours as a local bass fishing tournament was beginning. There were a total of five people on board both boats and luckily no one was injured. The boat that was hit sustained severe damage to the motor resulting in a total loss of the motor, along with major structural damage to the boat itself. The driver of the boat that caused the collision was cited for not maintaining a proper lookout.

Lieutenant Brooks, Officers Sweat, Kobs, Smith and Wester responded to a boating accident on Lake Kissimmee. An airboat and a mud boat collided head on. Two persons were transported to the hospital with injuries. Officer Wester is conducting the investigation into the crash.

While on land patrol, Officer Carter observed a vehicle failing to maintain a single lane. During a traffic stop on the vehicle, signs of impairment were observed. Polk County Sheriff’s Office DUI unit arrived to provide back up for Officer Carter and it was determined that the operator was under the influence of alcohol. The operator was arrested and transported to the Polk County Jail.

Officer Tyer was conducting fisheries inspections at Tenoroc Fish Management Area when she observed a subject in possession of oversized black bass. Officer Tyer cited the individual and released the bass back into the water.

Officers Carter and Young were on water patrol on the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes, and saw a vessel without a boater safety sticker and conducted a vessel safety stop. While conducting the inspection, Officer Carter observed signs of impairment and conducted field sobriety tasks. The operator was arrested for BUI and transported to the Polk County Jail where he refused to provide a breath sample.

RESCUES
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Officer Messman was on land patrol at the Williams Park Boat Ramp when he was flagged down by some individuals. The individuals informed Officer Messman they were trying to find a friend who had gone out on his vessel the previous night. Officer Messman learned the truck and trailer of the overdue boater were at the boat ramp. Officers Caldwell, Lehman, Ludtke, and Lieutenant Parisoe responded to search for the missing boater. Assistance was provided by the USCG and Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. After several hours, the search was concluded when the missing boater returned to the boat ramp.

POLK COUNTY

FWC officers from Polk, Highlands, Hardee, Osceola and Desoto counties responded to a brush fire off Highway 60 and County Road 630 to assist Forestry and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office with evacuating residences that were in the path of the fire. Officers were an instrumental part in protecting people and property during the three days of the fire.


DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
PINELLAS COUNTY

Officers Ludtke and Caldwell participated in a targeted enforcement action plan (TEA) in south Pinellas County focusing on vessel navigation lights. During the course of the TEA, the officers discovered three red snapper on a vessel. Through interviews, one of the people on board the vessel admitted to keeping the three snapper. That individual was issued a citation for possession of red snapper during a closed season. Several other citations and warnings were issued over the course of the TEA for various boating safety and navigation lighting violations.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Local officers and FWC academy training staff conducted physical assessments for law enforcement applicants in Punta Gorda. More than 160 applicants from the southern part of the state went through the course, which included a 150-yard swim and a timed obstacle course. The applicants who successfully completed the course will move on to the interview portion of the hiring process.

HERNANDO COUNTY

Lieutenant Grover and Officer Fagan did a presentation to a group of approximately 50 sixth-graders. They had been learning about reptiles, so Officer Fagan brought in an alligator. Officer Fagan did a presentation on alligators to another local elementary school. He was able to bring in an alligator as a teaching aid.

Officers Peterson and Canamero did a presentation at a community meeting in Hernando Beach. The focus was on boating safety and regulations. It was attended by approximately 100 people.

SOUTH A REGION
CASES
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Toby observed an individual fishing on Lake Okeechobee near Sandcut. During a fisheries inspection, the individual provided a fraudulent name and date of birth multiple times when asked to provide a freshwater fishing license. Officer Toby determined the information was false and the individual was arrested for the misdemeanor offense of providing fraudulent identifying information to a law enforcement officer. The individual was also issued an infraction citation for no freshwater fishing license.

Officers Godward and Hankinson responded to a stolen vessel call. The investigation is ongoing and a stolen vessel report was completed. The vessel was entered into the stolen vessel data base.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Officers Fretwell and Arnold responded to a complaint of a subject harvesting undersized pompano. While on water patrol, they located several vessels matching the description of the suspect vessel. Several resource inspections later, the suspect vessel and subject were identified. An inspection of his fish hold revealed the subject had harvested and was in possession of 42 undersized Florida pompano. The subject was then identified as a commercial harvester. The fish were seized as evidence and the subject was cited accordingly.

Officer Payne was on foot patrol near the North Bridge in Fort Pierce when he observed several people under the bridge. He watched a single individual wading in the water and using a cast net to harvest fish. He also observed a bucket by the shoreline containing three sheepshead that all appeared to be undersized. Officer Payne called out to the subject in the water to return to shore in order to conduct a resource inspection. With the subject present, the fish were measured and confirmed to be undersized. The subject was issued a citation for the violation.

Officer Payne was on foot patrol late at night near the wall at Fisherman’s Wharf when he heard someone yell “that’s a big fish!” The subject in question was not visible at first but was eventually located, fishing with another subject at the Port of Fort Pierce. The individuals were inspected, but all they had were catfish and some legal snapper. Further investigation led to a vehicle one of the subjects had driven to the location. In the bed of the truck was a bucket with a large fish tail sticking out of it. It was an oversized redfish. The fish was seized as evidence and the subject was cited for possession of oversized redfish.


Officer Fretwell conducted a resource inspection on two males fishing south of the Melody Lane Fishing Pier from a private dock in Fort Pierce. Upon a visual inspection of their bucket containing fish, they were in possession of six undersized black drum. Black drum have a harvest slot size of 14-24 inches to possess. One subject stated that he had caught all of the fish that were in the bucket. The fish were measured for compliance, verified to be undersized and were seized as evidence. One subject was cited for possession of undersized black drum. He was also issued a warning for possession of over the bag limit of black drum as the possession limit is five fish.

RESCUES
OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officers Deweese, Muina, Davis and Toby responded to two search-and-rescue operations on the north end of Lake Okeechobee that occurred simultaneously. The first individual had become stuck in the northeast corner of Lake Okeechobee. The second individual was reported missing in the northwest corner of Lake Okeechobee. Both individuals were reported to have a history of health issues. After extensive efforts by all officers, both individuals were located in good health and taken to the local boat ramp.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

While on a vessel stop, Officer Godward was informing a captain how important life jackets were for everyone on board. He then noticed water on the cabin floor of the vessel. Even though the captain informed him it was fine, Officer Godward stayed to make sure the vessel started and got under way. When the captain lifted the hatch to the inboard, it was half submerged in water. The three small children and a woman were transferred onto his patrol vessel. The vessel was then tied to the patrol boat as Officer Godward headed toward the closest boat ramp. Tow Boat US was called and was able to place a pump on the vessel while underway to keep the vessel afloat until they reached the dock.

Officers Warensford, Mclendon, Spradling and Morrow responded to the J.W. Corbett WMA in reference to a search and rescue. Officer Warensford made contact with a subject by cell phone who advised he was stuck in his vehicle in the Corbett WMA and did not know his location. The subject also advised that he had his wife and three children (one an infant) with him at that time. Dispatch advised all of the responding officers that the cell phone ping, provided by Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, was in the area of Trail 11. Officers Warensford and Mclendon responded to the area with negative results. Officer Warensford was able to again make contact with the subject who advised he was unable to hear FWC sirens or horns in attempts to locate their position. He also advised Officer Warensford that the last sign he remembered passing was for Camp H. All officers involved agreed his position was most likely near Trail 8. All officers involved responded to the area and located the subject approximately 300 yards off the trail, north of Trail 8. The subject advised his wife and three children were all fine with no reported injuries. The towing company was contacted and guided to the location, and the family made it out safely.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
PALM BEACH COUNTY

While on manatee patrol, Officer Godward helped the manatee biologists locate a dead manatee. He took pictures of the wounds and GPS points to help them locate the animal.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Stone, Payne, Leblanc and Morrow assisted with a Becoming an Outdoors Woman seminar at the JW Corbett WMA. During the three-day event, the officers instructed participants on archery, firearms, hunter safety, hunting basics, and reading the woods. Approximately 80 women of all ages were in attendance and they had the opportunity to learn and experience a variety of outdoor skills.

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  FWC Enforcement Report Feb 10-16. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 02-26-2017, 11:53 AM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officers Long and Allgood inspected a local seafood dealer in Pensacola. They found several violations including undersized flounder, no paperwork documenting where the fish came from, and two different quality control violations. The owner of the business was given notice to appear citations for the violations.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Ramos was on patrol in the Robert’s Pond Unit of Eglin Wildlife Management Area (WMA), when he found a vehicle parked in a suspicious location. He followed fresh foot prints and other sign towards a stalk hunting area and after reaching the legal boundary of the area, followed the tracks more than ½ mile into a permanently closed area of Eglin. Additional signs of hunting activity were present and it was determined the subject was currently hunting well inside the closed area. Officer Jones arrived to assist and the two officers positioned themselves on a trail waiting for the hunter to return from the closed area. Nearly an hour after sunset, Officer Jones intercepted the subject trying to sneak back onto the main trail in an area open for hunting. When Officer Ramos questioned the subject, he said that he was just barely inside the closed area. After presenting additional evidence, he admitted that he had been deep inside the closed area and that he “should have known better.” Eglin Range Patrol arrived and issued the man a notice of violation, suspending his ability to enter Eglin WMA for one year. Officer Ramos charged the man with a criminal citation for hunting in a closed area and warned him for other violations.

Officers Roberson and Mullins were on patrol when they were dispatched to the Escambia River WMA. A complaint had been received about subjects hunting with dogs in the still hunt area and using an ATV. After arriving on scene moments later, two subjects walked out of the woods with two hunting dogs on leashes and carrying fixed-blade knives on their waistband. After interviewing the first two subjects, two more exited the woods with an ATV and more hunting dogs and two more knives. After gathering all information, they were found to be hunting hogs. Officer Roberson issued misdemeanor citations to three of the subjects for dog hunting in a still-hunt area. Officer Mullins issued one of the subjects an infraction for the use of an ATV on the Escambia River WMA.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Lieutenant Hollinhead checked two hunters in the Eglin WMA Archery Unit when they returned to their vehicle. The subjects appeared nervous and the lieutenant had previously noticed they attempted to conceal their foot sign around the wooded area they had entered to hunt. When the subjects exited the area, the back track led to where they had hunted, revealing their tree stands that had bait (corn) deposited around them. Both subjects were later interviewed at their residence and admitted to hunting from the tree stands over the bait. Both were charged for hunting over bait on a WMA.

While Officers Pifer and Corbin were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety and state fisheries inspections in the Destin Pass area, they saw a fishing vessel returning from the Gulf of Mexico. The officers stopped the vessel in the Destin Harbor. The fisheries inspection revealed the subject was in possession of an undersized scamp and was cited accordingly.

WALTON COUNTY

Officer Brooks saw six subjects hog hunting with dogs on the Choctawhatchee River WMA, which was closed to hunting hogs with dogs during the primitive hunting season. An adjoining landowner reported one of the dogs had been observed on his property. The subjects were cited for hunting hogs with dogs during the closed season.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Escambia County officers concentrated their efforts on fisheries enforcement this week. Most fishermen were found to be in compliance, but officers documented eight state and federal fisheries violations. These violations included possession of red snapper during closed season and several other size-limit violations.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officers Johnston and McDonald followed up on information they received in reference to two subjects who had fished at a bass tournament in Putnam County and kept all the fish they caught. The fish were taken to a residence in Lake City. The officers located both subjects and conducted interviews. Both subjects admitted to bringing the fish back and not releasing them. The fish were located in a freezer already cleaned. A total of 44 largemouth bass fillets were seized along with 22 largemouth bass carcasses. Appropriate charges will be filed with the state attorney’s office.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
CLAY COUNTY

Uniform patrol, investigations and the Duval County Resource Protection Unit (RPU) Squad worked together to target moonlight cruisers in Jennings State Forest. In one night, the officers wrote 19 citations to individuals illegally driving off-road vehicles in Jennings State Forest. Citations were also issued for alcohol violations. Jeeps and other vehicles were out during the full moon in areas where vehicles have been damaging roads and other areas of the WMA.

DUVAL COUNTY

Officers from the Jacksonville RPU Squad joined Investigator Izsak to conduct offshore JEA patrol and made several cases of red snapper violations. Officer Christmas was able to locate bags containing three filets of red snappers on one vessel. In addition to the failure to land in whole condition case, citations were issued for possession of red snapper in closed federal waters and interference with an FWC officer conducting legal resource inspections.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
LAKE COUNTY

Officer Shaw received a complaint regarding an injured red-tail hawk that was possibly shot. He transported the hawk to the Aviation Rehab Center in Apopka for medical care. An x-ray revealed nine shotgun pellets and fractured bones in the hawk’s wing. Officer Shaw’s investigation located a witness and the subject responsible for shooting the hawk. Charges were filed with the state attorney’s office.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Lieutenant Eason was on water patrol in the area of Lake George and Silver Glen Springs when he observed a male subject standing in the water, holding up a blue tilapia by hand. As he approached the subject, he saw him standing on a Hawaiian sling under the water. An inspection of the catch revealed five large tilapia and three mullet. All of the fish were located in a diver’s bag, and the subject was wearing diving flippers. The subject admitted to taking the freshwater species by spearfishing. A criminal citation was issued for the violation.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

FWC officers and investigators responded to a single-vessel boating accident that occurred on the Peace River. The vessel was traveling on plane when it struck a sand bar, causing the subjects to be ejected. One subject was struck by the propeller and was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries. This is an ongoing boating accident investigation.

LEE COUNTY

FWC officers and investigators responded to a single-vessel, personal watercraft accident that occurred on a lake in Cape Coral. The vessel was traveling on plane, towing a passenger on an inflatable, tube-like device. The passenger fell off of the tube shortly before the vessel and operator collided with a fixed object. The operator was unresponsive and taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. This is an ongoing boating accident investigation.

FWC officers and investigators responded to an alligator bite incident at a golf and country club in northern Fort Myers. The subject was golfing near a pond when he was bitten on the right foot by an alligator. The subject was able to hit the alligator with his golf club, which caused it to release his foot and get away. The subject sought medical treatment for his injury. This is an ongoing alligator bite investigation.

FWC officers and investigators responded to a boating accident which occurred in a small pond. When officers arrived on scene, it was determined that a male subject died from injuries after colliding with a dock. Officers coordinated with local authorities and hospital staff to determine the cause of the accident. The investigation is ongoing.

While on patrol at the Punta Rassa Boat Ramp, Officer Hardgrove performed a resource inspection which revealed an undersized red grouper. The subject was issued a citation for the violation.

Officer Hardgrove conducted a resource inspection on a vessel returning from offshore at the Punta Rassa Boat Ramp and found a grey triggerfish and a dusky shark on board. The subject was issued a citation for possession of an undersized and out-of-season grey triggerfish, and a warning for possession of the dusky shark.

Officer Hardgrove was on patrol on Sanibel Island when he encountered two subjects fishing. The subjects had several undersized sheepshead and mangrove snapper. One subject dumped his catch before Officer Hardgrove could measure them. The subject was issued a citation for undersized mangrove snapper, sheepshead, and interfering with an FWC officer. The other subject received a warning for his undersized catch.

While on patrol at a boat ramp in Cape Coral, Officer Hardgrove approached a subject fishing and conducted a fisheries inspection. His inspection revealed an undersized sheepshead and an undersized mangrove snapper. The subject was issued a citation for the undersized fish.

Officers Perry, Hardgrove and Investigator Jernstedt assisted the United States Coast Guard (USCG) with a vessel stop. The USCG had conducted a stop on the vessel and discovered several filets on board the vessel. The subjects were visiting from another state and had filleted their catch of lane snapper before landing them ashore. The operator was cited for failing to land lane snapper in whole condition.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Dalton was on land patrol in the area of the South Skyway Fishing Pier. While on patrol, he performed a fisheries inspection on an individual fishing from the end of the pier and found that the subject had caught and kept a 9 ½-inch gag grouper. The subject was cited for possession of gag grouper out of season. He was also given a written warning for undersized gag grouper.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officers Pulaski and Pettifer responded to a complaint of an individual in possession of a gopher tortoise. Upon arrival, the officers located the gopher tortoise in a shopping cart. Officer Pulaski seized the tortoise as evidence, and issued a citation for possession of a gopher tortoise.

SARASOTA COUNTY

While on land patrol in the area of Blind Pass Park, Officer Brown performed a fisheries inspection on a subject collecting hard clams in Lemon Bay. During the inspection, the individual was found to be in possession of 25 gallons of hard clams, 20 gallons over the 5-gallons per person possession limit. The subject was also advised that he was harvesting clams from an area that was currently closed to shell fishing. The individual was cited accordingly for the violations.

FWC officers and investigators responded to a single-vessel boating accident that occurred in the area of Sarasota Bay. The vessel was traveling on plane, when the operator attempted to make a turn causing both subjects to be ejected. The passenger was able to swim to shore and call for help, while the operator was later found deceased. This is an ongoing boating accident investigation.

RESCUES
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Officers Ahlers, Balfour, Boogaerts, Bontrager, Phillippi, Tyer, K-9 Wolff and Lieutenant Parisoe responded to Sergeant’s Park to assist the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) locate an individual that was lost along the Hillsborough River. The HCSO received a 911 call from the stranded hiker who had been lost since the previous day. After a brief search, HCSO Aviation located the hiker and Officers Balfour and Phillippi walked to the coordinates provided and retrieved the individual. Hillsborough County Fire Rescue checked the welfare of the hiker after their return. During the investigation, HCSO located drug paraphernalia on the individual, and he was subsequently arrested.

SOUTH A REGION
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officers Sadilek and Ryan conducted a fisheries inspection on a subject who had been spearfishing along the seawall at the Hillsboro Inlet Park in Pompano Beach. As he exited the water, the officers observed him carrying a small black grouper. With information gathered, Officer Ryan issued the individual a criminal notice to appear citation for possession of grouper out of season. The fish was seized as evidence.

GLADES COUNTY

Officers Nasworth, Toby, Deweese, Mclendon, Warensford and Lieutenant Brown responded to the Fisheating Creek campground in Palmdale for a possible missing subject. When units arrived on the scene, contact was made with one adult male subject and one juvenile female subject, who had been listed as missing out of Lee County since January 27, 2017. Officers gained permission to search the adult male’s campsite and discovered 21.50 grams of marijuana. The subject admitted he knew the juvenile was under age and had been given orders by the Department of Children and Families not to have contact with the juvenile female. The adult male subject was arrested and booked into Glades County Jail on charges of possession of marijuana over 20 grams, sheltering an unmarried minor and interfering with custody.

HENDRY COUNTY

Officer Alford saw three subjects at STA 5 with cast nets and large red baskets, made contact and asked if the subjects had caught the fish in the baskets with their cast nets. One of the subjects advised that they had caught the fish. Three black bass and seven bream were mixed in with the tilapia in the baskets. The net, when inspected, was greater than one inch. One of the subjects also had a warrant out of Collier County. The warrant was confirmed and the Collier County Sheriff’s Office advised they would extradite the subject. A pipe in the subject’s front pocket tested positive for marijuana. All three subjects were arrested for possessing fish and the illegal net. The subject with the warrant was also charged with the out-of-county warrant and for possessing drug paraphernalia.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Hankinson and Godward were on water patrol conducting fisheries inspections offshore of the Lake Worth Inlet, and saw a vessel with subjects attempting to harvest fish. They found numerous violations pertaining to size limits, bag limits and closed season. The species in violation were black grouper, mutton snapper, vermilion snapper and yellowtail snapper. The three subjects were issued a total of nine criminal citations.

Officer Toby saw a vessel operating without the proper navigational lights on Lake Okeechobee. Upon conducting a vessel inspection for the violation, the two individuals on board were found to be in possession of two undersized black crappie in a cooler. Each individual was issued a misdemeanor citation pertaining to possession of the undersized black crappie and the operator of the vessel was issued five warnings pertaining to additional resource and boating violations.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Officer Shermetaro was working late in the evening when he saw a boat returning from a day of offshore fishing. An inspection revealed the subject was in possession of two red and six red hind grouper. Officer Shermetaro explained to the subject that he had harvested the fish during a closed season. The fish were seized as evidence and the subject received a citation for the violation.

RESCUES
OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Investigator Warne was on land patrol when he saw a vehicle stop in the middle of the roadway and an occupant discharge a firearm from the driver’s side window at a turkey vulture roosted in a tree. Investigator Warne conducted a traffic stop and cited the driver for violation of the migratory bird treaty act.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Spradling responded to a search and rescue for a husband, wife and four young children who were stuck in their vehicle and lost in the J.W. Corbett WMA. Officers Spradling, Marrow, Mclendon and Warensford searched throughout the night through thick foliage and deep water to locate the lost subjects. At approximately 2:30 a.m., the officers located the family near trail 8 by tracking tire-tread imprints and by celestial navigation. All occupants were safe and, with the assistance of North County Towing, were escorted to North Check Corbett.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
MARTIN COUNTY

Officers Morrow, Hankinson, Godward, Cobo, Carroll, Rogers, Kirkland and Lieutenant Russo conducted a special detail which focused on environmental hazards pertaining to marine sanitation devices (MSDs) in Martin County. All users were found to be in compliance for MSDs. Multiple boating safety and navigation light violations were addressed and cited/warned accordingly.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Hankinson patrolled the manatee speed zones in Jupiter and the Loxahatchee River to enforce zone compliance. Numerous speed violations and boating safety violations were addressed accordingly.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Cobo, Mclendon and Lieutenant Morrison participated in the Cruisin’ Food Fest/Antique Car Show at MacArthur Beach State Park on Singer Island in West Palm Beach. More than 700 visitors attended and officers provided assistance to Department of Environmental Protection park personnel and educated the public about numerous park activities.

SOUTH B REGION
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Araujo and Polly were on land patrol at Lake Trafford when Officer Araujo saw an individual fishing with a cast net into Lake Trafford. The subject did not have any other fishing equipment with him. Officer Araujo observed the individual shaking fish out from his cast net and two buckets, one of which was placed into the back of a truck that the individual entered. The officers approached the truck and found the bucket with a cast net, but no fish. Officer Polly asked the individual where the other bucket of fish was and an individual in the truck handed him a bucket that was inside the truck. Upon inspection, Officer Araujo found 5 blue tilapias, which are non-native/non-game fish and have no regulations, 10 bream and 3 crappie. Bream and crappie are Florida freshwater game fish and may only be harvested by rod and reel or poles and line. The individual received a resource citation for the violation and the bream and crappie were seized as evidence.

Officer Kleis put together a boating detail for the Everglades City Seafood Festival. Officers Arbogast, Kleis, Lugg, Osorio-Borja and Plussa, along with Collier County Sheriff’s Office Marine deputies and Everglades National Park rangers, patrolled the area during the busy weekend. The detail focused on boating safety and BUI violations. No BUI violations were found; however, FWC officers wrote 36 warnings and 12 citations for boating safety, registration and manatee zone violations. FWC officers were also called upon to assist an elderly woman who collapsed due to heat exhaustion and assisted deputies on land with a fight involving three individuals.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Two FWC officers were on water patrol around the water of Monument Island when they stopped a vessel for a fisheries and boating safety inspection. All of the fish inside the ice chest were of legal length and legal to possess. A hidden compartment contained 4 undersized mutton snapper, 3 undersized yellowtail snapper and 1 undersized hogfish. The operator of the vessel was cited accordingly for all 8 undersized fish.

An officer was on water patrol when he observed two vessels anchored together in the vicinity of the Miami Seaquarium. Only one of the vessels was displaying its anchor light. The officer approached the vessels and noticed the second vessel turn on its anchor light. The officer advised both subjects that the anchor light must be turned on at all times after sunset. Both subjects replied that they had been fishing and were about to leave. The officer performed a fisheries inspection and found them to be in possession of five undersized lane snapper and one undersized mutton snapper. The vessel operators were cited accordingly.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Wagner and Lieutenant Payne responded to a call of an unmanned vessel driving in circles in the area of Key Haven. When in route, they saw the vessel in the distance circling on a flat and the engine was kicking up mud in its prop wash. The vessel appeared to run aground as they approached closer and once they were on scene, a man was operating the vessel towards deeper water. They got alongside the vessel and immediately saw signs of impairment. The man explained that he hit a large wave and was ejected from his vessel. A Sea Tow captain picked him up and got him to his vessel. Officer Wagner conducted seated field sobriety tasks on the man which he failed. The man was arrested for BUI and transported to the Monroe County Jail. A breath test showed that the man was more than three times over the legal limit.

Lieutenant Peters inspected two snorkelers that were actively harvesting lobster on the ocean side of the Lower Keys. Lieutenant Peters instructed one of the snorkelers to return their vessel as he was inspecting the catch bag of the second snorkeler. During that inspection, the subject that returned to the vessel dumped a bucket of lobster overboard into the water. Once both subjects were back on their vessel, a closer inspection of their catch revealed 3 undersized lobster and a total of 13 lobster. It was explained to the two subjects that they had 13 Florida spiny lobster, not counting the ones that were just dumped overboard. One subject was issued a notice to appear for possession of undersized Florida spiny lobster and possession of over the bag limit of 6 Florida spiny lobster and a uniform boating citation for failing to register his out-of-state vessel in Florida within 90 days. The second subject was placed under arrest and transported to Monroe County Detention Center Stock Island without incident. He was charged with possession of undersized Florida spiny lobster and interference with an FWC officer.

Investigator Hein is investigating a boating accident fatality after a Good Samaritan (on a vessel) identified a body floating in Tarpon Basin near Key Largo. FWC officers and the USCG responded to the scene. Once on the scene, FWC officers identified a 19-foot vessel against the tree line with no occupants and no damage present. The deceased victim was located approximately 100 yards away from his vessel. The body was transported by the USCG to their station in Islamorada to be turned over to the medical examiner’s office.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and FWC partnered for an operation targeting violators of the manatee speed zones in the waters of Miami Dade County. During the operation, 47 uniform boating citations and 49 warnings were issued and two persons were arrested for DUI and BUI.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Dube was the guest speaker at the Upper Keys Rotary Club’s monthly meeting in Islamorada. Officer Dube talked about current rule changes along with current events concerning Monroe County and the Keys. Officer Dube ended his presentation with a lengthy question and answer session to end the meeting. Officer Dube spoke to approximately 60 plus Rotarians and guests that were in attendance.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

FWC officers attended the Save Endangered Animals, Save the World event held at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens. The officers taught family and children about endangered animals and how we can help save them and the world we live in. This event included arts and crafts, animal flow, a lecture by an endangered animal specialist and planting at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens. All activities allowed the attendees to learn more about special species and the world. The FWC officers also provided two baby alligators and brought an airboat for the kids to experience.

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  FWC Enforcement Report Feb 3-9. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 02-13-2017, 12:45 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
CALHOUN COUNTY

Detectives with Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office went to a suspect’s residence to serve a drug arrest warrant and when they arrived, they found the suspect cleaning a spike buck in his yard. Lieutenant Allen and Officers Guy and Hayes responded to assist. They measured the deer’s antlers at five inches. One count of possession of a deer with less than two points on one side was direct filed against the suspect.

ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Allgood checked a fisherman as he returned to Sherman’s Cove and discovered the man was in possession of red snapper fillets. Red snapper season is currently closed and it is a violation to clean the fish before it is landed. The individual was issued a notice to appear citation for the violations.

Lieutenant Allen and Officer Guy received a call from a local landowner stating that he had witnessed two suspects illegally hunting on his property. While the officers were en route, the landowner called back stating the suspects had gone and he provided their vehicle description. The officers canvased the area and located the vehicle pulling into a residence. One of the suspects was in the vehicle and initially denied that he had been hunting that morning. After further questioning, the suspect admitted to hunting and dropping the second suspect off at his residence. Officers Burkhead and Little responded to assist with the investigation and went to the second suspect’s residence, where they saw a whitetail doe carcass in the yard. A records check showed that this suspect was a convicted felon. This suspect admitted to being on the landowner’s property but denied having a gun. Upon further investigation and interviews, the suspect admitted that he did have a gun and also admitted to hiding three guns in a wooded area behind his residence prior to the officers arriving. Armed trespass charges were direct filed against both suspects. One of the suspects was also charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of an antlerless deer during the closed season.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

While patrolling federal waters, Officer Morales conducted an inspection on a recreational vessel near the K Tower. During the initial safety inspection, blood and scales were noticed throughout the boat. Crew members said that there were only grunts on board, but during a resource inspection, one of the coolers on board contained six gag grouper, ten red snapper, and one gray triggerfish. Two of the red snapper and five of the gag group were undersized. The owner of the vessel took responsibility for the illegal catch and was charged with harvesting gag grouper and red snapper out of season.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Bartlett was on land patrolling the Eglin Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and saw a truck stopped in the middle of Little Silver Road. When he approached the truck, the individuals got into the vehicle and continued down the road. They had discarded litter on the side of the road and a traffic stop was initiated to address the violation. After making contact with the driver of the vehicle, it was discovered that he was in possession of a firearm. The driver was a convicted felon and the firearm was seized as evidence. The individual was issued a citation for littering. A charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon was filed with the state attorney’s office. Officers Pifer and Rockwell also assisted with the investigation of this incident.

Officer Corbin was patrolling the Eglin WMA and saw an individual returning to his vehicle from hunting in the Toms Creek Unit area. The hunter was wearing camouflage clothing, a hunter orange vest, and a camouflage backpack while carrying a muzzle loader. The individual produced an expired muzzle loader permit and after gaining consent to inspect the hunter’s backpack, a prescription pill bottle containing a controlled substance and cannabis were discovered. The prescription pill bottle/controlled substance label was prescribed to another individual. The hunter was arrested and transported to the Okaloosa County Jail. The hunter was charged with a felony for possession of controlled substance without a prescription, possession of cannabis less than 20 grams, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Officer Corbin was on land patrol conducting state fisheries/license inspections on the Shalimar Bridge and saw an individual fishing. When he asked the individual for his fishing license, the individual stated another fisherman had his license and gave his name and date of birth. During the process of confirming the validity of the fishing license with dispatch, the individual provided a valid fishing license. The name and date of birth matched what was provided to him, but it was later confirmed that the individual provided a false name and date of birth and presented someone else’s fishing license. The individual was arrested and transported to the Okaloosa County Jail, charged with providing a false name to a law enforcement officer.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Hutchinson received information about a hunter who used a high-powered rifle to shoot a deer while hunting the Escambia River WMA during muzzle loading season. While driving towards the boat ramp where the subject’s vehicle was parked, he saw the subject’s vehicle travelling towards him. As the vehicle passed by, he observed a whitetail deer lying in the boat that was being towed by the subject’s vehicle. During a subsequent traffic stop, the subject claimed he shot the deer with a muzzle loader rifle. Officer Hutchinson discovered that he was in possession of only a muzzle loader, but after further questioning and inspection of the deer, the subject admitted to shooting the deer with a high-powered rifle. The subject called a friend to bring him a muzzle loader after he shot the deer. Once the friend arrived at his location, they swapped guns and the subject took possession of the muzzle loader and gave his friend the high-powered rifle to take back with him. Officer Hutchinson issued the subject a notice to appear citation for the violation of illegal method of taking game. The firearm and the deer were seized as evidence.

Officers Hutchinson and Arnette were informed by Lieutenant Golloher and Officer Tolbert about a vehicle that was travelling along several back roads while shining a spotlight into the fields and into tree lines. The officers drove to the area where the subject was seen and Officer Hutchinson saw the vehicle parked at a field while shining a spotlight into the field in a manner capable of disclosing the presence of deer. He conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and discovered a loaded a 12‑gauge shotgun in the front seat. While conducting a search of the vehicle, he also discovered an open container of alcoholic beverage in the front console. The subject was issued a notice to appear citation for possession of a firearm while shining a light in a manner capable of disclosing the presence of deer. He was also issued a citation for possession of an open container of alcohol in the vehicle. The firearm was seized as evidence.

While working a night-hunting detail, officers observed a truck driving in a suspicious manner. The driver was shining a light in specific areas where deer are often seen. Officer Hutchinson approached the truck and watched him shining a light into a field. He stopped the vehicle and discovered a loaded, 12‑gauge shotgun in the front seat as well as an open beer in the front console. The man was issued a notice to appear for night hunting and a traffic citation for possession of an open container of alcohol in the vehicle.

WALTON COUNTY

Lieutenant Hollinhead, Officers Letcher, White, Maltais, and Reserve Officer Hahr worked a detail on Eglin WMA targeting complaints of hunting in closed areas and driving in prohibited areas. The detail resulted in 86 hunters checked and citations issued for license violations and driving around gates into areas prohibited to vehicle traffic. Eglin Security Forces personnel issued suspensions from Eglin property for the violations.

Officer Brooks was conducting fishery inspections at Choctawhatchee Bay and Highway 331 when he observed two undersized red drum in a bucket near the edge of the water. He later determined the fish belonged to a subject that was fishing nearby and cited him for the violation.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
SANTA ROSA COUNTY

FWC officers teamed up with staff from the Division of Hunting and Game Management to assist with the Blackwater Hutton Unit Mobility Impaired Hunts. Working with several volunteers including family and friends of FWC staff, as well as retired officers, they provided lunch each day for the hunters and their guests. Several local businesses donated everything from food and drinks to hunting equipment for prizes to be given away. The hunters had an enjoyable time in the field and were very appreciative of the time and effort put into the events.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers Stanley and Troiano saw two individuals fishing in Paynes Prairie State Park on Prairie Creek. Both individuals had entered the park illegally and one was in possession of alcohol. The officers asked for fishing licenses and one was unable to produce any valid license. The officers also saw a cast net that was wet and dirty as if it had been recently used. The officers escorted both individuals back to their vehicle where they found 15 bream inside the cast net box. None of the bream had hook marks and they all had misplaced scales. One of the individuals admitted to catching all the bream in the cast net. Citations were issued for taking game fish by illegal method and no valid fishing license. Warnings were issued for the state park violations.

Officer Stanley saw two individuals fishing on Orange Lake and when they returned to the boat ramp, he checked their catch and asked to see their fishing licenses. One of the individuals said he left his at the house. Dispatch reported his license had been suspended and that he was on the “Do not sell” list. Officer Stanley issued a citation for fishing with a suspended license.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officer Johnston was working from a concealed location in the late evening hours when he overheard the distinct sound of glass being shattered as well as two individuals talking in the darkness. The sounds came from a local church and he quickly responded, believing a burglary was in progress. Upon arrival, Officer Johnston observed shattered glass all over the highway near the church and noticed two individuals walking away from him. One subject was carrying what appeared to be a scoped rifle and the other was carrying a ***** driver and hammer wrapped in a towel. Both subjects complied with verbal commands and were detained in handcuffs. Post Miranda warnings, both subjects admitted to burglarizing a vehicle and church earlier in the night. The rifle was later determined to be a scoped wooden stock pellet rifle. The subjects admitted to stealing the pellet rifle and ammunition from the toolbox of a pickup truck after entering a completely fenced in private property to get to the truck. After burglarizing the vehicle, the subjects admitted to burglarizing the dining hall of the church where they stole glass bottles and smashed them on the highway. Both subjects also admitted to bringing the hammer and ***** driver from home so they could break into cars. The victims in this case were located by Officer Johnston the following day and provided written statements stating the wish to prosecute. Both locations have been burglarized in the past and no suspects were ever located. Charges are being filed on the two juveniles for burglary of a conveyance, trespass, burglary of a structure, three counts of petit theft and possession of burglary tools.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ALACHUA COUNTY

Lieutenant Ferguson, Officers Troiano, Stanley, Reith and Harris worked the Watermelon Pond WEA area to help maintain compliance. With several warm days, fishing and boating activity had increased. Several citations and warnings were issued for resource, license and boating violations.

GILCHRIST AND OTHER COUNTIES

During an arrest made by FWC Officer Wiggins in July 2016 in reference to a subject illegally taking alligators, a multi-state investigation including Florida, Ohio, Kentucky and Georgia was initiated. Florida investigators obtained search warrants on several social media accounts and learned that the subject was hunting in three states (Florida, Georgia and Ohio) without required hunting licenses. After a six-month investigation, it was determined the subject had illegally killed 19 whitetail deer, several turkeys and a bobcat in Browns County, Ohio, during the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 hunting seasons. Seven other subjects (five from Florida) were also identified during the investigation as illegally hunting in Ohio. All five subjects will be charged in Ohio for multiple violations including license violations, night hunting, road hunting, exceeding bag limits, illegal methods, antlerless deer violations, protected species and aiding and abetting a known violator. Twelve whitetail deer antlers, a turkey beard and spurs were seized and shipped back to Ohio by DNR Investigator Joel Buddelmeyer as evidence for prosecution. Georgia and Florida violations are still pending.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ALACHUA COUNTY

FWC officers and K-9 Officer Wiggins assisted state park officials at Paynes Prairie with the annual star gazing event. The expected turnout was expected to be more than 1,500 for a night out viewing the stars and listening to a band. Due to weather conditions, they had fewer than 1,500 but there were several food vendors, a fire and lots of hot chocolate to help pass the night.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Recently, patrols were conducted on the St. Johns and Merritt Island Wildlife refuges in coordination with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) officers. Lieutenant Bonds, Officers Hadwin, Lejarzar, Eller, K-9 Officer North and USFWS Officers Whaley, Amoroso and Brierley all contributed through the use of marked and unmarked vehicles and kayaks, plain clothes and uniformed officers, with special help from K-9 Max. These cooperative efforts resulted in 14 citations and 32 written warnings for charges including trespassing on federal property, racing in areas closed to the public, hog hunting, no valid hunting license, no hunter safety class, insufficient PFD, use of alcohol while hunting, possession of a center-fire rifle, driving on closed roads, no self-issued hunter card, possession of lead shot while hunting waterfowl, over the 25 shell per person refuge limit and fishing in a closed area. These charges resulted in the seizure of more than 200 rounds of ammunition.

MARION COUNTY

Officer Rice responded to a call of someone possibly shooting an American Robin with a BB gun. Upon arrival, Officer Rice observed several dead birds that had apparent gunshot wounds. Officer Rice located individuals outside a residence nearby and questioned them about the dead birds. One of the individuals admitted to shooting a pellet gun earlier in the day and stated that he was shooting at birds. Officer Rice inspected the property of the subject and located a total of 25 dead birds. There were 23 American Robins and two Great Tailed Grackles. Post Miranda, the subject admitted to killing all 25 birds and showed the officer the gun that he used. The pellet gun was seized as evidence as well as all of the birds. The subject was issued a notice to appear for violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and willful or wanton waste of wildlife.

SUMTER COUNTY

Officer Teal was on patrol during the youth waterfowl season when he saw six individuals waterfowl hunting for 20 minutes before making contact. During a resource inspection, one of the adult hunters was found to have an unplugged shotgun. Other violations among the supervising adults were no hunting license, no state waterfowl permit, no migratory bird permit and no federal duck stamps. Appropriate citations were issued.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officer Malicoat was on water patrol in New Smyrna Beach areas known to hold oysters and other shellfish, but closed to harvesting oysters and shellfish due to water quality issues. She located an adult male harvesting oysters from his boat along the shoreline. He was issued the criminal notice to appear citation for this violation.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LAKE COUNTY

Public Information Officer (PIO) Weber and Officer Morrow attended a career day event at Treadway Elementary in Leesburg. The officers brought the wildlife exhibit trailer and spoke with the students about FWC and the importance of not feeding wildlife.

Officers Morrow, Scrambling and PIO Weber participated in a reading program at a couple of elementary schools in Lake County. They each read a story from a book to a classroom of students and also educated them about the FWC and conservation.

ORANGE COUNTY

PIO Weber, Officer McGuire and Reserve Officer Baugh attended the annual Birdapalooza event at Magnolia Park in Orange County. The event focused on Florida’s native wildlife and birding trails. The officers interacted with approximately 750 people.

SEMINOLE COUNTY

PIO Weber and Officer McGuire attended the Touch a Truck event hosted by the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office in Sanford, near Lake Monroe. The officers spoke with children about the importance of Florida’s wildlife and displayed an alligator for the children to learn about.


SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
LEE COUNTY

Officer Hardgrove was on patrol at the Punta Rassa Boat Ramp when a boat with a group of fishermen arrived at the dock. A resource inspection was conducted and an undersized amberjack was discovered. The operator was issued a citation.

While on patrol at the Punta Rassa Boat Ramp, Officer Hardgrove conducted three fisheries inspections on vessels returning to the dock. During these inspections, Officer Hardgrove discovered two undersized spotted seatrout, an out-of-season gray triggerfish, three undersized sheepshead and an undersized mangrove snapper. All three operators were issued a citation for the violations.

MANATEE COUNTY

While on water patrol, Officers Berg and Gaudion stopped a commercial vessel with nets deployed to conduct a commercial fisheries inspection. During the inspection, the officers found multiple infractions and charged the defendants with a total of nine misdemeanors.

SARASOTA COUNTY

While on water patrol in the area of City Island, Officers Ridgeway, Brown and Hughes noticed an individual collecting marine life in Sarasota Bay not far from the Ken Thompson Boat Ramp. During a resource inspection, they found that the subject was in possession of numerous sea urchins and had well over the five living organisms per person limit for marine life. The subject was given a criminal citation and will have to appear in court.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
LEE COUNTY

Officer Price assisted members of the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in a manatee rescue at Manatee Park. The manatee, which was unable to submerge for extended periods of time, was captured and taken to Lowery Park Zoo to be cared for and rehabilitated.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officers Stasko, Birchfield and Morrison worked a directed patrol in several different locations throughout the county, focusing on Slow Speed Manatee Zone violations. Over two dozen vessels were observed in violation and operators were warned and cited accordingly.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LEE COUNTY

Officer Price and Lieutenant Ruggiero participated in a fishing demo at Manatee Elementary in Fort Myers. The officers taught kids to tie knots, cast polls, and throw a cast net. Multiple bass were caught by the kids, and there was a guest appearance from a small alligator. The officers wrapped up the day by having lunch with the students in the cafeteria.

SOUTH A REGION
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Lieutenant Laubenberger and Officer Ryan responded to a call about a large African Spurred Tortoise that was walking in traffic, causing a public safety hazard. The tortoise was recovered and placed at a facility pending further investigation. Captive Wildlife Investigator Corteguera was able to determine the owner of the facility from which the tortoise escaped. When he inspected the facility, the tortoise was returned and a misdemeanor citation was issued for the escape of a non-native species. Investigator Teems, Officer Delatorre and Officer Banks assisted with the investigation.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Corteguera received a complaint regarding a social media post that offered a free raccoon to a good home. The subject was identified before the raccoon could be re-homed, and the investigation revealed that the raccoon was taken from the wild as an infant and was being kept as a personal pet. The subject received a citation for the possession, and three warnings for other captive wildlife violations relating to the raccoon. The raccoon was then taken to a rehabilitation facility. Officers Ryan and Sadilek also assisted with the investigation.

GLADES COUNTY

Officers Toby and Alford responded to a call at the Fisheating Creek Campground in reference to a campsite that had been left with a large amount of litter on the ground. An investigation revealed that the subject who rented the site had been warned twice about camp violations by the general manager before checking out and still left an abundance of garbage behind. The investigation is ongoing.


MARTIN COUNTY

While conducting fisheries inspections, Officer Morrow made contact with a subject as he was returning to his vehicle from the beach. Prior to inspecting the subject’s cooler, Officer Morrow asked the subject how many fish he had, to which he replied “ten.” An inspection of the cooler revealed that the subject was over the recreational bag limit of ten. The subject then advised that he had evidently miscounted. A dispatch inquiry revealed that the subject had no prior violations. The subject was then issued a written warning.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Investigator LaFoy and Officer Allen were on land patrol at the S65D Lock on the Kissimmee River and saw two subjects actively fishing in an area clearly posted “No Trespassing.” After making contact with the subjects, a records check was obtained from the dispatch center which revealed that one of the subjects had a previous trespass warning for the same location. The other subject did not have a valid freshwater fishing license. Investigator LaFoy issued the appropriate citations which will require a court appearance.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Officers Fretwell, Arnold and Investigator Turner conducted a fisheries inspection on a vessel approximately one half mile offshore, on the St. Lucie/Indian River County line. Four individuals were actively fishing and explained that they were keeping their own harvested fish in separate coolers. When the individual coolers were inspected, the group was found to be in possession of one undersized sheepshead, two undersized mutton snapper, six undersized black sea bass and twenty-one lane snapper over their forty-snapper limit. The subjects were issued citations appropriate to their individual violations.

Officers Fretwell, Arnold and Investigator Turner conducted an inspection of a commercial fishing vessel. They observed a single occupant, the operator of the vessel, picking fish out of a cast net. In the rear of the vessel, there were approximately six more cast nets that were all full of Spanish mackerel. When asked how many nets he was using, the subject stated that he had fished ten nets in all and was now picking them. The subject was advised that only two nets could be fished from a vessel at any one time. The subject was shown in statue and on the commercial fishing handout where it states that only two cast nets can be fished at one time and was issued a citation for the violation.

Investigator Patterson conducted a fisheries inspection on a subject in the vicinity of Orange Avenue and Knight Road in Fort Pierce. During the inspection, a records check revealed the subject had an active arrest warrant in St. Lucie County. After confirmation of the warrant, Investigator Patterson transported and processed the subject into the St. Lucie County Jail.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Hankinson and Godward patrolled the area of the Lake Worth Inlet focusing on diving safety and marine species violations. Numerous vessels and divers were checked for compliance. The officers found several violations and addressed them accordingly.

St. LUCIE COUNTY

Investigators Patterson, Turner, Officers Fretwell and Arnold participated in a Targeted Enforcement Action Detail. The objective was to inspect, enforce, and educate permitted establishments in St. Lucie County that handle seafood for public consumption, pertaining to seafood quality control and accompanying Florida Administrative Codes. During the detail, three misdemeanor citations were issued, and three warnings were given for seafood quality control violations.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Cobo and Morrow attended the annual Police Night Out, hosted by the Juno Beach Police Department. While at the event, officers answered questions from the public and displayed equipment utilized by the FWC Division of Law Enforcement.

SOUTH B REGION
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

In response to Stan’s Mullet Fest 2017, Officer Lugg put together a boating safety and BUI detail in the areas of Goodland Bay and Coon Key. Officers Arbogast and Kleis, as well as Collier County Sheriff’s Officers Darren and Cornelius participated in the detail. A total of 12 vessels were stopped, 6 Uniform Boating Citations were issued and 13 warnings were given.

Officer Kleis and Investigator White were on water patrol on the Marco River where they stopped a vessel to complete a boating resource and safety inspection. During the inspection, they observed signs of impairment from the operator. The operator consented to complete field sobriety tasks where he exhibited sufficient behavior to indicate impairment and was subsequently arrested. Officer Johnson met the Officers on land and transported the subject to the Naples Jail Center, where he refused to provide a breath alcohol sample.

While working at night near Port of the Islands and overlooking an area managed by the South Florida Water Management District, Officers Arbogast and Kleis conducted surveillance from a concealed location. The officers observed multiple individuals trespassing on Water Management structures, as well as fishing with rod and reels. Also, one individual was throwing a cast net. After watching the subjects for approximately 30 minutes, it appeared that the group was about to leave. Officers made contact with the group to address the trespass violation and to conduct a resource inspection. The inspection revealed multiple buckets of legal fish and an undersized redfish that was hidden in the bed of a pickup truck. One individual claimed responsibility for the fish and was issued a notice to appear for possession of the undersized redfish and was cited for fishing without a license. The other members of the group were issued appropriate citations and warnings for trespassing on Water Management structures.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Officers in Miami-Dade County worked an operation targeting boating safety and BUI in the waters of Biscayne Bay. During the operation, FWC Officers checked approximately 300 users and cited 7 misdemeanors, 37 UBCs (uniform boating citations) and 32 written warnings.

Officers were on water patrol on the southwest side of Monument Island in Miami-Dade County and noticed a 23-foot boat with three individuals on board. The vessel had fishing rods and tackle laying on the deck of the boat slightly hidden from view, instead of in rod holders. Finding this suspicious, the officers stopped the vessel to check safety equipment and conduct a saltwater resource inspection. The vessel was found in compliance with all required safety gear and after inspecting the fish in the ice chest, the officers asked if there was any other fish on board and the vessel operator stated the “only fish they have are in the ice chest.” The officers then asked permission to search the vessel and were granted permission by the vessel owner/operator. While searching inside the cabin, the officers found a small, hidden compartment under the seat cushions in the bow and tucked inside was a plastic grocery bag containing 4 undersized mutton snappers, 3 undersized yellowtail snapper and 1 undersized hogfish. The owner/operator claimed possession of the undersized fish and was charged with a total of 4 misdemeanors.

MONROE COUNTY

Several officers from the Upper Keys responded to a residential area in Islamorada where bail bondsmen were trying to take a bail skipper into custody. The subject was working with a tree service when the bondsmen approached, and he took off on foot into a heavily wooded area nearby. Officers assisted in the K-9 track through the woods on an expanded perimeter with Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, and checking the surrounding shoreline by water. After an hour of searching, the track was called off. The subject was taken into custody a short time later in the same general area of the original call. Besides the Miami Dade traffic warrants, the subject also had warrants for multiple counts of uttering forged instrument, several counts for grand theft 3rd degree and violation of probation.

Officer Baumgartner and USCG Islamorada teamed on a special detail to target several live-aboard basins in the Upper Keys. While conducting a safety inspection on a sailboat, Officer Baumgartner ran the registered owner’s information through the database as well as dispatch. The registered owner came back with three warrants for failure to pay the fines associated with several uniform boating citations. The individual was taken into custody and booked into the Monroe County Jail.

RESCUES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Johnson responded to a Marine Emergency Response Team (MERT) call in response to a capsized vessel occupied by two adults and three children approximately seven miles west of Gordon’s Pass. Once on scene, Collier County Sheriff’s deputies, Marco Island Fire Department and Tow Boat US recovered the occupants from a Good Samaritan vessel and returned the vessel to a nearby boat ramp.

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  FWC Enforcement Report January 27-February 2. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 02-08-2017, 07:30 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
CALHOUN COUNTY

Officer Forehand responded to a complaint of a landowner whose property borders the Chipola River. The complainant saw a vessel pulled up to his property and heard a rifle shot nearby. The complainant noted the vessel’s registration number and went to the area where he heard the shot. He found a freshly killed doe deer with the top loins removed. At the same time, he heard the vessel crank up and leave the area. Officer Forehand identified the owner of the vessel and met with him to conduct an interview. The suspect admitted to shooting the deer. Charges of taking antlerless deer during the closed season will be direct filed. He was also issued a warning for willful and wanton waste of wildlife.

Lieutenant Allen and Officer Little responded to assist a deputy who stopped a truck displaying a spotlight in a manner capable of disclosing the presence of deer. When the officers arrived, they found a loaded .17 caliber rifle, a loaded .22 rifle, a loaded 12‑gauge shotgun and a spotlight inside the truck. The suspect in this case was charged during the last hunting season with taking antlerless deer. He was booked into the Calhoun County Jail for night hunting. All of the firearms and the spotlight were seized as evidence.

Lieutenant Allen and Officer Little responded to assist the same deputy who stopped another truck displaying a spotlight in a manner capable of disclosing the presence of deer. Two suspects were in the vehicle with a loaded .22 rifle and a loaded .223 rifle. Both suspects were charged with night hunting and both of the firearms were seized as evidence.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

Officer Matechik was on patrol when a Wildlife Alert complaint came in about an oysterman culling oysters from his vessel at the dock in Eastpoint. After canvassing the area, a subject was located with 2½ bags of oysters and culling oysters on the cull board. Officer Matechik checked the oyster bags and found they did not have the required tags and the subject did not have a saltwater products license (SPL) in his possession. The officer cited the subject for untagged oysters, not culling oysters on the oyster bed, and no SPL in possession.

JACKSON COUNTY

Lieutenant Allen and Officer Guy responded to assist a deputy who heard a shot locate a hunter. When the officers arrived, they located the hunter and checked the area and discovered a freshly killed doe deer. The hunter admitted to shooting the deer and will be charged with taking antlerless deer during the closed season.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Nichols, Bartlett, and J. Rockwell had confirmed a disposition from Walton County regarding a subject they arrested for violating a domestic violence injunction. The subject previously admitted to hunting and advised his license had been suspended for a year. Officer Rockwell filed an additional charge of hunting while license suspended or revoked.

Officer Pifer was on vessel patrol conducting state fisheries and license inspections in the Destin Pass. He observed a boat tied underneath the Marler Bridge with one individual on board actively fishing. A fisheries inspection revealed an oversized red drum. The individual was issued a notice to appear citation.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Hutchinson received information about a subject who harvested three antlerless deer in one day during the antlerless deer season, two over the limit. During an interview, the subject said that he, his father, and his son each shot one deer. After interviewing the other subjects and another witness, it was confirmed that the subject shot and killed all three deer himself. The subject then admitted to taking all three deer. Officer Hutchinson obtained a warrant charging the man with taking over the bag limit of antlerless deer.

Officer Hutchinson was patrolling an area after dark where he received several complaints of illegal hunting activity. While working the area, he observed a vehicle driving through the middle of a large field while both the driver and passenger shined the area. When the vehicle was stopped, a loaded hunting rifle was discovered. The man and woman admitted to looking for deer. The driver did not a have a valid driver’s license. Both were charged with night hunting and the driver was also charged with driving with a suspended license.

Officer Hutchinson saw a vehicle slowly traveling along the road with a spotlight being shined from the vehicle into the field in front of his house. The vehicle was stopped and two juveniles informed him that they were looking for a big buck. A loaded shotgun was lying in between the two front seats. Officer Hutchinson made contact with their parents and, after the parents’ arrival, the juveniles were charged with night hunting and released into the custody of their parents.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Mullins attended Bagdad Elementary School to talk with students who were studying conservation and resource management. Officer Mullins explained the FWC’s role in conservation and protection of natural resources. After an explanation of laws, regulations, and why they are important, Officer Mullins answered the students’ questions regarding what is and is not allowed and why.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
DUVAL COUNTY

While conducting unmarked surveillance on inshore shrimp trawlers, a Resource Protection Officer identified a commercial shrimper who was violating the buffer north of downtown Jacksonville and dragging his nets too close to shore. Using GPS and a laser rangefinder, the trawler was marked at 240 feet from shore in an area restricted to 300 feet. A records check revealed the captain had two recent shrimp trawl violations. He was issued a misdemeanor notice to appear for the violation.

NASSAU COUNTY

Officer Sweat received a complaint about stolen property and met with the complainant at the Soggy Bottom Hunt Club. The subject showed the officer his hunting location where a two-man deer stand and a deer feeder had gone missing. At a location where the stand had been dragged off the property was a fresh Burger King receipt. Approximately two hours later, Officer Sweat located the deer stand on the adjoining property, which belongs to the Nassau School Board and is a known hangout for young people. The complainant identified the deer stand as his. The deer feeder was not recovered at the time, but with the Burger King receipt, Officer Sweat was able to obtain a picture of two young male subjects. One of those subjects admitted to taking the deer feeder to his house. The stand and deer feeder were recovered and returned to the owner. The suspect was given a warning citation and faces petty theft charges through the state attorney’s office.

RESCUES
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers Troiano and Reith responded to a capsized vessel on Orange Lake. When they arrived, the individual had already received a ride to shore. He stated he was fine and did not want EMS to respond, but just wanted to go home. The vessel was marked that night and later retrieved by the owner.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
DUVAL AND NASSAU COUNTIES

Resource Protection Officers worked with Lieutenant Cain who flew over the closed oyster beds in the Nassau River area. Two subjects were found harvesting oysters from the shore and were cited for closed area harvesting and undersized oyster violations. Lieutenant Cain then watched two subjects harvesting oysters from a closed area in a Jon boat. The subjects dumped the oysters when they became aware of the aerial surveillance. Lieutenant Cain guided Officer Culbreth to the dock were the subjects were located. The subjects admitted to the oyster harvesting violation and were cited.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers Troiano and Reith attended the annual Newberry High School Criminal Justice night out. Several hundred students and parents attend the event every year to observe different equipment from each law enforcement agency within the county. The airboat was selected again this year by the officers and past students who had attended the event.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Saunders received information about an unpermitted individual who had taken possession of two reticulated pythons by portraying that he had a permit. A check of the suspect revealed he was on felony probation. The suspect’s probation officer set up a search of the suspect’s residence which was a condition of the probation. During the search, the probation officers involved discovered two reticulated pythons as well as other contraband. The suspect was arrested and charged with violation of probation as well as possession of conditional species without a permit. The snakes were voluntarily relinquished to FWC and placed at a permitted facility.

LAKE COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator McDaniel investigated the report of a subject illegally possessing venomous reptiles at a house in a residential neighborhood. During his investigation, he discovered that the suspect was indeed in possession of an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake without a permit. The suspect was cited for the violation and the snake was voluntarily relinquished to FWC.

PUTNAM COUNTY

K-9 Officer Simpson responded to a dumping complaint on private property in the Crescent City area. During the investigation, two suspects were identified and interviewed. The suspects stated that they were going to take the debris to the dump, but decided to dump it on property off a dirt road instead. Both suspects were charged with littering over 500 pounds.

Officer Jones was on patrol in the “Mondex” when he saw a suspicious vehicle parked in the woods. During approach, he smelled the odor of marijuana. An investigation revealed that one subject was in possession of cannabis under 20 grams. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the offense.

Lieutenants Dickson, Yetter and Officer Jones were in the area of the “Mondex” investigating someone possibly using a spotlight to hunt in the woods at night when they heard multiple gunshots nearby. Upon arriving at a bon fire in the woods, Lieutenants Dickson and Yetter were able to identify the shooter who was just shooting into a dirt pile. Officer Jones approached another vehicle at the same location and smelled the odor of burnt cannabis. Upon investigating, a male subject was found to be in possession of under 20 grams of cannabis. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the offense.

Officer Guirate received a call from a landowner in reference to finding fresh blood and other evidence near one of the gates on his property. The officer found where a deer had been shot on the property, loaded on a cart, then loaded in a vehicle outside the property’s gate. Officer Jones provided information on a possible suspect in that area. At the suspect’s residence, he found the head and cape of a freshly killed deer and blood in the bed of a truck that appeared to have the same tire tread as the suspect vehicle. The subject admitted to going onto the landowner’s property and unlawfully killing a buck deer and has been charged with felony trespass.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
DESOTO COUNTY

An anonymous tip was called in stating that a man in Arcadia was keeping a bobcat in his backyard. Officers Franks and Kobs were dispatched to investigate. Upon arrival, the homeowner confessed to being in possession of a bobcat. The bobcat was seized and the man was cited accordingly after being educated on the laws pertaining to the possession of a bobcat.

HARDEE COUNTY

Officer Franks responded to a trespassing complaint. Upon arrival, he found five subjects trespassing on Mosaic property while hog hunting with dogs. The males entered the property through a fence without permission and were operating an ATV. Officer Franks charged and arrested the subjects. They were all transported to the Hardee County Jail.

HIGHLANDS COUNTY

Several FWC officers and investigators responded to a boating accident that occurred on Lake Istokpoga. Two subjects were transported to a local hospital and two subjects were discovered deceased. This is an ongoing boating accident investigation.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Wilkenson received a call from a property owner that several individuals were trespassing on the orange grove he managed. Officer Wilkenson arrived and observed two vehicles driving off the property with approximately 15 individuals ranging from 3 to 35 years old. Shortly after, Officers Thompson and McColgin arrived on the scene. The individuals were asked why they were on the property and they stated they were just driving around. The property manager stated that he didn’t want them on the property. All of the individuals were issued trespass warnings and advised not to return to the property.

While on patrol on Pine Island, Officer Hardgrove encountered two subjects cleaning fish at the boat ramp. There were three large cobia lying on the deck next to them. He asked the subjects if they were aware that the possession limit on cobia is one per person. Both subjects stated they understood that but thought the boat limit of six cobia per boat applied to them, since they had been fishing from a boat. Officer Hardgrove explained that the law states the possession limit is one per person or six per vessel, whichever is fewer. The excess cobia was measured at 50 inches and was seized. The subject who kept the second cobia was issued a notice to appear for possession of cobia over the bag limit.

MANATEE COUNTY

While on land patrol in the South Skyway Rest Area, Officer Dalton performed a fisheries inspection on a man fishing underneath the relief bridge just before the Skyway Fishing Pier. He found the fisherman to be in possession of one 10.5-inch sheepshead and one 10.5-inch gag grouper. The man was given a written warning for the undersized sheepshead and a citation for the gag grouper.

PINELLAS COUNTY

The crew of the Gulf Sentry, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Smith, Burks, Martin and Hughes, were offshore conducting fisheries inspections on commercial longline vessels, and as they approached a longline vessel for inspection, the occupants on board started to throw red grouper into the water. The Gulf Sentry crew recovered several undersized grouper. Officers Burks and Hughes boarded the vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection and located 69 pieces of cut up shark, vermillion snapper and other pieces of reef fish that were being used as bait. Several federal fisheries citations were issued.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
LEE COUNTY

Officers Furbay and McColgin conducted a panther zone enforcement detail that resulted in eight citations and six written warnings, with a high speed of 85 mph in a 45 mph zone. The officers also educated the public on the importance of following the posted speed in panther zones.


SOUTH A REGION
CASES
GLADES COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigators Doricchi and Douglas, along with Lieutenant Garzaniti, inspected a wildlife facility that houses venomous reptiles. The inspection revealed venomous reptiles in enclosures that were not locked as required, as well as enclosures improperly labeled. Investigators Doricchi and LaFoy returned to the facility and issued a misdemeanor citation for the unlocked enclosures and a warning for the improper labeling. The enclosures were properly secured upon their return.

MARTIN COUNTY

Officers Brevik and Norbrothen were on nighttime water patrol in the St. Lucie River, when they were struck by another vessel, which hit the motor’s cowling and slid off the starboard side of the patrol vessel. The subject driving the boat was given standard field sobriety tasks and appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. Officer Brevik arrested and charged the subject with operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol. The subject was then processed into the Martin County Jail.

While conducting offshore vessel patrol, Officers Rogers, Carroll, Moss, and Morrow conducted an inspection of a vessel returning from offshore. Prior to being boarded, the subject was asked if he had any fish on board, and indicated he did not. Officer Rogers located three undersized red snapper in the bottom of a bucket, underneath a pile of trash on board the vessel. The subject, who had a history of fisheries violations, was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized red snapper and over the bag limit of red snapper. The illegal fish were then returned to the water at the conclusion of the inspection.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Allen received information that a dog had been killed by a snare at a residence in a neighborhood north of Okeechobee. Investigator Douglas and Officer Allen inspected the wooded area behind the residence and found a snare and five steel traps. At the residence, two raccoon skins were drying on stretchers. The suspect who lived at the residence was interviewed. He had a valid furbearer’s license and admitted he took two raccoons with the steel traps. After consulting with the Okeechobee County state attorney’s office, the suspect was issued a notice to appear in court for taking wildlife with steel traps.

Officer Allen was on patrol just after dark when he observed a vehicle and a boat trailer at the Kissimmee River and State Road 70. He went to the S-84 South Florida Water Management District structure where numerous instances of trespassing had occurred in the past and found two subjects trespassing and fishing on the structure behind several “No Trespassing” signs. The men were issued notices to appear in court for the violation.

While on patrol of the Kissimmee Prairie State Park, Officer Boulware and Lieutenant Strenth were advised by park staff that people were camping in the primitive camp area and had a vehicle with them. During a check of the area, four subjects and one truck were located at a campsite. After being contacted, they stated they had driven through an open gate at 8:30 pm and drove to the campsite. It was later learned they had come through a locked gate behind a registered camper and drove around a chained gate to gain access to this area. The subjects were escorted out and given citations for evasion of fees and hanging hammocks from the trees.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer LeBlanc responded to a derelict vessel call that was initiated by Officer Newman at the Stub Canal Boat Ramp, located at Gem Lake. Officer LeBlanc and a Good Samaritan removed a partially submerged PWC from the water. The registration numbers on the hull revealed that the vessel had been reported stolen. The HIN (hull identification number) was removed and he saw two, 2-inch holes cut into the hull. Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) Deputy Trentman arrived on the scene and confirmed that the PWC had been reported stolen. Deputy Trentman had the PWC towed to the PBSO compound for further investigation.

Officer Morrow saw a vehicle occupied by an elderly male driving erratically and running a red light in northern Palm Beach County. A traffic stop to investigate the welfare of the driver was initiated and a dispatch query of the vehicle tag revealed that the tag was expired and that the registered owner and driver had a suspended license. When he approached, he noticed a strong smell of marijuana emitting from the vehicle. The driver admitted to having marijuana in the vehicle, which was located after a search. In addition, the vehicle was found to have the registration sticker of another vehicle affixed to the license plate. The subject was then cited for possession of cannabis under 20 grams and for affixing an unassigned registration sticker and given written warnings reference driving while suspended, driving with an expired tag, and for running a red light. The vehicle was then transferred to a family member.

Officer Nasworth was duck hunting while off duty on Lake Okeechobee and saw two airboats, with two occupants each, hunting in his vicinity. The subjects began shooting ducks approximately twenty minutes before legal shooting hours and he made contact with dispatch and advised them to have an officer respond to the Lake Harbor boat ramp. The subjects left the area and Officer Allen arrived at the boat ramp where he made contact. Officer Nasworth responded to the boat ramp and went on duty to conduct the investigation. After reading the subjects their rights, they admitted to shooting before legal shooting hours. Officer Nasworth wrote all four subjects citations for taking or attempting to take waterfowl before legal shooting hours and provided them with a court date. Officer Allen addressed the license violations.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Officer Shermetaro was conducting license and resource inspections in Fort Pierce and saw several people fishing. Each individual was checked for compliance. One individual had an active warrant out of St. Lucie County and the subject was placed under arrest and transported to jail.

RESCUES
GLADES COUNTY

Officers Allen and Boulware, Investigators Lafoy, Patterson and Turner, Lieutenants Harris and Brown and Captain Suggs received information of an overdue boater in the Buckhead Ridge Canal System. He had launched his 10-foot jon boat the previous day and never returned. Ultimately, he was located safe and sound and stated that he had motor problems and spent the night on the boat.

HENDRY COUNTY

Officer Allen and Lieutenant Brown responded to assist FHP with a car accident where a car had rolled into a canal. The vehicle was pulled from the canal with no one in it. Divers searched the canal and did not locate the driver. The officers used UTVs to look in the wooded area and cane fields. The driver hasn’t been located and the investigation is ongoing.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Hankinson conducted manatee conservation patrol throughout the Jupiter and Loxahatchee River regulated manatee zones. Numerous boaters were educated and violations were addressed accordingly.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
GLADES COUNTY

Officer Alford spoke on the laws and regulations of FWC to a group of 20 people at a Hunter Safety Course at the Lykes Brother’s Office.

SOUTH B REGION
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

While performing dockside inspections at Marco River Marina, Officer Lugg observed a charter vessel returning to the dock. The captain began offloading fish onto a dockside cleaning table after his guests departed from his vessel. The officer approached the captain and performed a marine fisheries inspection. He found that the captain possessed two undersized spotted trout and an undersized pompano. The captain admitted to the violations and was cited accordingly.

Officers Arbogast, Kleis and Plussa were conducting a follow-up investigation to a derelict vessel case where they were attempting to locate the vessel owner over the course of several months. The officers were able to reach the vessel owner to review the items that were sent to him by mail. After reviewing the documents with the vessel owner, he was arrested for the charges related to the derelict vessel investigation. A subsequent search of the owner after his arrest revealed that he was in possession of cannabis and drug paraphernalia. The owner of the vessel was transported to jail and cited for five misdemeanor charges including storing a derelict vessel on state waters, storing a titled vessel on state waters without a hull identification number, failure to change registration or address of a vessel, possession of cannabis, and possession of drug paraphernalia. He also received three citations regarding the registration and navigational lights display relating to the vessel.

Lieutenants Mahoney, Sushil, Officers Arbogast, Lugg, Miller, Osorio-Borja, Polly, Reams and Thurkettle assisted the Collier County Sheriff’s Office in a detail focused on vehicle and vessel thefts during the early morning hours. Both agencies proactively patrolled I-75 and US-41 for several nights and mornings in an effort to identify and locate stolen vehicles and vessels transiting through Collier County. Several stops were conducted throughout the detail; however, no stolen vehicles or vessels were present.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Officers responded to Bill Bags State Park regarding a report of an attempted suicide. The caller was closely related to the individual and stated that he was in a terrible state of mind and armed with a knife. Upon arrival, FWC officers saw the individual struggling with an officer from another agency. Collectively, officers were able to subdue the individual without further incident. The individual was transported by Fire Rescue to an area hospital and detained due to his state of mind.

While on water patrol in Biscayne Bay, officers stopped a vessel for a marine fisheries inspection. At the conclusion, the officers discovered the occupants were in possession of an undersized cobia. The subject was cited accordingly.

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Piekenbrock and Rubenstein received a tip from Officer Brierley of the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service that a person was illegally camping in the refuge and was trespassing. He was asked to pick up his camp site and leave the refuge. He had moved his camp, but there was an unregistered motorcycle hidden in the woods near his camp. The officers ran the unregistered motorcycle and found the name of the owner. Officer Brierley made contact with the individual through telephone to meet to arrange getting his motorcycle out of the refuge. The individual was aware he had a warrant and took off running down US1 on Big Pine Key. Knowing he was hiding in the refuge, FWC Officers Rubenstein, Piekenbrock and Mason, US Fish and Wildlife Officers, and Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies searched the woods and located the subject hiding in the palmetto thickets. The subject was charged with resisting arrest without violence, possession of marijuana less than 20 grams and an active warrant for failure to appear out of Monroe County.

RESCUES
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

FWC officers were on water patrol when they were notified of a sailboat that was reported overdue from Crandon Park, in route to Watson Island Boat Ramp. The operator was the sole occupant of the vessel. During the voyage, he fell in the water and lost his cell phone while talking to his family member who was waiting for his arrival at the boat ramp. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) issued an emergency broadcast for all mariners to search for this vessel. The FWC officers were conducting search patterns and noticed a sailboat matching that description nearing the flats south of Fisherman’s Channel. The officers identified the vessel and positively confirmed it was the missing man. The subject was issued a PFD and safely escorted back to his family at the boat ramp.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Foell and Sapp attended Career Day at Saint Mary’s Basilica School in Key West. The Officers brought a patrol truck and vessel and explained the many roles of an FWC officer and the importance of regulations. There were approximately 300 children who attended the event, from Pre-Kindergarten to 8th grade.

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  If it feels good, do it omelet.
Posted by: sinbad - 02-07-2017, 01:15 PM - Forum: Big Bend Cuisine - No Replies

I just looked up Omelet in the dictionary. Omelet =s "Beaten egg pancake." Soooo, beaten eggs =s omelet. Dad had a theory about Omelets. He made them with whatever sounded good at the moment in them.

I tried chocolate chips once and, while tasty, it didn't "feel" like an omelet to me.

Lately, I have been adding a Tsp of various salad dressings as I beat the eggs. Yesterday I used Peppercorn Ranch and today I used Ken's Greek. The Peppercorn Ranch was pretty doggone good. Of course, I used shredded Cheddar Cheese and some Mozzarella too. Gotta have cheese for me.

I much prefer "real" cheese and always buy shredded for omelet making. I sometimes buy little bottles of real bacon bits to add to my omelet.
A little Salsa is a good addition. I often whip a little Cajun or Creole seasoning into the beaten eggs.
 
Saute diced onions and green peppers and add them to omelets. Sauteed onions and green peppers will keep in the fridge for several days so you can saute a bunch ahead of time to make breakfast prep faster and easier.

I buy hot home made sausage at the Inglis Food Ranch. They make it fresh each week and theirs is about the best around. If you can't get to Food Ranch, Jimmy Dean's hot sausage is good too. Fry it crisp ad break it up into tiny bits, drain and store a bunch in a Tupperware container. It will keep several days this way but it doesn't last long with me around. Add a Tsp of this to your Omelet.

If you live way up north, say above Tally, next spring, pull up some wild onions from your yard. These suckers are strong but they taste mighty fine when sauteed. When you pull them, don't wash them off or remove stems or roots. Store them in the vegetable bin of your fridge in a plastic bag. Clean them as you use them. They will keep for at least 2 months.

Let your imagination run wild when making omelets. Sometimes you strike out but even my worst concoctions were still edible.


Originally posted by capt ken 10/24/2006

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  Pickled Summer Salad. Dad's version.
Posted by: sinbad - 02-07-2017, 01:10 PM - Forum: Big Bend Cuisine - No Replies

Slice several very ripe Tomatos into chunks. (Dad never served a Tomato with the peel on)
Slice a large Vidalia Onion into rings. Slice Bell Pepper into strips.
Cucumbers if you like them sliced.
Sliced Cabbage.

Put all of this in a large PLASTIC or GLASS bowl and cover with salted water and 1 cup (MOL) of Cider Vinegar.

Chill for at least 2 hours.

Serve as is or mixed into a green salad.


Originally posted by capt ken 8/16/2006

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