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  FWC Enforcement Report June 9-15. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 06-20-2017, 02:44 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

Officer T. Basford was on land patrol near the Bailey Bridge in North Bay when he saw three subjects in an aluminum boat who appeared to be intoxicated and smoking marijuana. Officers N. Basford and Wicker arrived and approached the vessel. All three subjects on the vessel appeared to be impaired. A BUI investigation was conducted on the operator and, after he completed the standardized field sobriety tasks, the operator was taken into custody. A plastic bag containing less than 20 grams of marijuana and a glass pipe were seized. The operator claimed ownership of the seized evidence. At the jail, the operator provided two breath samples reading .219 and .223. He was booked into the Bay County Jail for operating a vessel with a breath alcohol level of .08 or higher and charged with possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

CALHOUN COUNTY

Officer Baber was conducting boating safety inspections at a boat ramp along the Apalachicola River when he noticed a vehicle towing a vessel with an expired registration. Before the boater launched the vessel, he walked over to speak to him about the registration and noticed the boat owner was very nervous and he could smell a strong odor of burnt cannabis coming from the vehicle. A consent search of the vehicle produced a plastic bag of cannabis and methamphetamine. The suspect was booked into jail for possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis and possession of methamphetamine.

When Officer Hayes approached a vehicle leaving a boat ramp along the Chipola River, the two occupants appeared nervous. A small plastic bag containing a crystal-like substance was in plain view. A deputy with the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department responded to assist. The substance tested positive for methamphetamine and the suspect was booked into the Calhoun County Jail.

CALHOUN COUNTY

Officers Cushing and Pettey were on federal water patrol in the Gulf of Mexico and issued one federal citation for possession of greater amberjack during closed season and two state citations for undersized red snapper.

While on park patrol within the Big Lagoon State Park, Officer Long saw a subject throwing a cast net near an area that is frequently used as an illegal access point into the park. After approaching the subject and accompanying him back to his vehicle to retrieve his fishing license and identification, a strong odor of cannabis could be smelled coming from inside the vehicle. The cannabis was seized and misdemeanor citations were issued for possession of cannabis under 20 grams. Warnings were issued for state park violations.

Officers Cushing and Pettey, with the assistance of Officer Tolbert, were patrolling state and federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and conducted a marine resource inspection of a vessel in federal waters. The persons on board stated that they knew they were in federal waters and were not allowed to have red snapper but undersized red snapper was found in their cooler. One of the individuals admitted to catching and keeping the red snapper. The appropriate action was taken for the violation.

Officers Cushing and Pettey saw a vessel in federal waters with two persons on board actively fishing. When asked if they had any fish on board, the owner of the vessel stated that they had one amberjack. During the resource inspection, an undersized greater amberjack was found during closed season. The appropriate action was taken for the violation.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

Officers Fletcher and Nelson were conducting vessel patrol before daylight in Apalachicola Bay and saw several commercial oyster vessels with a large harvest of oysters on the deck/cull board of the vessels. The appropriate action was taken for the harvest of oysters before daylight. The illegally harvested oysters were returned to the water.

GULF COUNTY

Officers M. Webb and Lipford conducted JEA patrol in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. During their patrol, they conducted numerous resource inspections targeting the enforcement federal reef fish regulations. Four separate inspections revealed violations regarding the possession of red snapper in federal waters during a closure, which resulted in the issuance of four citations.

Officers H. Webb and M. Webb conducted JEA patrol in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. While patrolling, they saw a recreational vessel actively fishing. As the officers approached, the passenger in front quickly started dumping red snapper over their starboard side of the vessel. The officers instructed the fishermen to stop dumping fish. There were four red snapper floating in the water, one of which was taken by a dolphin. The officers retrieved the other three with a net. When boarding, Officer H. Webb asked the captain if they had any more fish on board. The captain of the vessel said no, but upon inspection, six additional red snapper, two gray triggerfish and one greater amberjack were located in the fish box. Six of the nine red snapper were undersized and one of the two triggerfish was undersized. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

JACKSON COUNTY

Officers Little and Baber responded to a complaint in which a landowner had game camera photos of a suspect trespassing on his property. The officers backtracked the suspect’s tracks to a residence on an adjacent property. They located and interviewed the suspect, who was subsequently charged with trespass.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officers Ramos and McHenry were on vessel patrol in the Santa Rosa Sound and conducted a safety and resource inspection on a boat returning from offshore fishing. After a check of all required safety equipment, the operator stated they didn’t have any luck and that they had no fish on board. Officer Ramos received consent to look in the coolers and live wells. He didn’t locate any fish but discovered clues leading him to believe the operator was lying. He asked a passenger to move to the front of the boat and found a gray triggerfish hidden under her seat. The harvest of triggerfish is prohibited in Gulf waters for the remainder of 2017. The operator admitted he caught the fish. When asked for a fishing license, the man stated he had one but forgot to bring it with him. FWC dispatch confirmed that the man’s fishing license had been expired for a year. The man was issued a citation for the expired fishing license and a criminal citation with required court appearance for the harvest of triggerfish during the closed season.

Officer Lewis was patrolling in the Blackwater River State Forest when he saw two men and a woman getting ready to leave Krul Lake. When asked if they paid the Krul Lake day-use area fee, they said they had not. While speaking to the group, Officer Lewis smelled the odor of cannabis and asked the driver about it. The man retrieved a mason jar containing cannabis from the vehicle’s center console and handed it to the officer. The tag also was not assigned to the vehicle. The man admitted to possession of the cannabis and attaching the improper tag. The subject was charged with possession of not more than 20 grams of cannabis, possession of drug paraphernalia, and attaching tag not assigned. The subjects were issued warnings for not paying the day-use area fee.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Officer Gore was conducting boating safety inspections on Holmes Creek at Culpepper Landing when he encountered a vessel with two subjects cheering loudly and waving their hands in the air as they approached the ramp. The operator had difficulty showing his safety equipment and was very unsteady. Officer Gore performed standardized field sobriety tasks and determined that the subject was impaired. He was arrested and transported to the Washington County Jail where he refused the Intoxilyzer and was booked into jail for BUI.

RESCUES
OKALOOSA COUNTY

While on foot patrol at Wilderness Landing, Officer J. Rockwell received a complaint about two missing teenagers. The complainant stated that they were 13 and 16 years old and had been missing for over an hour after heading down river. Officer Rockwell notified dispatch and began to search a few known forest roads that lead to the river. In a joint effort with Officers Arnette and Jenks of the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, the officers located the missing teens two miles south of Wilderness Landing.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
ALACHUA COUNTY

Lieutenant Ferguson and Officer Troiano responded to a complaint of dogs running a young deer in a rural area neighborhood south of High Springs. The complainants met the officers and showed them where the dog had caught the spotted fawn. The owner’s information was on the dog’s collar. After receiving sworn written statements from the complainant, the officers made several attempts to contact the owner. The dog was eventually turned over to Alachua County Animal Control. Officer Troiano will be contacting the state attorney’s office for possible violations.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officer Johnston was on land patrol in a rural area of Columbia County when he saw a vehicle moving slowly along an adjacent public road. Officer Johnston noticed a spotlight being displayed from the passenger side of the vehicle illuminating an agricultural field. While Officer Johnston maintained surveillance, Officer Yates and Investigator Bembry arrived to assist. A traffic stop was conducted and the two occupants of the vehicle were discovered to be in possession of a .22 caliber scoped rifle loaded with hollow point ammunition, including one in the chamber. The driver was found to be driving on a revoked driver’s license as a habitual traffic violator. The passenger was determined to be a convicted felon and was in possession of an open alcoholic beverage. The driver was arrested and transported to the Columbia County Jail where he was booked for felony driving while license suspended or revoked and attempting to take deer at night with gun and light. The passenger received a citation for the open container and was released on the scene. A sworn complaint will be filed on the passenger for attempt to take deer at night with a gun and light. Pending further investigative efforts, an additional charge may be filed.

Officer Johnston was on foot patrol at the Montgomery Lake Fish Management Area when he saw a subject fishing with a rod and reel. The subject did not have a valid freshwater fishing license and had an active warrant for his arrest. The warrant was for failure to appear for a violation of parole hearing out of Columbia County, stemming from a previous arrest made by Officer Johnston for driving while license suspended or revoked on water management land. The no bond warrant was confirmed and the subject was transported by Officer Johnston to the Columbia County Jail where he was booked without incident. The subject also received a non-criminal citation for fishing without a freshwater fishing license.

Officer McDonald was traveling a well-traveled highway in Lake City when he saw a vehicle backing up to a county fence. A gate was lying on the ground behind the vehicle and a strap was attached to the gate and truck. The subject at first denied tampering with the fence, but later admitted to pulling it down so he could go fishing. The hinges to the gate were in the man’s vehicle, but no fishing pole was found. The back of the man’s vehicle contained other metals suspected to be sold as scrap. The suspect was issued a citation for criminal mischief and damage/injuring a fence. The suspect repaired the gate before leaving.

Officers Johnston, Yates and Investigator Bembry responded to the Fort White area in Columbia County to assist with a multi-agency manhunt for an inmate who escaped from a correctional facility in Hamilton County earlier in the day, stole a vehicle, and fled to Fort White where the vehicle was found abandoned at a residence. The subject was still believed to be in the area. FWC Pilot Cain and Officer Geib responded to the area and assisted from the air. The search was eventually called off that evening; however, the suspect was apprehended by deputies, without incident, a few days later.

HAMILTON COUNTY

Officers Johnston, McDonald, Yates and Cline assisted with a multi-agency manhunt in White Springs. A local bail bondsman was attempting to apprehend a suspect when the subject suddenly turned during a foot pursuit and fired a single shot from a handgun at the bail bondsman. The single shot missed the bail bondsman who ended the foot pursuit and called for additional help. The officers assisted with searching for the suspect for several hours with no success. The suspect was apprehended by deputies a few days later without incident.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROL
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers are diligently working area lakes for boating and resource compliance. Numerous citations and warnings have been issued over the last couple of weeks.

Officers have been working complaints in the local management areas for mudding and drinking alcohol while driving through the areas. Officer Reith issued some warnings and citations to help gain compliance. They will continue to patrol the areas for all violations.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

While on patrol, Investigator Horst saw a subject unload a cooler from his vessel onto a dock. During a resource inspection, the subject stated that the cooler contained sheepshead. The subject was in possession of 22 sheepshead and was issued a resource citation for possessing over the daily bag limit of sheepshead and a citation for not having a saltwater fishing license.

PUTNAM COUNTY

Officers Guirate, M. Jones, Campbell and Mason received a tip that members of the Putnam County Hunting Association were using dogs to run deer during the closed season. They responded to the area and found that there were dogs running deer at night during a closed season. Two individuals were found with the dogs and were cited for the violation. In addition, three citations were issued for possession of alcohol under 21 years of age.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LAKE COUNTY

Officers Phillips and Morrow gave a boating safety presentation at the Florida Scrub Jay Trail Youth Summer Camp to a group of approximately twenty children, ranging from ages nine to fifteen. The officers had a patrol vessel on display and educated the group on how to properly navigate a vessel in channels and restricted speed areas, vessel safety equipment requirements and rules and regulations on fishing in fresh and saltwater. At the end of the presentation, the officers discussed the job description and responsibilities of a conservation officer and shared some of their experiences with the group.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on patrol, Officers Berg and Gonzales received an anonymous call regarding an oversized, out-of-season snook being filleted at Williams Park Boat Ramp. Upon arrival, the complainants approached the officers and offered photographs of the suspects, including their vehicle tag numbers. The officers used the information given to locate the residence of the suspect. Upon arrival at the residence, Officer Berg read the suspect his Miranda rights. After questioning, the subject stated he had the fish inside his house. The officers collected the evidence and the subject was charged with harvesting out-of-season snook.

Officers Berg and Gonzales were conducting fisheries inspections along the Little Manatee River and discovered an undersized out-of-season snook and two undersized mangrove snapper in a subject’s cooler. The officers collected the evidence, and the subject was charged with harvesting out-of-season snook and issued multiple warnings.

While on land patrol, Officers Berg and Gonzales were conducting fisheries inspections along US 41. The officers discovered a truck parked in a high-crime area and awaited the occupants return. During the inspection, the suspect stated he caught a redfish right at 27 inches (maximum size limit). Inspection of the subject’s redfish revealed it was grossly oversized, measuring at 30 inches. The officers collected the evidence and the subject was cited accordingly.

PASCO COUNTY

Officer Balfour was on land patrol in Richloam Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when he came across a suspicious vehicle. He identified drugs in plain view in the rear seat of the vehicle. Officer Balfour decided to conduct surveillance and he also requested assistance from Officer Pulaski. The officers also learned the registered owner of the vehicle had a suspended license. After a short time, the vehicle occupants returned, and the officers stopped the vehicle. During the stop, Officer Balfour witnessed the passenger in the back seat throw the drugs out the window. The driver (registered owner) was issued a citation for driving with a suspended license. The passenger was arrested for possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis and resisting arrest without violence.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on foot patrol at the North Skyway Fishing Pier, Officer Bibeau contacted two individuals that were actively fishing to conduct a fisheries inspection. The two subjects told the officer that they didn’t have any fish and had only been fishing for a little while. Officer Bibeau asked to look inside the trunk of their vehicle since he saw one individual place something in the trunk and close it prior to the inspection. The subjects permitted the officer to inspect the vehicle and upon the inspection, a 16-inch gag grouper was found. One of the subjects admitted to catching the grouper and was given a misdemeanor citation for the violation.

While on land patrol near the North Skyway, Officer Bibeau saw two individuals that were actively spearfishing along the shoreline. Officer Bibeau watched the individuals from a concealed location, and contact was made with them as they returned to their vehicle to conduct a fisheries inspection. After the inspection, Officer Bibeau found one of the subjects to be in possession of a 23-inch cobia. Officer Bibeau wrote the subject a misdemeanor citation for the fisheries violation.

Officers Martinez and Klobuchar were on land patrol at the Fort DeSoto Boat Ramp when they saw a vessel coming into the boat ramp. The officers approached the vessel and learned that the three passengers of the vessel were returning from offshore fishing. Officer Klobuchar performed a resource inspection of the vessel, and found that the three subjects were in possession of eight, out-of-season gray triggerfish. All eight of the fish were under the legal-sized limit of 14 inches. The officers seized the fish, and Officer Klobuchar issued misdemeanor citations for possession of out-of-season gray triggerfish and warnings for possession of undersized triggerfish.

While on land patrol at Gandy Beach, Officers Martinez and Klobuchar saw a male and a female cleaning multiple fish on the shoreline. Officer Martinez approached the two subjects and could immediately identify one of the fish on the shoreline as a snook, which are currently out of season. Officer Martinez read the subjects their Miranda Warnings, and the female subject claimed possession of the snook. Officer Martinez measured the fish and found it to be 20 inches (legal size is 28-33 inches while in season). Officer Martinez issued the subject misdemeanor citations for being in possession of undersized and out of season snook.

Officers Martinez and Ludtke were on vessel patrol near Egmont Key State Park when they approached an anchored vessel which was actively fishing. While performing a resource inspection, the owner of the vessel advised that he was in possession of an undersized gag grouper. The officers seized the fish, measured it, and found it to be 14 inches (legal size for gag grouper is 24 inches). Officer Martinez educated the subjects on the importance of keeping only legal-sized fish and issued the subject a misdemeanor citation for being in possession of undersized gag grouper.

Officer Martinez was on land patrol at Treasure Island when he saw an SUV next to a seawall with multiple fishing poles sticking out of the trunk. Officer Martinez pulled behind the vehicle to see if the subjects inside had been fishing when the vehicle suddenly turned on, pulled away and did not stop for a stop sign. After witnessing numerous traffic violations, Officer Martinez performed a traffic stop. Immediately, the driver stated he did not have a driver license and the subject was slurring his speech and moving very slowly. The female passenger was also acting suspiciously. After both subjects were out of the vehicle, they gave consent to search the vehicle. Methamphetamine, numerous syringes, and other drug paraphernalia were found. Officers Enos and Alvis arrived on the scene to assist. Upon completion of the stop, the driver was arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance, misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence, and driving with a suspended license. The female was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

While on land patrol at the North Skyway Fishing Pier, Officers Caldwell and Ludtke conducted multiple resource inspections. Through the course of their inspections, they discovered an individual to be in possession of an approximately 12-inch gag grouper. The individual was cited for possession of an undersized gag grouper.

Officer Hinds and Lieutenant Laskowski were on land patrol near the Gandy Bridge when Officer Hinds noticed two individuals walking back to their car carrying a bucket. A redfish tail was visible above the top of the bucket. A subsequent resource inspection revealed one individual in possession of two redfish, one of which was oversized. The individual was cited for possession of over the bag limit and possession of oversized redfish.

SARASOTA COUNTY

Officer Brown was on patrol near the Cocoplum Waterway and noticed a man fishing the waterway. During a resource inspection, Officer Brown discovered that the individual had caught and kept a 25-inch snook out of season. The subject was issued a criminal citation and a notice to appear in court.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
PASCO COUNTY

Officers Bergwerff, Pulaski and FWC Biologist Gardener conducted an outreach event at a local marina. They presented information on boating safety, marine fisheries, and fishing regulations. Approximately 40 adults and 15 children attended the event.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Banks was on late-night patrol on State Road 84 in Fort Lauderdale when she saw individuals catching blue land crabs. After a fisheries inspection, one individual was cited for having over the legal bag limit of blue land crabs. The individual was permitted to keep the legal limit and, with the help of Officer Brock, 32 blue land crabs were released back to the mangroves alive.

Officers Brock and Banks responded to the Deerfield Beach Pier regarding a complaint of someone catching and keeping undersized mutton snapper. The officers conducted marine fisheries inspections on individuals at the pier. One individual was in possession of 2 undersized mutton snapper. Officer Brock issued the individual a citation for the violation.

Officers Grant and Brock were on patrol at the Dania Beach Pier conducting marine fisheries inspections. One individual was found to be in possession of 2 undersized mutton snapper. He was issued a citation and the fish were seized as evidence.

Officer Vacin was patrolling the beach area in central Fort Lauderdale when he saw a diver offshore that appeared to be spearfishing. As the individual exited the water, the officer conducted a marine fisheries inspection. The individual had indeed been spearfishing and was issued a notice to appear citation for possession of 2 undersized mutton snapper.

Investigator Luher, Lieutenant Bruening, Officer Coker and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Specialist Choi traveled by water to follow up on an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) complaint at Loggerhead Marina in Hollywood. The marina was storing, placing and discarding used oil inappropriately and without properly labeling used oil or any secondary containers. The marina manager was given clear and specific instruction to correct and come into compliance. The unannounced inspection revealed the marina was compliant with the direction DEP and FWC had given the marina manager the previous week.

MARTIN COUNTY

Officers Cobo, Meeks and Rogers were dispatched to a dog in distress inside Jonathan Dickinson State Park. A golden retriever was left by his owner inside a black SUV in the middle of the day with the windows slightly down. The dog was visibly nervous and panting very hard and had been left with no food or water. The owner of the dog was issued a citation for improper treatment of an animal and said he had been on a two-hour boat cruise.

GLADES COUNTY

Multiple FWC officers, investigators and supervisors responded to the report of a vessel accident on Fisheating Creek. A recreational airboat operating north of Highway 78 in Fisheating Creek discovered an overturned airboat resting on its side. One male subject was recovered from the water a short distance from the overturned airboat and was unresponsive. The victim was pronounced deceased on the scene by responding emergency medical personnel. He was the only occupant of the overturned airboat. The FWC is investigating the incident.

HENDRY COUNTY

Multiple FWC officers, investigators and supervisors responded to the report of a fatal gunshot wound to a subject reportedly engaged in a hunting activity. The incident occurred on private property. Upon arrival, a white male (deceased) was located with a gunshot wound to the chest. The incident is currently under investigation by a team of FWC investigators.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
MARTIN COUNTY

Officers Kirkland and Morrow responded to a complaint of an alligator underneath a resident’s vehicle. Upon their arrival, the officers utilized a catch pole and removed the alligator from underneath the vehicle. The alligator was released alive in an area away from the community.

RESCUES
BROWARD COUNTY

A report was received about a capsized vessel 1-2 miles off Dania Beach. The wind was approximately 25 knots with gusts of 30 and seas 4 to 6 feet. Officer Coker was operating the patrol vessel with Lieutenant McDonald managing radio traffic with FWC and other agencies on the scene. After approximately 10 minutes on the scene, Investigator Luher spotted one subject face down in the water and jumped into the water to retrieve the victim. She tilted the victim’s head back to establish an open airway in the rough conditions. The victim was transported on Fort Lauderdale’s Fire Rescue boat to the United State Coast Guard (USCG) station.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Morrow spoke with a group of high school students attending an annual Criminal Justice Camp, hosted by Florida Atlantic University, in Boca Raton. The campers were educated on the FWC’s mission and given the opportunity to ask questions.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

While on water patrol in the northern part of Biscayne Bay National Park, officers stopped a vessel entering the Biscayne Channel. The vessel was returning from the Bahamas and had been fishing for several days. During a boating safety inspection, officers asked if they were returning with fish on board. The captain of the vessel said “yes.” While inspecting whole fish in the cooler, they discovered what appeared to be fish filets in plastic bags. The captain stated that the fish were fileted in the Bahamas and consisted of grouper and snapper. The captain was cited for transporting fish from the Bahamas without leaving the skin intact. A total of 40 filets were counted.

FWC officers on water patrol stopped a vessel for violating a speed zone on the ICW entering the Miami River. While conducting a boating safety inspection, the officers discovered the vessel was smuggling 15 migrants. The operator/smuggler had the migrants concealed in the cabin of the vessel. The FWC officers contacted the USCG who took over the case.

FWC officers conducted “Operation Deep South” in the Southern and Rocky Glades. A total of 120 users were checked. The officers issued13 misdemeanor citations, 6 WMA infractions and 15 written warnings.

FWC officers conducted “Operation Zero Tolerance” in the waters of Miami-Dade. The officers issued 4 resource misdemeanor citations, including 12 undersized mutton snapper, 1 undersized nurse shark, 3 undersized vermillion snapper and 3 BUI citations.

FWC investigators provided back-up assistance to Miami-Dade Police Officer Garcia during the arrest of an individual that was aggressively resisting arrest. As Officer Garcia was struggling with the suspect on the ground, Investigators Corteguera and Nelson, who were across the street working a detail, noticed the physical struggle with the suspect and came over to assist in taking him into custody. Investigator Corteguera held the suspect’s legs in place while Investigator Nelson and Officer Garcia pulled the suspect’s arms behind his back and handcuffed him

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Sapp received a call from dispatch regarding a grounded vessel near Big Pine Key. The vessel operator was reported as being intoxicated, and nearly struck other vessels in the area. Officer Sapp located the vessel and conducted standard field sobriety tasks on the operator. Once in jail, the subject’s BAL was found to be .158 and .151, two hours after the initial contact with Officer Sapp. The subject was charged with boating while normal facilities were impaired, and for operating a vessel with a BAC at .08 or higher. The subject’s vessel was safely removed from the grounded position.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
MONROE COUNTY

The South B Region Dive Team members trained in conjunction with the Monroe County’s Sheriff’s Office Dive Team in Key Largo. The teams conducted a drift dive through Adam’s Cut in Key Largo. The divers picked up debris and other trash as they conducted their drift dive down the waterway. Officers Rafter and Schroth provided vessel support for the teams.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Curbelo and Bear Biologist Sarah Peltier visited Henry H. Filer Middle School in Miami. Officer Curbelo, a former student, was invited to speak. Officer Curbelo and Ms. Peltier gave presentations on bears, alligators and pythons, as well as allowing students to interact with juvenile alligators.

Officers Curbelo, Reams and Bear Biologist Sarah Peltier attended the Collier County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Club at Oakridge Middle School in Naples. The officers spoke to the students about bears, alligators, and pythons.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Dube gave a presentation to a summer camp group at the Islamorada Fishing Club. Officer Dube talked about the FWC’s core missions, being good stewards of our oceans and life jacket safety while enjoying paddleboard sports. The group consisted of approximately 25 campers, both boys and girls, along with some special needs campers. The campers were treated to a luncheon sponsored by the Islamorada Fishing Club.

Officer Carroll spoke with about 20 students at Key West Community College who are attending a summer camp for the week. Officer Carroll covered topics ranging from FWC's mission to fishing regulations and boater safety to the kids and counselors.

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  FWC Enforcement Report June 2-8. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 06-09-2017, 11:13 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

Officers N. Basford and Wicker were on water patrol in Watson Bayou when they received a call from dispatch regarding a woman who was being threatened and held hostage on a sailboat near Shell Island. The complainant stated that she was contacted by a girlfriend of hers who told her that she was being threatened and held hostage by a male subject on a white sailboat. The officers started canvassing the area, checking white sailboats, and identifying the male subjects on board. It was later determined that they were on a blue sailboat. The officers located the sailboat near the city marina and conducted a vessel stop. The female on board stated that she was not being threatened and she was not being held hostage. She said that the male subject earlier had seen her smoke a cigarette and told her their relationship was over and that he does not date smokers. She stated that since it was not her boat that she felt like she had nowhere to go. The male subject stated to the officers that he had seen her smoking and that he told her he was done dating her. She asked to be taken back to where he keeps his boat, but because of the high winds, they were not able to return to where the boat is kept. He was having a friend meet them at the city marina to take the female subject to her home. Charges will be filed on the female subject with the state attorney’s office for filing a false police report to law enforcement authorities.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

The FWC and partner agencies, Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office marine unit and security personnel, Okaloosa County Jail Processing Center, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), Escambia County Sheriff’s Office marine unit, Fort Walton Beach Police Department, Fort Walton Beach Fire and Rescue, Okaloosa Island Fire and Rescue, and Air Force Security Forces provided public safety for the 62nd Billy Bowlegs Pirates Festival. The joint efforts of law enforcement and first responders resulted in 199 vessel checks, 700 citizen contacts, 13 BUI arrests, 33 uniform boating citations issued, 35 written warnings issued, 9 fight interventions, 47 calls for service/public assistance, 10 medical responses/transports, 1 felony warrant arrest, 2 drug possessions, 6 intoxicated individuals secured at the drunk tent, 1 transported to the county jail, and
a person transported to the emergency room. No boating accidents occurred. Ten patients were assessed and received medical treatment.

Officers Corbin and Pifer responded to a complaint of a burglarized vehicle at Henderson Beach State Park. There were two vehicles, both 2011 Chevrolet Tahoes. No forced entry into either vehicle was evident. Both vehicle owners had secured their personal items and locked their vehicle. It is believed that access was obtained with the use of a remote universal fob. An intel report was completed and forwarded statewide to all Florida state parks.

Officers Corbin and Wilkenson were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections and state fisheries inspections in the Destin Pass and saw a vessel returning from the Gulf of Mexico. A fisheries inspection revealed an undersized scamp and red snapper fillets in a 4‑gallon plastic bag. The owner/operator was cited and issued notice to appear citations.

Officer Nichols did a follow-up with a homeowner who recently received a letter of notification regarding the intentional feeding of bears. Upon arrival, the officer noticed the homeowner not only failed to remove the existing bread and birdseed, but had placed additional feed down. Officer Nichols cited the homeowner with a written warning and will follow up with another compliance inspection.

Officer Corbin conducted a dockside commercial fisheries inspection/offload on a federal-documented vessel. The inspection revealed undersized red snapper and vermillion snapper. The inspection also revealed the crew harvested gray triggerfish during a closed season. After the offload was completed, Officer Corbin discovered five additional gray triggerfish that were shoved and hidden underneath a fish box. The operator admitted to hiding the fish from the officer. This commercial vessel/operator has been cited with four federal fisheries violations in the last seven months. A National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) law enforcement officer was dispatched and several federal charges are pending.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Maltais was a guest speaker at Duke Field. He spoke to base personnel regarding boating safety, BUI enforcement, boating accident reporting, local waterways and state parks in preparation for the busy boating season and summer holidays.

Officers Maltais and Jarvis participated in an outreach event with a local news channel. The news channel interviewed the officers regarding boating safety. The officers took the media crew on vessel patrol to Santa Rosa Sound (Brooks Bridge) and Crab Island where they conducted vessel stops and addressed a diver’s complaint call. The footage was aired the following day.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officers Johnston and Cline were on land patrol at Rum Island Park along the Santa Fe River when they discovered a subject with multiple felony warrants. The officers ran the subject’s vehicle registration for general investigative purposes and determined the tag attached to the vehicle was not assigned. A check through FCIC/NCIC also revealed the registered owner of the vehicle had active felony warrants. Officer Cline set out on foot along the Santa Fe River for a better vantage point to determine if the vehicle was occupied and if the occupant matched the physical description of the subject with the warrants. Officer Cline determined the vehicle was in fact occupied by the wanted subject. Shortly thereafter, both officers approached and detained the subject without incident. His identity and active warrants were confirmed. He was then transported by the officers and booked into the Columbia County Jail for four active felony warrants for failure to appear on multiple charges.

Officers Johnston and Cline were on patrol around Lake Desoto when, from a concealed location, they saw three subjects fishing with rods and reels. The officers made contact to conduct a resource/fishing license check. Officer Johnston recognized one subject from a previous contact and suspected he may have an active warrant for his arrest. The subject could not provide a fishing license, and FWC Dispatch reported the subject had an active warrant for failure to appear on an original charge of driving while license suspended or revoked (DWLS/R). The officers transported the subject and booked him into the Columbia County Jail. This was the subject’s second fishing license violation within 36 months which requires him to pay an enhanced fine amount. Officer Cline also issued another of the three subjects a citation for no freshwater fishing license.

Officer McDonald was on foot patrol in Kirby Pit when he encountered two individuals fishing. Kirby Pit is a lake on DEP lands and is closed to the public. Upon inspection, 12 largemouth bass were found on a stringer in the water. The female admitted to catching three of the bass and the male subject admitted to catching nine of the bass. Citations were issued for taking over the daily bag limit of black bass and no fishing license. Warnings were issued for trespassing on property other than a structure or conveyance. The fish were released alive.

LEVY COUNTY

Officers Johnston, Hilliard, Starling and Lieutenant Umhoefer conducted a targeted speed enforcement detail in the Manatee Springs State Park at the request of park management personnel. They had been receiving numerous complaints of excessive speeding on the main entry road leading to camping areas and around adjacent walking trails. During the detail, 39 vehicles were speed checked with radar and 11 citations were issued for exceeding the speed limit (in some cases double the posted limit). Park personnel reported that they received positive feedback from several park visitors after the detail.

DUVAL COUNTY

The Resource Protection Squad responded to the report of illegal harvest and possession of goliath grouper at a local marina. A plain-clothes officer responded and located the spot on a dock where a large fish had apparently been cleaned. The officer spoke to the manager who at first denied any knowledge of a fish being cleaned. When the manager’s attention was directed to the fish blood, fish slime and rather large grouper-looking scales stuck to his shirt, he admitted to harvesting and cleaning the fish. He was issued a misdemeanor notice to appear and more than 100 pounds of grouper meat was seized.

Officer Sapp and Lieutenant Conboy were on water patrol when they noticed a man in a kayak, in the middle of the ICW channel, waving his paddle in the air and yelling at passing boaters. When they got near the kayaker, Lieutenant Conboy asked the operator if he was ok. The subject told the officers that he was drunk. The kayaker was brought on board the patrol vessel and was given a series of field sobriety tasks. He performed poorly on the tasks and was handcuffed and arrested for BUI. While the officers were leaving the docks to take him to a patrol truck, the man became belligerent, kicked Officer Sapp and tried to run. Officer Sapp and Lieutenant Conboy restrained the subject, but he continued to yell and resist for a few minutes. Eventually, the subject was taken to the Duval County Jail where his breath alcohol was measured at over two and one-half times the legal limit. The subject was charged with BUI and resisting arrest with violence.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS

The Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Fincat conducted enforcement patrol in federal waters during the three-day recreation red snapper season, resulting in numerous vessel stops.

On the opening day, Officers Canfield, Boyer and NOAA’s Officer Widner were aboard the OPV Fincat just outside the Middle Grounds, and saw a charter vessel engaged in fishing. Officer Boyer boarded the vessel to conduct an inspection. Officer Boyer found one of the charter captains to be in possession of an American red snapper and the vessel had exceeded the one-day bag limit on the first day of fishing. After consulting with NOAA’s Officer Widner, the captain was issued a federal citation for charter vessel captain or crew in possession of an American red snapper and given a verbal warning for possession of more than the daily bag limit. Officer Boyer issued numerous boating safety warnings after several other vessel checks during this patrol.

On the second day of the season, Officers Canfield and Boyer were aboard the OPV Fincat in federal waters when a commercial sponge vessel was seen engaging in diving. During an inspection of the vessel, Officer Boyer located an undersized gag grouper. Officer Boyer issued the captain of the vessel a state citation for the violation. Later during the day, a stop was conducted on a recreation vessel which resulted in Officer Boyer issuing a federal citation for over the limit of red snapper and possession of a greater amberjack during the closed season. A separate recreational vessel stop resulted in Officer Boyer issuing a state warning for possession of an undersized gag grouper. Several other vessel checks resulted in Officer Boyer issuing boating safety warnings during this patrol.

On the last day of the season, Officers Canfield, Boyer and Fox were aboard the OPV Fincat in federal waters when, during a stop of a recreation vessel, Officer Boyer found the vessel to be over the limit of American red snapper. The captain of vessel was issued a state citation for the violation. Several other vessel checks were conducted and no other violations were found.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officers Miller and Graves stopped a vessel on the Banana River for violating a Manatee Zone. When the officers approached the operator of the vessel, they noticed that the vessel operator seemed to be under the influence of alcohol. The officers performed field sobriety tasks on the operator and determined that he was too impaired to operate a vessel. The operator was taken to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office East Precinct to give a sample of his breath. The operator of the vessel had a blood alcohol level of .152. He was arrested for BUI and taken to the Brevard County Jail.

Officers Miller and Graves were on water patrol on the Banana River. Officer Miller dropped Officer Graves off under the SR520 bridge so he could conduct a resource inspection on some fishermen. One subject was in possession of an undersized redfish and one subject in possession of an undersized trout. Both subjects denied catching the fish, saying that another fisherman gave them the fish. Officer Graves issued both subjects citations for possession of undersized fish.

While on airboat patrol, Officer Hadwin saw an individual throwing a cast net from the shoreline and harvesting a largemouth bass. A resource inspection revealed the individual had harvested four largemouth bass, two bluegill, and several tilapia. The individual was issued a citation for taking game fish by illegal method.

NOAA Office of Law Enforcement, in coordination with FWC’s OPV program, served a $7,285 notice of violation to the vessel captain and owner of a commercial fishing vessel. This fine stems from a 2016 case the OPV Sea Hawk made in April 2016. During that patrol, which was the day before the opening of the commercial amberjack season, FWC Officers Bohne and Luce boarded and documented more than 1,200 pounds of illegally harvested amberjack. The vessel had begun fishing before the legal season opened to beat the competition to the best fishing spots. In addition to protecting the resource, one of the main roles for FWC’s OPV program is to maintain a fair playing field for commercial fisherman.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

Officers Stelzer and Cybula were conducting water patrol of Sebastian Inlet State Park when a PWC was seen running carelessly at an excessive speed through a congested slow speed manatee protection area. A vessel stop was initiated and the operator appeared to be impaired. Seated field sobriety tasks were performed and the operator was placed under arrest for BUI and cited accordingly.

Officer Summers and Investigator Loeffler were on water patrol in Sebastian Inlet for Memorial Day weekend and noticed an individual operating a zodiac-style vessel in a bizarre manner. The individual was leaning over the port side of the vessel with half of his torso outside the boat and his head in the water with one hand on the motor. Officer Summers did a boater safety inspection and the operator was showing signs of impairment during the inspection. Officer Summers conducted field sobriety tasks that indicated signs of impairment. The subject was taken to the Indian River County Jail. Infractions were issued for refusal to submit to a breath test and for not having a life jacket on board his vessel.

MARION COUNTY

Officer Rice was patrolling the Ocala Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when he saw a vehicle parked near a pond. The officer went to the woodline and saw one subject fishing with a rod and reel and two subjects fishing with cane poles. Officer Dias was contacted to assist with surveillance from a plain-clothes capacity and saw the subject with the rod and reel catch multiple bass and put them on a stringer that already had bass on it. The subjects stopped fishing and began walking back to the vehicle. Officer Dias contacted Officer Rice and advised him they were leaving. Officer Rice encountered the individuals at their vehicle, but they did not have the stringer of fish. He walked down towards the water and saw the rod and reel leaning against a tree and the stringer of fish on the ground. There were ten black bass and one blue gill on the stringer. Post Miranda, one of the subjects admitted to catching nine of the bass. The subject was issued a notice to appear for over the bag limit of black bass and a warning for no freshwater fishing license.

ORANGE COUNTY

Officer Mendelson patrolled Tosohatchee WMA where he saw a set of headlights more than an hour after the WMA closed. During an inspection on the vehicle, Officer Mendelson saw a cooler with tilapia, black bass, and a cast net nearby in the bed of the truck. The black bass showed signs consistent with being taken by a cast net. The driver also admitted to taking the bass with the cast net. The individual was charged with illegal method of taking game fish and was issued a warning for being inside the WMA after dark.

SUMTER COUNTY

Officer Teal received a call about subjects lost in the Richloam WMA and responded to the area along with forestry personnel. When the subjects were found, Officer Teal went in search of the two vehicles. Both vehicles were found stuck deep in the state forest, far from a closed road. Both subjects were issued criminal citations for destruction of state lands by motor vehicle.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
SUMPTER COUNTY

Officer Sweet steered a Target Enforcement Action for public safety in the Richloam Wildlife Management Area involving two regions – the Northeast Region and the Southwest Region. Officers from the Northeast Region involved were Officers Sweet, Morrow, Teal, Phillips and Lieutenant Chase. Officers from the Southwest Region were Officers Balfour, Spradlin, and Lieutenant Parisoe. A total of 11 Citations and 22 warnings were issued during two nights including charges of destruction of state lands, driving on closed roads, ATVs, possession of alcohol, and litter. The multi-regional enforcement detail was very successful.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
LEE COUNTY

Lieutenant Spoede and Officers Perry and Winton were on water patrol and conducted a vessel stop in New Pass on a vessel with an expired registration sticker displayed. During their investigation, the officers noticed several empty beer cans on the deck of the boat and saw that the operator displayed signs of impairment. The officers took the suspect on their patrol vessel and conducted field sobriety tasks. After completing the tasks, the officers determined the suspect was impaired and he was placed under arrest for BUI. He was charged with operating a vessel while normal faculties impaired, and refusal to provide a breath sample.

Officers Bradshaw and Price received a tip that several subjects were cast netting snook at a popular local fishing location. The officers arrived on the scene, set up surveillance of the area, and quickly identified three men matching the description from the tip. When the three men gathered up their fishing gear and began to leave the area, the officers approached them. A search of their vehicle revealed five undersized snook hidden in the trunk. Appropriate charges were filed.

PASCO COUNTY

Lieutenant Parisoe responded to a complaint of juveniles removing a gopher tortoise from the water at a local park. While in route, he learned the juveniles had left the area and returned to a nearby residence. Lieutenant Parisoe was successful in speaking with the juveniles at the residence. He also located two gopher tortoises that were kept as pets. Lieutenant Parisoe took possession of the tortoises and educated the juveniles about the law. The tortoises were released at a local permitted facility.

While patrolling the waters of Pasco County, Officer Williams saw a vessel with several individuals fishing. As the vessel was leaving the area, Officer Williams conducted a resource inspection and found an out-of-season snook in the live well. The operator of the vessel was issued a citation for the violation and the snook was seized.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on water patrol, Officers Pettifer and Martinez stopped a vessel in Bunces Pass. During a resource inspection, the officers found one 21-inch gag grouper. The operator of the vessel admitted to catching the grouper and was cited for possession of gag grouper during a closed season and possession of undersized gag grouper.

While on land patrol, Lieutenant Laskowski saw two individuals in a vessel fishing. During a subsequent inspection, three gag grouper were discovered in a cooler measuring at 14, 15.5 and 15.5 inches in length. One of the individuals admitted to catching all three grouper. He was issued a citation for possession of undersized gag grouper and given a written warning for possession of over the bag limit of gag grouper.

While on vessel patrol offshore of Bunces Pass, Officers Caldwell and Ludtke conducted a vessel stop on an inbound vessel returning from a fishing trip. A resource inspection was conducted which revealed one undersized gag grouper measuring 16 inches. Post Miranda, one of the subjects on board admitted to catching the grouper and was cited accordingly for possession of undersized gag grouper. The minimum size limit for gag grouper in the Gulf of Mexico is currently 24 inches.

The OPV Gulf Sentry completed a three-day patrol for the opening of the federal waters red snapper season. The crew consisted of Officers Smith, Burks, Martin, Alvis and Bergwerff. The officers worked the commercial reef fish fleet as well as recreational fishermen. The OPV Gulf Sentry covered a large area ranging from Pinellas County north to Dixie County, out to approximately 88 nautical miles west of the coast. The officers also patrolled the Florida Middle Grounds, Edges and the Desoto Canyon. The OPV Gulf Sentry had the following activity: 51.5 Joint Enforcement Agreement (JEA) hours, 30 vessel inspections, four federal commercial cases, three federal recreational cases, three state recreational cases, and several warnings. Some of the violations consisted of closed season red snapper, over the bag limit of red snapper, red snapper as bait, undersized red snapper, closed season amberjack, reef fish not in whole condition and over the bag limit of grouper.

Officers Alvis, Bergwerff and Burks were conducting fisheries inspections of vessels off-shore. During an inspection, they discovered anglers who harvested a greater amberjack out of season and over the bag limit of American red snapper. As they pulled alongside the vessel, they noticed an individual surreptitiously drop a fish in the water. The fish was later recovered and identified as a red snapper. Also, the bait the subjects were using was cut red snapper. Officer Bergwerff issued several citations and warnings for taking over the daily bag limit, harvest during closed season, interference with an FWC officer, and not landing snapper in whole condition. The unlawful fish were seized as evidence.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
PASCO COUNTY

Officers from the Southwest Region assisted personnel from the Northeast Region with a detail in the Richloam WMA. The officers checked numerous personnel for compliance with forestry regulations. Over several days, the officers issued numerous warnings and citations for violations.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LEE COUNTY

Officer Sehl conducted a hunter’s education seminar at the local Bass Pro Shops where she got the opportunity to interact with the public and discuss laws pertaining to hunting. She also answered questions about local WMAs, FWC’s quota system, and general hunting regulations.

PASCO COUNTY

Officer Pulaski conducted an outreach event at Crews Lake Park and educated 30 children that were participating in the summer day camp. The day camp is offered by Pasco County Parks and Recreation and Natural Resources Department. During the outreach, Officer Pulaski taught the children (ages 8-12) the duties and responsibilities of an FWC officer, resource rules and regulations, and the important role of the FWC biologists and resource conservation. Finally, Officer Pulaski assisted in instructing archery classes to the students along with certified National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) instructors.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Lieutenants Carcasses, Laubenberger, Investigator Teems, and several officers responded to a boating accident involving two vessels. The accident resulted in two fatalities and several injuries. The incident occurred on the Intracoastal Waterway in Fort Lauderdale. FWC is handling the boating accident investigation.

Lieutenants Carcasses, Harp, McDonald, Investigators Coffin, Teems, Luher and several officers responded to the report of a capsized vessel with multiple subjects in the water offshore of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. A Good Samaritan on a vessel rescued one of the three subjects who was located near the sunken vessel. The remaining two subjects were later located by responding FWC and Fire Rescue vessels and were pronounced deceased a short time later. The FWC is handling the boating accident investigation.

Captain Hodges and Officer Brock were on water patrol in central Broward County when they conducted a vessel stop on a vessel violating a wake zone. With information gathered, Officer Brock placed the operator of the vessel under arrest for BUI. The operator was transported to the Broward County Jail without incident.

Officers Ryan and Banks conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle in western Broward County. The occupants were previously trespassing and fishing in a posted area of the storm treatment area. Officer Ryan discovered that one juvenile in the vehicle had been reported as a missing juvenile. He transported the person to the Margate Police Department, and the juvenile was reunited with his parent.

Lieutenant Laubenberger and Officers Brock and Vacin were on water patrol just offshore of the Broward/Miami-Dade county line. They conducted a marine fisheries inspection on an individual spearfishing. Officer Brock issued the individual a criminal citation for possession of an undersized mutton snapper. One undersized mutton snapper was seized as evidence.

HENDRY COUNTY

Officer Nasworth was conducting patrol in the stormwater treatment area when he saw a subject trespassing. Officer Nasworth approached the subject and discovered he also had multiple warrants out of Hendry County. Officer Nasworth confirmed the warrants with dispatch and placed the subject under arrest. Officer Nasworth transported the subject to the Hendry County Jail for the outstanding warrants and issued the subject a warning for trespassing.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Investigators and officers investigated possible gill net violations in the St Lucie and Indian River counties during the mackerel migration season. Intelligence gathered by investigators and officers indicated that a suspect was possibly fishing with a gill net. Subsequently, an arrest warrant was filed for a suspect for the charge of carriage of proscribed nets across Florida waters. Investigator Patterson booked the subject into the St. Lucie County Jail on the outstanding warrant.

RESCUES
BROWARD COUNTY

Captain Hodges, Lieutenant Laubenberger, and Officers Brock, Vacin, Banks, Ryan and Defeo were having a squad briefing late at night at the Marina Boat Ramp at Mizell-Johnson State Park. The meeting had just ended when all officers heard a faint voice. They listened and made out a faint scream for help. All Officers responded by foot, by boat and by vehicle. Officers Vacin, Ryan and Brock ran into the water at the beach and reached a female as she was about to go under. They successfully pulled her to safety and onto the beach. The Hollywood Fire Department responded and transported her to the hospital.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
GLADES COUNTY

Lieutenant Brown, Officer Nasworth and Officer Worrell participated in the Hurricane Preparedness Day in Moore Haven. Officers Worrell and Nasworth brought a swamp buggy for display. Lieutenant Brown, Officer Nasworth and Officer Worrell spoke with several citizens and had positive interactions with them.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Araujo was on foot patrol near the Jolly Bridge in Marco Island when he saw a subject fishing from shore. He saw a small cooler and a bucket of shrimp near the subect, and asked if he had any fish. The subject said no. When asked to see inside his cooler, the subject opened and closed the cooler before Officer Araujo could see inside. When the subject opened the cooler the second time, the officer saw a white bag in the bottom, and concealed beneath were four undersized mangrove snapper. The subject also stated he had a fishing license, but did not have it with him. A license check revealed that his license had expired in 2015. The subject was cited accordingly.

MONROE COUNTY
Officer Garcia was patrolling northbound on US1 near mile marker 54 in Marathon. He saw a vehicle almost go onto the sidewalk on the northbound lane. Officer Garcia gave dispatch a description of the vehicle along with the tag number. The vehicle came back as a stolen van out of Jensen Beach, FL. Lieutenant Cox, along with Officers Carroll, Piekenbrock and Garcia conducted a high-risk felony stop on the vehicle and detained the driver with neither party being injured. While conducting an inventory search on the vehicle, Officer Carroll discovered a machete hidden behind the passenger seat. The driver of the stolen vehicle was charged with grand theft of a vehicle, possession of a concealed weapon, driving with a suspended license with knowledge, careless driving, not producing a driver’s license and was transported to jail.

Officers Hettel, Rubenstein and Lieutenant Payne responded to a call regarding a large tarpon being harvested from a local commercial dock on Stock Island. Upon arrival, the 5 individuals stated there was no tarpon, only a yellowtail snapper. Having found tarpon scales in the vessel, Lieutenant Payne went in the water with mask and fins to look for evidence. Under the vessel were the guts of a large fish. After searching the area and the transport truck, a large tarpon carcass was found in the commercial truck under ice. The captain of the vessel admitted to harvesting the large tarpon and cutting it up. The captain was arrested and taken to Stock Island Jail and cited for 4 misdemeanors.

Officer Pestka was on land patrol near the Channel 5 fishing bridge and noticed 2 men on the east side under the bridge near the sea wall. One male subject was actively fishing while the other male subject was seated, but both were near fishing equipment and a large red cooler. She asked the subjects if they had any luck and they indicated that they had only caught small fish. Officer Peska searched the red cooler and found 11 undersized schoolmaster snapper and 5 undersized yellowtail snapper. Both men were charged with possession of the undersized snapper and failing to possess a valid fishing license.

RESCUES
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Carroll was dispatched to a call of multiple men in the water after a boat sank near Marathon. Officer Carroll rode to the scene with the local USCG Marathon response team, and arrived at where the vessel was sinking and three males were using it to keep themselves above water. The officers pulled the subjects on board and the owner stated that they were at anchor when a wave came over the stern and caused the batteries and bilge to fail after the vessel was swamped. Once the boat was swamped, it slowly took on more water which caused it to sink. All the passengers were transported to shore and no injuries were reported. The vessel was recovered the following day by a commercial salvage company.

Officers Swensson and Sutter responded to an overdue boater call near Card Sound in North Key Largo. A teenager had taken a jet ski and told his father he would meet him at an area beach. When the subject never made it to the beach, the father called FWC. Pilots Willman and Perez began a search of the Card Sound area, including the many nearby creeks. Officers Swensson and Sutter began searching the ocean side as they worked their way into Card Sound. Officer Swensson spotted a jet ski, matching the description given by dispatch, aground on a flat. The officers positioned the patrol vessel as close to the flat as they could. Officer Swensson walked out to the individual and identified him as the overdue boater. He then helped the subject push the jet ski from the flat. The subject stated that he had been stuck for almost 3 hours and the tide had been falling. Once the jet ski was removed from the flat, the subject was escorted back to his father safely.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Yurewitch and Plussa were on patrol when they received a call about an alligator inside a hallway in an East Naples condo complex. When the officers arrived, they discovered a 9 ½ foot alligator blocking a doorway in the entry way of the condo building. The officers secured the alligator utilizing techniques they learned in their recent alligator handling training, and turned the alligator over to the licensed trapper.

Officers Yurewitch, Plussa and Arbogast assisted FWC, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Mote Marine Laboratory biologists in releasing “Frank,” a recently rehabilitated Green Sea Turtle. “Frank” was transported to a remote area of Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge and successfully released back into the wild.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
MONROE COUNTY

Lieutenant Lyne (Dive Team Leader) and Officers Rafter, Baumgartner (Dive Team) and Investigator Daniels, along with USCG Station Islamorada, joined forces at the Whale Harbor Sandbar in Islamorada for an after-holiday clean-up effort. With the high level of visitors over the Memorial Day weekend, it’s not uncommon for trash to accumulate on the sandbar, detrimental to the environment. Marine life mistakes the plastics for food and people visiting the sandbar risk injuries from broken bottles and cans.

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  FWC Enforcement Report May 26-June 1. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 06-06-2017, 12:04 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

Investigator Thomas received a complaint regarding a 12-foot tiger shark that had been landed on the Bay County Pier earlier in the week. The complainant reported that, after being caught with hook and line, the subjects put additional lines its head and tail and, with the help of nineteen people, pulled the shark up and over the rail onto the pier. The shark lied on the pier for approximately six minutes while people sat on its back and had their picture taken. The shark was then released by dropping it approximately twenty-two feet to the water below. The subjects stated that the shark swam off upon being released. Appropriate citations and four written warnings were issued for possession, harvest and landing of a prohibited species of shark.

Officers Hellett and Alsobrooks conducted a vessel stop in St. Andrews Bay near the Panama City Port. Both the operator of the vessel and the passenger appeared to be intoxicated. While trying to conduct a BUI investigation on the operator, the passenger was verbally abusive to the officers. The operator agreed to perform field sobriety tasks and was subsequently arrested for BUI. Officer Hellett asked the operator if he was a member of SeaTow and the operator answered “yes.” Officer Hellet asked dispatch to contact SeaTow to come and get the vessel and female passenger. When SeaTow requested the operator’s member number, the operator told officer Hellett that it was on his key ring in his boat. As Officer Hellett stepped onto the operator’s vessel, the female passenger told the officer to get off her boat and pushed the officer. The female passenger was then arrested for interfering with an officer and resisting arrest without violence. Both subjects were transported to the Bay County Jail. The operator gave breath samples at the jail, which were .113 for both samples, and was charged with BUI with a breath alcohol level (BAL) of .08 or higher.

While patrolling in federal waters approximately 12 miles southwest of Panama City on board the OPV Vigilance, Officers Rockwell, Cushing and Land located a charter vessel headed south further into federal waters. While making way toward the vessel, it turned around and headed due north abruptly. The officers proceeded to the charter vessel rapidly and stopped it at approximately 10.5 miles offshore. During the inspection, the vessel and occupants were found to be on an active charter trip and in possession of red snapper during closed season. The captain did not possess a federal reef fish permit or a valid charter license. The appropriate action was taken to address the violations.

ESCAMBIA COUNTY

While on water patrol, Officer Cushing conducted a fisheries inspection on a recreational fishing vessel entering Bayou Chico. A large red drum was protruding from a cooler, and he confirmed who caught the fish and that they had knowledge of the regulations. The red drum measured 35 inches and a citation was issued for the violation. Another individual was issued a warning for an undersized red snapper.

While on vessel patrol aboard the Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Vigilance, Officers Cushing, Land, Nelson and Rockwell conduced an inspection of a commercial shrimping vessel in the Pensacola Bay area. During an inspection of the vessel’s Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs), it was revealed that one of the nets being fished had a TED that had the netting around it sewed in a manner that would not allow a turtle to pass through the TED and out of the net as intended. The appropriate action was taken in regards to the violation and the TED was fixed by the shrimping vessel’s crew prior to departure of the officers.

While on vessel patrol in Big Lagoon State Park, Officers Clark and Long approached a vessel after noticing the operator throw a cigarette into the water. They initiated a vessel stop and while talking with the operator, he showed signs of impairment. Officer Clark conducted field sobriety tasks and determined the operator was impaired. The operator was taken into custody and transported to the Escambia County Jail where he refused to provide a breath sample. The operator was booked into Escambia County Jail and cited for BUI and refusal to submit a breath test. He was also issued a warning for littering.

Lieutenant Hahr was working in the Perdido River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) at Fillingim Landing and saw several subjects drinking beer. Two of the men smoked a cannabis cigarette and placed it in a backpack. As they were leaving, Lieutenant Lambert stopped them in the parking lot. The officers located three cannabis cigarettes and issued the two men a notice to appear for possession of not more than 20 grams of cannabis.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

While patrolling in the Apalachicola Bay on board the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow, Officers Boyd and Nelson located seven commercial shrimping vessels. During the boarding of those vessels, the officers inspected the catch, gear, and licenses. Three of the vessels had TEDs with illegal dimensions. The appropriate action was taken for the violations and the vessels were instructed to fix their gear to prevent any drownings of sea turtles.

While patrolling in the Gulf of Mexico on board the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow, Officers Boyd and Nelson located a large commercial shrimping vessel just south of St. Vincent Island. They watched the vessel for approximately 30 minutes while conducting another vessel inspection. Upon completion of the vessel stop and approach of the shrimping vessel, they recognized that the vessel was one that typically uses 4 nets simultaneously for offshore shrimping use. The vessel was boarded in nearshore waters and upon hauling the gear, the vessel was found to be trawling with 4 large nets. The nets were measured and found to be over 2,000 square feet a piece, thus exceeding the 500 square feet maximum. The nets had additional measurements that exceeded legal thresholds and inspection of their catch revealed 5 undersized Spanish Mackerel. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico on board the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow, Officers Boyd and Nelson located two vessels together in federal waters south of St. George Island. Upon inspection of the vessels, the occupants of one vessel were found to be in possession of red snapper and gag grouper during federal closure. The other vessel was found to be in possession of red snapper during federal closure. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico on board the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow, Officers Boyd and Nelson located a vessel approximately 11 miles south of St. George Island. Upon inspection of the vessel, the occupants were found to be in possession of red snapper during federal closure, lane snapper not landed in whole condition and use of reef fish for bait. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico on board the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Boyd and Nelson located a vessel approximately 12 miles south of East Pass. Upon inspection, the occupants were found to be in possession of red snapper and gray triggerfish during federal closure. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico on board the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow, Officers Boyd and Nelson located a vessel approximately 11 miles south of St. George Island. Upon inspection, the occupants of the vessel were found to be in possession of red snapper during federal closure and were using cut up red snapper for bait. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers conducted vessel patrol throughout the Memorial Day holiday weekend. There were approximately 1,000 recreational and commercial vessels each day. Officers conducted boating safety inspections and Officers Bartlett, Pifer and Wilkenson made four 4 BUI arrests. Officers Pifer, Corbin, Jarvis and Investigator Schafer investigated 4 separate boating accidents. Citations were issued for no life jackets, violation of idle speed zone, expired vessel registration, livery violations and underage boat operators.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officers Clark, Hutchinson and Long were in Blackwater State Forest checking fisheries and alcohol violations when they approached two individuals on a sand bar. One male was fishing and could not produce a valid freshwater fishing license. They also saw open containers of alcohol. Officer Long found the subjects in possession of 8 grams of Methamphetamine, numerous pills, cash and paraphernalia. Both subjects were placed in custody and transported to the Santa Rosa County Jail. They were charged with a total of seven felonies, three misdemeanors and two infractions.

Officer Lewis was on patrol in Blackwater River State Forest at a primitive campsite when he saw an adult male, adult female and two children camping. The officer saw alcoholic beverages and glass containers within their campsite, and explained to them that those items were prohibited in the area. The children were sleeping in the tent, and the officer could smell a strong odor of cannabis emanating from the tent. The officer explained the odor to the adults. The adult female retrieved cannabis and paraphernalia items from the tent and stated that the items belonged to her. Officer Lewis seized the cannabis and paraphernalia from the female, and issued her a notice to appear for possession of cannabis not more than 20 grams, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The officer issued them both warnings for the alcoholic beverages and glass bottles.

Officers McHenry and Ramos were patrolling the Perdido River WMA and saw two Jeeps enter the WMA. Almost immediately after leaving the paved road, they began to fish-tail and drive in a careless manner. When they came across a large clearing used for horse trailers, each of the vehicles began cutting donuts in the sand, leaving large ruts and destroying the recreation area. The officers stopped both vehicles and citations were issued for the violations. One of the suspects did not have a valid driver’s license and received the corresponding criminal citation.

While on vessel patrol in Escambia Bay, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) notified Officer Ramos that they had received a distress call from a woman on board a sailboat. She stated that her husband, who was operating the vessel, was extremely intoxicated and she was fearful for her safety. The USCG reported that they heard the man make multiple threats to his wife while she was speaking. The USCG relayed identifying information of the vessel to Officer Ramos, enabling him to locate the vessel underway in open water approximately 20 minutes later. The USCG launched a cutter to assist Officer Ramos at the sailboat. Officer Ramos conducted a BUI investigation of the operator of the vessel. The vessel operator was highly uncooperative and subsequently taken into custody due to extreme signs of impairment. He was transported to a nearby boat ramp and taken to the Santa Rosa County Jail where he was booked for BUI.

RESCUES
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Bartlett responded to a report of a vessel passenger who fell off a personal watercraft (PWC) at the Marler Bridge. The distressed swimmer was located, but he lost sight of her when she went underneath the water’s surface. He located her quickly when she briefly resurfaced and pulled her from the water and onto his patrol vessel.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officer Stanley found five large bags of garbage and an old TV dumped on the side of a dirt road in Alachua County. After digging through the garbage, he found three names and three different addresses. Officer Stanley tracked down and interviewed several subjects. Two of the subjects admitted to the violation and gave sworn written statements. Sworn complaints for misdemeanor dumping were filed with the state attorney’s office.

Officer Stanley received a phone call from a member of a hunting club who stated that someone had dumped a large amount of garbage at one of their main gates. He located the garbage and found several items that belonged to one individual. The individual was contacted and informed that they had moved and the house was for sale. The realtor was contacted and they provided the name of the person who was paid to clean the house. Officer Stanley met with one subject who admitted to taking payment and dumping the garbage on the side of the road. Charges were filed for felony dumping with the state attorney’s office.

Officers Troiano and Reith worked area lakes over the holiday weekend. With an unusually large number of people fishing area lakes, the officers saw several fishermen catching specks on Lochloosa Lake. After observation, they began stopping vessels for fishing licenses and safety gear. One vessel had 71 specks with only two fishermen on boat. After a brief conversation, one of the fishermen admitted that the 21 fish over the limit were their fish. The individual was cited for over the daily bag limit and the fish were properly disposed of.

CITRUS COUNTY

Officers targeted impaired boaters during the holiday weekend and conducted 15 impaired boater investigations, which resulted in six BUI arrests and multiple boating safety citations and warnings. One BUI arrest resulted in an additional charge of resisting with violence when the impaired operator became physically resistant to the officers’ attempt to arrest him. The subject attempted to jump overboard while handcuffed. The subject was subdued and later transported to jail.

Numerous other arrests included: two possessions of alcohol of persons under 21; possession of cannabis under 20 grams; possession of redfish over the slot limit; and three boating accidents. There was one search and rescue for a missing boat operator. The operator was later reported to have abandoned the vessel at the ramp and failed to inform FWC.

DIXIE COUNTY

Officer Butler received information from a local landowner about subjects actively trespassing on his property. K-9 Officer Wiggins was asked to assist in the investigation and saw two subjects actively trespassing on the property. Both subjects were issued a notice to appear for the violation.

Lieutenant Futch, Officers Allen, Butler and Wilder received information that commercial oyster harvesters were harvesting oysters from prohibited waters in Dixie County. The officers began surveillance on the area and determined several subjects were harvesting oysters from prohibited waters. Appropriate citations were issued for the violations.

DUVAL COUNTY

Captain Angiuli and Officer Shearer were conducting surveillance in an unmarked vessel and spotted a vessel on plane under the Beach Boulevard Bridge in a restricted speed zone. The vessel slowed when the operator saw a marked FWC vessel conducting a vessel stop nearby. Captain Angiuli and Officer Shearer conducted a vessel stop on the speeding vessel and noted that the driver appeared to have been drinking. The vessel was escorted to a nearby dock to address the violation where further signs of impairment were detected. The subject admitted to consuming alcoholic beverages and all seated field sobriety tasks indicated impairment. He was transported to jail and booked for BUI.

LEVY COUNTY

Officers Fox and Johnston were on patrol and conducting vessel safety/resource inspections at the main boat ramp in Cedar Key during the Memorial Day weekend. During one inspection, the captain of the vessel informed Officers Fox and Johnston that he had four black tip sharks inside his cooler. The officers saw three black tip sharks in whole condition and two fillets from an additional black tip shark. The captain was issued a notice to appear for over the bag limit of sharks.

Officer Fox was on patrol in Cedar Key near the main boat ramp when he heard a vessel revving its engine. The vessel was traveling at a high rate of speed and nearly collided with another vessel in a narrow channel near the boat ramp. It was also navigating erratically near the shore where several children were playing in the water. During the subsequent vessel stop, the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage was immediately smelled from the operator’s breath. The operator was asked and agreed to perform seated field sobriety tasks. The operator performed poorly and was arrested for operating a vessel while impaired. The vessel was towed to the boat ramp where Officers Johnston, Starling and Lieutenant Umhoefer assisted with the investigation. The operator later refused to provide a breath sample and was transported to the Levy County Jail.

Lieutenant Umhoefer performed a vessel stop during the Memorial Day weekend and conducted a safety inspection and resource check. When asked if there were any fish on board, the captain of the vessel said he and his fishing companion had three sharks in his cooler. Lieutenant Umhoefer seized one bonnet head shark and the captain of the vessel retained two blacktip sharks (legal bag limit). The appropriate citations were issued to the captain for over the daily bag limit.

Officer Schulz was conducting a vessel safety and resource inspection on a boat with three male occupants. When the owner/operator opened a cooler for inspection, Officer Schulz noted a 13-inch spotted sea trout and a 13.5-inch gag grouper among the numerous fish in the cooler. The undersized spotted sea trout (must be a minimum of 15 inches) and gag grouper (must be a minimum of 24 inches) were seized for evidence and misdemeanor citations were issued to the captain who claimed both fish.

Officers Willis and Fox were on water patrol on the Withlacoochee River when they saw a vessel speeding through the manatee zone. The officers stopped the vessel for this violation and discovered the vessel had fish on board. Officer Willis inspected the cooler containing fish and found the subjects to be in possession of three undersized spotted seatrout. The operator was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized spotted seatrout. The undersized seatrout were seized and documented as evidence.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Officers Wilcox, Robson, Albritton, Lieutenant Guy and K-9 Officer Anderson responded to the Lower Econfina WMA regarding a report of a suspicious vehicle. K-9 Officer Anderson located a male subject near his vehicle at the creek cleaning sand from his arms and out of breath. A female was located swimming down the river. Further investigation revealed that the subjects were actively digging and collecting artifacts on state land. When the subjects saw the officers, they attempted to flee the dig site on foot. Officer Anderson deployed his K-9 partner and located the dig site with tools still present, and located the female’s shoes where she jumped into the creek to clean up. Both subjects were charged with two felonies and two misdemeanors each. Several artifacts were seized as evidence.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers were busy on all lakes over the holiday weekend. The officers issued several citations and warnings for boating violations. They also responded to complaints regarding a five-foot monitor lizard walking through an apartment complex in Gainesville and shots being fired in San Felasco State Park. The gunshots were on private property. Paynes Prairie State Park had hundreds of people walking the trails to view and observe all the alligators, bison and mustangs that live in the area. With water levels at extremely low levels, large alligators sunning had some of the trails blocked. All individuals made it back safely after waiting for the alligators to move back into the water.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officer Troiano assisted Investigator Holmes with a public speaking event in Alachua County. The event included topics on the duties of a FWC officer and boating safety gear and laws.

RESCUES
DIXIE COUNTY

Lieutenant Futch and Officer Allen were patrolling the Suwannee River during the Memorial Day weekend when they saw a vessel stop and the passengers began waving them over. Upon their approach, they discovered a female on board who had just been struck in the leg by a jumping sturgeon. The officers administered first aid and cautioned the boaters to continue to be on the lookout for jumping sturgeon, especially during this time of year.

LEVY COUNTY

Officers Johnston and Schulz were on water patrol on the Suwannee River during the holiday weekend when a vessel approached them and reported that two occupants on their vessel had been struck by a Gulf Sturgeon. The officers saw a middle-aged male on the front of the vessel with abrasions on his stomach and leg. A juvenile on the vessel had also been struck in the head by the sturgeon and moderate swelling was evident. The officers quickly rendered first aid and escorted the vessel to the nearest boat ramp. Dixie County EMS and fire personnel quickly responded to the scene and treated the two patients. Both patients were released by EMS and went to the hospital in their personal vehicle. The boating accident is currently under investigation.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

While on foot patrol at Sebastian Inlet State Park, Officer Balgo received information that an individual was keeping undersized fish and placing them in his vehicle. After getting a description of the individual and his vehicle, a fisheries inspection was conducted. One undersized mutton snapper and one undersized sheepshead were found. Proper citations were issued to the individual.

While on foot patrol at Freddie Patrick Boat Ramp, Officer Balgo saw a vessel come in from the south jetty. A fisheries inspection revealed that the individual had four undersized mangrove snapper, two undersized black drum, one undersized mutton snapper, and one undersized sheepshead. Proper citations were issued to the individual.

While on foot patrol under the SR520 causeway, Officers Balgo and J. Humphrey saw an individual catch one large black drum and place it by his vehicle. Shortly after, the same individual caught another large black drum and placed it by his vehicle. After performing a fisheries inspection, both black drum were found to be over 24 inches. Proper citations were issued to the individual.

LAKE COUNTY

Lieutenant Chase and Officer Teal were contacted in April by park staff at Lake Louisa State Park about a subject who tried to cash a gift card that was not activated. The subject returned the following day with another gift card and rented a cabin for three days. During the three days, it was discovered that the gift card was obtained with a worthless check. The park asked the subject to leave and after she checked out, park staff found her cabin had extensive damage on the inside. Upon further investigation, Officer Teal obtained an arrest warrant for defrauding an innkeeper for more than $300 and criminal mischief for more than $1,000.

Officer Morrow received information that a subject was taking gopher tortoises off State Roads 44 and 46A. He located the subject and immediately noticed two gopher tortoises inside a green plastic tote container and a rifle in the cab section of the truck. In the distance, Officer Morrow spotted a subject shoveling dirt. As he got closer, he saw that the subject was shoving a large stick down the hole of an active gopher tortoise burrow. The subject was approached and admitted that he was trying to catch another gopher tortoise and was going to take it home to eat. Upon closer inspection of the gopher tortoises, it was discovered that one was injured. Lieutenant Tye arrived on the scene and took possession of the injured tortoise and transported it to the Florida Wild Animal Hospital in Deland. The subject was charged with the unlawful possession of a gopher tortoise.

MARION COUNTY

Officer Rice was conducting water patrol on Lake Weir when he saw a vessel not displaying a boating safety decal. He approached the two subjects on the vessel to conduct a boating safety inspection. During the inspection, Officer Rice saw that the operator’s eyes were bloodshot and watery. He could smell a strong odor of alcohol coming from the operator and noticed the subject’s speech was slurred. While walking up the boat ramp, the officer saw that the subject was unsteady on his feet and staggering. Field sobriety tasks were conducted and the subject was determined to be under the influence and was arrested. The subject provided two breath samples with results of .260 and .264. He was transported to the Marion County Jail and booked for BUI.

Officer Rice was conducting water patrol on Lake Weir when he saw a vessel improperly displaying the registration decal. He encountered three subjects on the vessel to address the violation and conduct a boating safety inspection. During the inspection, the operator was very unsteady on his feet and used the sides of the boat to hold himself up. The officer saw that the operator’s eyes were bloodshot and watery and could smell a strong odor of alcohol on his breath. While walking up the boat ramp, the subject was staggering and stumbled over his feet. He also had to use poles along the boat dock to brace himself as he walked. Field sobriety tasks were conducted and the subject was determined to be under the influence. The operator was placed under arrest and transported to the Marion County Jail for BUI. At the jail, the subject refused to provide a breath sample.

Officers M. Jones, Bernard and Lieutenant Dickson investigated the report of the theft of dead-head logs from Chapman Logging of the TV Series “Ax Men.” An arrest warrant was acquired and served on a subject for grand theft.

K-9 Officer Simpson and Officer Barber conducted a vessel inspection in Salt Springs Run. The operator of the PWC was found to be impaired and was charged with BUI.

K-9 Officer Simpson, and Officers Barber and Bernard were on vessel patrol in Salt Springs Run when they noticed the smell of burning marijuana. They located the vessel the smell was coming from and encountered the persons on board. One female was charged with possession of cocaine, possession of cannabis under 20 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia. Two males were charged with possession of cannabis under 20 grams.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officers Sapp and Haskins responded to a residence in Deland after receiving a report of a fresh alligator head on the front porch. The officers arrived and saw the alligator head on the porch where the reporting party said it would be. The head showed evidence of a gunshot or bang stick wound. When questioned, the homeowner said he found the head and brought it home for his daughter. He was cited for unlawful possession of alligator parts.

Officer Ward was on patrol at Deleon Springs State Park when he saw a suspicious vehicle leaving the parking lot. He ran the license plate and the tag came back as stolen out of Deland. Officer Ward initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle and found that the operator had no driver’s license. A computer check of the vehicle identification number showed that it was not stolen, but that it was not currently registered. The operator was arrested and booked into the Volusia County Jail for knowingly driving on a suspended license, operating an unregistered vehicle and petit theft.

Officers Sapp and Haskins were patrolling the St. John’s River on Memorial Day weekend when they stopped a PWC violating the Astor slow speed zone. During the stop, the officers detected signs of impairment from the operator. After conducting standard field sobriety tasks, the officers placed the operator under arrest for BUI. He was transported and booked into the Volusia County Jail where he refused to give a breath sample.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Balgo and Lieutenant Davis attended a youth angler fishing outreach at Kiwanis Island Park. They handed out fishing and boating regulations and answered questions. Approximately 80 kids attended the event.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Lieutenant Frantz contacted a vessel that was coming from a sand bar party. The operator showed signs of impairment, and admitted to drinking eight beers during the day. The operator was arrested for BUI and transported to Charlotte County Jail.

DESOTO COUNTY

A statewide investigation resulted in the arrest of five men from Arcadia, and executed search warrants. The five men were charged with illegal take of alligator, alligator eggs, and conspiracy to commit racketeering. Many items were seized during this investigation.

HIGHLANDS COUNTY

Officers Infante, Adams, Smith, Investigator Ervin and Lieutenant Fugate were floating off Bishop Park Boat Ramp on Lake June when they noticed a large vessel approaching on plane. The operator did not alter his course until the vessel was near the officers. Lieutenant Fugate and Officer Infante followed the vessel to shore to conduct a boating safety inspection. Officer Infante conducted field sobriety tasks on the individual that revealed the operator’s normal faculties were impaired. The individual was arrested for BUI and Highlands County Sheriff’s deputies transported him to jail.

Officer Adams responded to a boating accident with injuries involving two personal watercraft. The accident occurred on Lake Isis in Avon Park. He is conducting an ongoing investigation.

During the Memorial Day weekend, Officer Infante and Lieutenant Fugate were patrolling Lake June’s busy sandbar. One evening, they stopped a pontoon vessel with nine people on board who had been drinking throughout the day, including the captain. Seated field sobriety tasks were administered on the captain of the vessel and he was determined to be impaired. Officer Infante transported the individual to the Highlands County Jail where he provided a breath sample of .144, almost twice the legal limit.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on water patrol near Beer Can Island, Lieutenants Laskowski and Van Trees stopped a vessel for a boating safety inspection. After completing the vessel inspection and noticing some indicators of impairment, Lieutenant Laskowski asked the operator to do some seated field sobriety tasks to make sure he was okay to drive the vessel. The tasks revealed the operator was impaired and he was then arrested for BUI. The operator refused to give a sample of his breath to determine his breath alcohol content and was transported to and booked into the Hillsborough County Jail.

While on foot patrol at Cypress Point Park in Tampa, Lieutenant Van Trees saw three individuals wade fishing just off the beach. He watched them from a concealed position and waited for them to return to the beach. When the men began to pack up their belongings, he approached the subjects and identified himself, at which point one subject threw a bait bucket down off the seawall and out of sight. When asked if they caught any fish, the subjects said they did not have any. When asked about the bait bucket that was thrown down, the subjects said it just had bait in it. An inspection of the bait bucket revealed an 11-inch spotted sea trout and stone crab inside. The subject with the bait bucket was cited for possession of undersized spotted sea trout and possession of out-of-season stone crab, and warned for possession of whole stone crab and possession of undersized stone crab.

LEE COUNTY

While on patrol around the boat ramp at Pineland Marina, Officer Hardgrove saw a vessel pull up to the dock and moor up. Upon approaching the vessel, he asked the captain if they had any fish on board. The captain responded that they had some grunts, snapper and grouper on board. Three gray triggerfish, all of which were under the legal minimum length of 14 inches fork length, were found. The captain was issued a notice to appear for possession of undersized gray triggerfish and possession of out-of-season gray triggerfish.

While on patrol at the Punta Rassa Boat Ramp, Officer Hardgrove saw a vessel pull up to the boat ramp dock and moor up. A resource inspection revealed five gray triggerfish, all of which were under the legal minimum length of 14 inches fork length. The captain was issued a notice to appear for possession of undersized gray triggerfish and possession of out-of-season gray triggerfish.

Officer Hardgrove was patrolling the boat ramp at Pineland Marina when he saw a vessel pulling up to the dock and mooring up. A resource inspection of the cooler revealed an undersized gray triggerfish and two undersized yellowtail snapper. The subjects were both issued a notice to appear for possession of undersized gray triggerfish, possession of out-of-season gray triggerfish, and possession of undersized yellowtail snapper. Additionally, both subjects were issued written warnings for not having valid saltwater fishing licenses.

MANATEE COUNTY

While Officer Davidson and Lieutenant Hinds were on water patrol around Long Boat Pass, they stopped and performed a boating safety inspection on a vessel transiting the pass. The vessel had numerous safety violations and the operator was also found to be in possession of cannabis. The operator was given warnings for his safety violations and a criminal citation and court date for the possession of cannabis.

Officer Dalton had just returned to his patrol truck from a day of water patrol when he got a call from dispatch, who advised him that an individual on Long Boat Key was keeping snook off the beach. The subject was in possession of two undersized and out-of-season snook. Officer Dalton cited the subject criminally for possession of snook out of season, and gave him a warning for over the bag limit of snook and undersized snook. The subject must appear in court for his violation.

Officers Dalton, Davidson and Lieutenant Hinds responded to a fight that broke out on the sand bar in front of Jew Fish Key. The three officers, with the help of Long Boat Key Police Department and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Department, broke up the fight and arrested two of the instigators. While breaking up the fight, Officer Davidson was shoved by both subjects, and a sixteen-year-old girl was struck in the face by one of the subjects. Subsequently, the two men were charged for battery on a Law Enforcement Officer, resisting, causing an affray, and the one subject that struck the sixteen-year-old was charged with child abuse. Both were taken to jail.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land patrol in Tierra Verde, Officer Bibeau saw a group of individuals that were actively fishing from the seawall. At the conclusion of a resource inspection, he located a 12-inch gag grouper. Officer Bibeau wrote one of the individuals a citation for possession of undersized and out-of-season gag grouper.

Officers Burks and Smith were on patrol in full uniform and utilizing an unmarked vessel during the Memorial Day weekend. The officers inspected numerous boats for fishing and boating safety violations. They also arrested two operators for BUI.

While on water patrol at Bunces Pass, Officers Martinez and Pettifer conducted a resource inspection on a vessel that was returning from offshore. The operator of the vessel advised he only had lane snapper on board. Officer Martinez requested to see his fish; at which point the operator opened the cooler revealing a gag grouper. The grouper was out of season and undersized. After being read his Miranda Rights, the operator admitted to catching the grouper and knowing the rules. The subject was cited accordingly for his violations.

Officers Pettifer, Alvis, Bibler and Enos were on water patrol when they received a call from St. Petersburg Police Department about an intoxicated operator at the Maximo Boat Ramp. Officer Pettifer approached the subject and asked the subject if he would do seated field sobriety tasks since he had reason to believe he was impaired. The subject became belligerent with the officers and, while falling over, continued to refuse to complete any sobriety tasks. The subject was placed under arrest and refused to give a sample of his breath to determine his breath alcohol content. The operator was booked into the Pinellas County Jail for BUI.

While on foot patrol at the North Skyway Fishing Pier, Officer Bibeau contacted two individuals that were actively fishing to conduct a fisheries inspection. The two subjects told the officer that they didn’t have any fish and had only been fishing for a little bit. Officer Bibeau asked to look inside the trunk of their vehicle since he saw one individual place something in the trunk and close it prior to the inspection. The subjects permitted Officer Bibeau to inspect the vehicle and, after the inspection, he found a 16-inch gag grouper. One of the subjects admitted to catching the grouper and was given a misdemeanor citation for the violations.

Officer Bibeau was on land patrol near the North Skyway Fishing Pier when he saw two individuals that were actively spearfishing along the shoreline. Officer Bibeau watched the individuals from a concealed location and contacted them as they returned to their vehicle to conduct a fisheries inspection. After the inspection, Officer Bibeau found one of the subjects to be in possession of a 23-inch cobia. Officer Bibeau wrote the subject a misdemeanor citation for the fisheries violation.

While on water patrol near Tierra Verde, Officer Bibler saw a jet ski violating a slow speed zone. Officer Bibler initiated a stop to address the violation and noticed the operator was quite nervous. It was found that the operator had an out-of-county warrant and was booked into the Pinellas County Jail.

POLK COUNTY

Officer Carter was patrolling the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes during the Memorial Day weekend when he saw a vessel try to leave Lake Howard with the vessel still anchored. During a vessel stop, signs of impairment were evident. After conducting field sobriety tasks, the operator was arrested for BUI.

Officers Earls and Young were patrolling Lake Shipp during the Memorial Day weekend when they saw a vessel with a navigation light violation. During a vessel stop, signs of impairment were evident. After conducting field sobriety tasks, the operator was arrested for BUI.

Lieutenant Brooks and Detective Farrell of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office were on water patrol during the Memorial Day weekend when they saw a vessel with improperly spaced registration numbers and no boating safety decal. Lieutenant Brooks and Detective Farrell conducted a vessel stop and saw signs of impairment. After conducting field sobriety tasks, the operator was arrested for BUI.

RESCUES
HIGHLANDS COUNTY

Lieutenant Fugate, Bontrager, Brooks, Officers Cloud, Smith and Stephens responded to Lake June to search for a missing person who disappeared while swimming. The Southwest Dive Team responded to assist Highlands County Dive Team on searching for the missing swimmer. Using the sector scan sonar, the dive team recovered the missing swimmer. A Highlands County Sheriff’s deputy is conducting the death investigation.

LEE COUNTY

Over the Memorial Day weekend, officers and investigators responded to a single-vessel boating accident that occurred on the Caloosahatchee River, resulting in serious injuries. The vessel was coming up on a plane in the Caloosahatchee River near Jaycee Park when the vessel abruptly turned hard to the side causing the operator and one passenger to be ejected into the water. The injured parties were transported to a local hospital. This is an active and ongoing boating accident investigation.

During the Memorial Day weekend, officers and investigators responded to another single-vessel boating accident that occurred on the Caloosahatchee River, also with serious injuries. The vessel struck the fender system of the Midpoint Bridge, ejecting two juveniles. Both juveniles were recovered from the water and all injured occupants were transported to a local hospital for evaluation. One of the passengers, a juvenile, was pronounced deceased at the scene. This is an active and ongoing boating accident investigation.

POLK COUNTY

Lieutenant Brooks and Detective Farrell of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office were on water patrol during the Memorial Day weekend when they received a request to assist with a subject making suicidal threats and attempting to drown himself on Lake Fox. Lieutenant Brooks and Detective Farrell recovered the subject from the water and the subject was Baker Acted.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
PASCO COUNTY

During the Memorial Day weekend, officers provided an enhanced presence in the Pasco County area by checking numerous vessels for boating safety compliance. The officers also assisted with the arrest of an impaired vessel operator, and responded to the report of a stolen vessel that occurred on Anclote Key Preserve State Park.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LEE COUNTY

K-9 Officer Collazo and Officer Stanley participated in an outreach event at St. Michael’s School in Fort Myers. Officer Collazo conducted a K-9 demonstration and Officer Stanley spoke about the Burmese Python population in South Florida. K-9 Rosco was popular with the students and a 10-foot Burmese Python was brought in as an aid for the talk about non-native species.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Tarr saw a group of individuals fishing from Highway US 27. While performing a fisheries inspection, one of the individuals was found to have four warrants out of Broward County. The subject was arrested and booked into Broward County Jail.

MARTIN COUNTY

While on foot patrol at a boat ramp, Officer Morrow and Investigator Patterson encountered a subject who was driving erratically through the parking lot, nearly striking a truck with vessel in tow. The officers initiated a traffic stop, at which time the subject appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. Following completion of field sobriety tasks, the subject was then transported to the Martin County Jail. He provided a breath sample and was determined to be over twice the legal limit. The subject was charged with DUI.

During a routine traffic stop, Officer Morrow detected the odor of marijuana emitting from inside the vehicle. Upon being questioned about the odor, the subject admitted to possession and indicated he had marijuana in the vehicle. Officer Morrow then located two large containers of marijuana, weighing 79.4 grams, a scale, and a grinder. The subject was charged accordingly and the illegal items were seized and placed into evidence.

While conducting fisheries inspections at the Stuart Causeway, Officers Morrow and Cobo encountered a subject who was found to have multiple warrants out of two counties for charges ranging from burglary to reckless driving. The subject was taken into custody and booked into the Martin County Jail without incident.

Officers Morrow and Cobo responded to a report of a subject who was illegally harvesting undersized snook. The reporting party stated that the subject had left the area, but provided the license plate number of the suspect. Officer Morrow then responded to the subject’s residence where she saw the subject unloading the back of his pickup truck. While speaking with the subject, Officer Morrow heard a loud thumping sound coming from the back of the subject’s vehicle, consistent with the sound of a fish out of water. She then asked the subject about what fish he had in his possession, and the subject walked to the bed of his truck and removed a sheepshead (which was determined to be undersized) and a sand perch. Officer Morrow then inspected the bed of the truck and saw two, 20-inch snook covered in sand in a plastic bag. The subject was then issued three misdemeanor citations for two counts of undersized snook and one count of over the bag limit of snook, and three warnings for an expired fishing license, an expired snook stamp, and an undersized sheepshead. The illegal fish were seized and returned to the resource.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officers Allen and Keen found a boat moored near E-Lock on the Kissimmee River and encountered three subjects trespassing and fishing on the lock. Two of the subjects stated they were in their boat and saw the third subject catching sunshine bass from the lock and could not resist trespassing on the lock themselves to catch the fish. All three were issued notices to appear in court for trespassing on a South Florida Water Management District Water Control Structure.

Officers Allen and Keen checked three subjects fishing near the Okee-Tantie Boat Ramp. One of the subjects stated he had caught some fish and indicated they were in a cooler in his vehicle. Officer Allen inspected four black bass in the cooler and found two that were 19 inches long and one that was 22 inches long. The daily bag limit for bass 16 inches or greater is one. The subject received a notice to appear in court for the violation.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

While on patrol in western Broward/ Palm Beach County, Officer Tarr saw an individual stop on a levee, pull a rifle from the back of his vehicle and discharge several rounds into a canal system in the direction of US 27. Officer Tarr stopped the individual and an inspection revealed an AK 47 assault rifle. The individual who discharged the rifle was arrested and booked into the Belle Glades Jail on charges of public discharge of a firearm and exhibiting a firearm in a careless manner. The assault rifle, a 30-round magazine and 9 rounds of ammunition were seized as evidence. The subject was also a convicted felon out of Georgia and an additional charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon was later filed with the state attorney’s office.

Officers Spradling, Godward and Mclendon patrolled from Peanut Island to the Boynton Beach Inlet over the holiday weekend. The officers performed search and rescues, assisted a swimmer in distress, rescued people from an overturned jet ski and issued numerous boating safety and resource citations/warnings.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Investigator Turner conducted patrols at the Fort Pierce Inlet State Park. During the 3-day holiday weekend, he issued 2 resource-related warnings, 12 traffic-related warnings, 20 traffic-related citations, 1 arrest for operating a motor vehicle with no driver’s license, 1 arrest by active warrant, 2 arrests for possession of marijuana less than 20 grams and 2 arrests for possession of drug paraphernalia.

RESCUES
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Alford saw a female subject on the side of Highway 27 at Lake Harbor with her two young children. The woman was pulling her children in a wagon and was visibly in distress. Officer Alford pulled over to see if he could be of assistance. The family had no water and was walking to Belle Glade. Officer Alford provided water and had the children sit in his truck to cool off while he talked with their mother. The female subject had already called 911 due to fatigue and a deputy was in route. Officer Worrell arrived to assist. Officers Alford and Worrell assisted the Palm Beach County deputy in transporting the family to Belle Glade.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
PALM BEACH COUNTY

At the annual Palm Beach County A.S.I.S. Law Enforcement Awards banquet, Duty Officer Brianne Muniz was nominated for and won the Christine Braswell PEERS Award (in honor of the Delray Beach Police Officer that was killed in April). Brianne was accompanied to the event by Captain Ardelean and Lieutenant Haworth. Every state and local law enforcement agency in Palm Beach County was represented, with more than 500 people in attendance. It was an outstanding honor for Duty Officer Muniz and the FWC.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Barringer and Lieutenant Mahoney conducted a fisheries and boating safety inspection on a vessel in Gordon’s Pass. During the inspection, multiple boating safety equipment violations were found. A resource inspection revealed six undersized gray (mangrove) snapper. The average size of snapper was around eight inches in total length. Multiple citations were issued and the mangrove snapper were released alive.

Lieutenant Shea was conducting resource patrol near Tiger Tail Beach, in Marco Island, when he saw subjects fishing with cast nets near the mangroves. As he watched, two of the subjects produced a monofilament entanglement net (gill net) and began working the area. Lieutenant Shea requested backup units and Lieutenants Sushil, Bulger, Officers Johnson, Lugg and Osorio responded to the area. Lieutenant Sushil captured photos of the subjects working the illegal net, but when the subjects were detained on the beach, they did not have the net in their possession. Lieutenant Bulger and Officer Lugg began searching the area, and located the net partially submerged in knee-deep water. The illegal net and 10 mullet were seized as evidence and the subjects were cited accordingly.

Officers Yurewitch, Plussa, and Kleis were conducting holiday weekend water patrol near Marco Island and saw a pontoon vessel drifting in Marco River with multiple people in the water. They conducted a vessel stop on the rental vessel and found multiple safety violations regarding safety equipment. Rental companies failing to equip vessels properly and failing to provide adequate pre-ride instruction as to their use are both misdemeanor criminal violations in the State of Florida. Officers followed the vessel back to the livery (rental facility) and discussed the violations with the owner. Officer Yurewitch issued him a combination of citations and warnings for the violations.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Officers concentrated their efforts on boating safety over the busy Memorial Day holiday weekend. They collectively issued 262 uniform boating citations, 184 warnings, 48 citations, 10 misdemeanor citations and arrested 15 suspects for BUI. In addition, the officers worked 12 boating accidents over the weekend and were an integral part of the marine security detail for the Miami Beach Air and Sea show.

MONROE COUNTY

Investigative Lieutenant Peters and Investigator J. Munkelt were on routine plain-clothes vessel patrol when they saw a subject snorkeling in the water without a dive flag and with a spear gun in an area where spearfishing is prohibited. Investigator. D. Munkelt and Resource Protection Officer (RPO) Garrison were also in the area on plain-clothes vessel patrol. RPO Garrison was dropped off on shore out of the subject’s sight. The subject in the water passed a bag up to a subject on land. RPO Garrison met the subjects in the parking area and gained consent to search the cooler. The subjects possessed 5 out-of-season, undersized, and wrung Spiny Lobster tails. One of the lobster tails had a puncture mark consistent with it being speared. The cooler also contained 3 oversized speared angelfish and 3 oversized speared parrotfish. RPO Garrison issued them citations accordingly.

Investigator Adams and Officer Wagner were on water patrol in an unmarked vessel when Investigator Adams saw an individual snorkeling near the shoreline without a dive flag. Investigator Adams dropped Officer Wagner on land around nearby so he could conduct a resource inspection. Officer Wagner inspected the cooler and found a bag with four speared lobster. The individual was issued four criminal charges for undersized lobster speared out of season and not using a measuring device. He was also issued three citations for no licenses and no dive flag.

Investigator Munkelt and RPO Garrison were in plain clothes at the Channel 5 Bridge as they watched a group of people snorkeling. RPO Garrison saw an individual exit the water carrying a silver-handled, green mesh net containing wrung lobster tails. Once onshore, he watched the man walk behind some mangroves and place the net under a wooden plank in the rocks. After retrieving the mesh bag, RPO Garrison found 12 undersized, wrung lobster tails and placed the subject under arrest and transported him to Monroe County Jail in Marathon. He was charged with possession of 12 spiny lobster out of season, possession of 12 wrung tails on the waters of the state and possession of 12 undersized lobster.

Officers Richards, Mattson and Foell were on board the OPV Interceptor patrolling off shore south of Big Pine Key when they stopped a commercial trap boat with stone crab traps on board. During a fisheries inspection, the officers located out-of-season stone crab, noted improper vessel identification markings and confirmed the vessel did not have authorization to possess stone crab traps on the water and out of season. The subjects were cited and booked into the Monroe County Jail.

Officers Hettel and Way were called by dispatch to assist an Animal Control Officer and the Director of the Florida Keys Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to assist them with a case in the Key West area. The officers met with and took them out to check on a dog and cat that were left on a vessel. The man on board was arrested for 4 misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals.

Officers Baumgartner and Schroth responded to Carysfort Lighthouse after hearing the report of a vessel collision over VHF radio. Witness statements from all parties involved concluded that the operator of a 35-foot Rampage yacht was pulling anchor when the operator left the vessel’s helm while the vessel was still in reverse. The operator’s actions resulted in the Rampage colliding with two vessels at anchor, a 43-foot Azimut and a 31-foot Boston Whaler. Both vessels at anchor had swimmers in the water at the time of the collision. No injuries were sustained, and the operator of the Rampage was cited for multiple violations.

Officer Baumgartner and Lieutenant Haney were on patrol at Whale Harbor when they noticed a vessel plowing off the stern of an FWC patrol vessel in a restricted area. The officers conducted a vessel stop and a boater safety inspection, and the operator indicated significant signs of impairment. Field sobriety tasks were conducted and the operator was arrested for BUI with normal faculties impaired. The operator refused a breath test and was cited for BUI and other boating safety violations. The operator was transported to the Plantation Key Jail.

RESCUES
COLLIER COUNTY

While working in Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park on Memorial Day, Lieutenant Mahoney was approached by a frantic man stating his four-year-old cousin had been missing from the family picnic area for at least thirty minutes. After gathering the information for the missing child, park staff and the Collier County Sheriff's Office were notified of the incident. Just as the search began, the Collier Sheriff’s Department received a report that a beach goer found a child at a resort approximately two miles away matching the description of the lost child. The officers responded to the location and determined that he was the missing child. After assessing his condition, he was reunited with his family in the state park. The entire family was thankful for the quick response and efforts made to safely return the child to them unharmed.

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Baumgartner and Schroth were traveling north through Grouper Creek when a flats boat flagged them down. The flats boat stated there was a vessel that had just crashed into the mangroves. The officers searched the creek and located the vessel that crashed. The wreck caused the vessel to enter approximately 25–50 feet back into the mangroves. The operator sustained head injuries and was transported to shore and to EMS. On shore, the operator advised the officers that his dog was still on board the vessel. The officers returned to the scene and crawled through the mangroves and safely recovered the dog, later reuniting it with his owner at the hospital.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Rubenstein and Piekenbrock assisted the turtle hospital in honor of National Turtle Day with the release of “Don,” a Loggerhead Sea Turtle. The turtle was previously rescued in Vaca Cut in Marathon with tangled fishing line on his flippers. Don was rehabilitated at the Marathon Turtle Hospital until he was ready to be returned to his home in the ocean. He was released off the Sombrero Beach in Marathon.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Dube taught the “BOAT SMART” Boating Course, along with members of the USCG Islamorada. Officer Dube taught the law portion of the course in addition to giving a presentation on the core missions of the FWC. As always, Officer Dube gave recruiting information for the FWC and had a couple of students that were interested. There were approximately 30 students in attendance.

Officers Sapp, Mobley and Carroll participated with a Career Day event at Stanley Switlik Elementary School in Marathon. The officers spoke with over 100 students in grades K-5 about FWC’s core missions, why it’s important to protect our state’s natural resources, and how to be safe on the water. The students were entertained with some of our equipment as well as baby alligators.

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  FWC Enforcement Report May 19-25. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 05-31-2017, 06:24 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer McHenry was working in Perdido River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when he observed three individuals enter the area after hours. He approached the individuals in his patrol vehicle and turned his blue lights on. All three individuals fled the area on foot, but Officer McHenry caught up to one of the individuals. A notice to appear citation was issued for resisting arrest without violence, under age possession of alcohol and illegal entry into the WMA. The two other individuals were identified and warrants will be filed for their arrest.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Corbin and Pifer were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections in the Destin Pass area and were dispatched to a boating accident involving a 21-foot boat and a personal watercraft (PWC). The accident occurred in the Santa Rosa Sound near marker 31. The operator of the PWC was injured, sustaining a laceration under the armpit that required stitches. The operator transported himself to an emergency room in Destin. Officer Corbin interviewed both operators concerning the cause of the accident. It was determined the PWC operator lost control of the PWC he was operating, striking the 21-foot vessel. The PWC operator was cited for the violation of a navigational rule resulting in an accident (navigational rule 6-unsafe speed).

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

While on patrol, Officer Mullins observed two individuals fishing the Garcon Point area. He conducted a fisheries/license inspection and one subject was unable to produce a fishing license or identification. The subject provided several different names and dates of birth. Despite the false information, Officer Mullins and FWC Dispatch discovered the subject's identity. It was revealed that the subject had an active warrant for probation violation. The subject was placed under arrest, booked into the Santa Rosa County Jail and issued citations for interference with an FWC officer and no fishing license.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
HOLMES COUNTY

Officers Greene and Yates attended a career day at Bethlehem High School where they spoke about the duties of an FWC officer and the role of FWC as an agency to approximately 75 students.

Officers received actionable intelligence in the fall of 2016, that night-time dumping of asphalt shingles and commercial roofing debris was occurring in a remote area of the Choctawhatchee River WMA. Lieutenant Walsingham, Investigator Brown, Officers Yates and Greene initiated an investigation, began intelligence collection efforts and set up electronic surveillance in an effort to identify the perpetrators. Officers and investigators determined that approximately twenty-three loads of roofing debris had been transported over a period of six months and dumped on the WMA by employees of an Alabama roofing company. The roofing debris contained tar, asphalt, rubber and other prohibited materials. It was illegally burned at night in the river swamp during a period of severe drought using no wildfire safety or suppression measures. After an image of the crew foreman was obtained by surveillance cameras, the foreman and two additional employees confessed to burning the material and transporting it across state lines using the company owner’s truck and hydraulic trailer. All three employees either admitted to being paid to dump or to participating in the operation. Cleanup costs are estimated at several thousand dollars.
The investigation was protracted and complex in nature and involved the establishment of remote surveillance, monitoring of social media, retrieval and review of detention facility calls, identification of multiple suspects, vehicles, and associates, completion of numerous interviews, interrogations, and records searches, and regular consultation with the local prosecutor. During the investigation, it was necessary to coordinate with multiple agencies and divisions to obtain a successful outcome. These included the FWC intelligence section, 14th Circuit State Attorney’s Office, U.S. EPA-CID, FHP, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Holmes County Sheriff’s Office, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and the DEP Office of Emergency Management.
The FWC obtained warrants for the company’s owner and three employees on numerous felony and misdemeanor charges which included:
58 felony counts relating to commercial dumping, criminal mischief exceeding $1,000, tampering with evidence, and habitual offender driving while license suspended or revoked; 25 misdemeanor counts related to the burning of prohibited materials, damages to the WMA, and violation of DEP rules;
Grand theft charges were also filed on two of the defendants through the local Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the investigation.


SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officers Lewis, Jernigan, Hutchinson and Clark coordinated with the Blackwater Pirates and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Auxiliary to perform voluntary vessel safety inspections on multiple vessels at Carpenter's Park and Russell Harbor boat ramps in Milton during the weekend. Everyone involved educated the public on boating safety; distributed boating safety literature, and answered various questions from the public. The FWC reminds boaters to check their safety equipment before heading out onto the water during the first holiday of the boating season.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Lieutenant Walsingham and Officers Gore, Basford, Hellett, Alsobrooks, Hayes, Bartlett, and Pifer teamed with Washington County Sheriff’s deputies to conduct a detail on Cypress Springs on Holmes Creek. The 165 users and 71 vessels inspected resulted in 13 uniform boating citations, 6 written warnings for boating safety violations, 1 BUI arrest, 1 notice to appear citation for possession of cannabis less than 20 grams and 3 uniform traffic citations.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
CLAY COUNTY

Officer Starling received a report that a subject was taking freshwater gamefish with a cast net on Lake Geneva in Keystone Heights. Officer Starling arrived on the scene and found the subject in possession of a cast net and a bucket full of bream. After a brief interview, the subject admitted to taking the bream with the cast net. Officer Starling issued the subject a notice to appear for taking freshwater gamefish by illegal method.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Officers Albritton and Wilcox were on land patrol at Hickory Mound Impoundment when they observed a Ford truck parked at the locked entrance gate to the impoundment. The truck had a .22 caliber rifle lying behind the driver’s seat. Blood and suspected deer hair were found on the tailgate and truck bed. The officers drove into the impoundment and found the owner of the truck crabbing. During an interview, the subject admitted that he killed a doe deer the previous weekend with the .22 caliber rifle. The officers seized the rifle, deer hair and blood as evidence. The appropriate charges will be direct filed with the state attorney’s office.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Cybula was conducting fisheries inspections at a local bridge while on patrol and observed a man fishing from the bridge with a bucket containing spotted seatrout. A resource inspection revealed ten undersized seatrout between 12-14 inches in length, well under the minimum legal size limit. The man was issued a citation for possession of undersized seatrout and a warning for over the bag limit of seatrout.

Environmental investigators and Brevard County patrol officers conducted a two-night targeted enforcement action focusing on three separate marinas for marine sanitation device (MSD) violations. The Melbourne area marinas had been the source of numerous complaints about the direct discharge of raw sewage into the Eau Gallie River. Over the course of the two-night detail, the officers issued 15 citations for MSD violations, made a warrant arrest and issued multiple warnings for other violations.

FLAGLER COUNTY

Officer Ramsey was checking fishermen at Moultrie Creek in St. Augustine when he found one individual in possession of five undersized gray snapper. The proper citation was issued. Later in the week, Officer Ramsey was conducting a resource inspection of a boater and found an undersized red drum. The fish was returned to the water and a citation was issued.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

Lieutenant Lightsey and Officer Marroquin were conducting boating safety inspections when Officer Marroquin encountered an operator who appeared to be impaired. After the safety inspection, the operator participated in standardized field sobriety tasks and was placed under arrest for operating a vessel while normal faculties were impaired. Once at the jail, the operator, who was under twenty-one years of age, provided a breath sample almost twice the legal limit. The operator received additional charges for possession of alcohol by a person under twenty-one years of age.

Lieutenant Lightsey and Officer Cybula were working an area where trespassing and poaching had been occurring. The officers observed a vehicle fitting the description that one of the known offenders had been seen with. Once the officers located the men, two of the three fled the area with their dogs. After positively identifying the men that fled, warrants were issued for their arrest for failure to allow inspection by an FWC officer and resisting arrest without violence.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
BREVARD COUNTY

Officers attended the Annual Police Officers Hall of Fame Memorial in Titusville. The event drew hundreds of people from around the nation for the memorial service honoring fallen law enforcement officers.

FLAGLER COUNTY

Officers Lawshe, Ramsey and Investigator Brechler participated in an annual event called “Feel the Wheels” in St. Augustine. This event draws over 4,000 children and adults for a day of being able to see what it’s like to be a law enforcement officer, forest ranger, firefighter, EMT, large equipment operator and many other careers. The children got to climb on, sit in, touch and make lights and sirens flash and wail on the emergency vehicles. Many questions were answered and a good time was had by all.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

Lieutenants Dougan, Lightsey and Officer Cybula attended the wreath laying ceremony to honor fallen law enforcement officers at the Indian River county courthouse. Guest speaker retired Colonel McKnight was in attendance, as well as a joint agency flyover by Lieutenant Dougan and the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HARDEE COUNTY

Officers Franks, Smith and Infante responded to assist Hardee County Sheriff’s Office with a traffic stop. During the traffic stop, they discovered the subject was in possession of a snook and 12 largemouth bass. The officers investigated the incident and found the subject possessed two bass over the two-day bag limit, three bass over the 16-inch size limit, and one snook out of season. Three resource citations were issued with a requirement to appear in court.

LEE COUNTY

Officers Thompson, Hazelwood, Bell and Lieutenant Ruggiero responded to an out-of-control vessel off the coast of Fort Myers Beach. When they arrived on the scene, there was a vessel making circles at full throttle with no occupants on board. The officers quickly located the passengers, who were fortunate enough to not get run over by the vessel as it made circles. A nearby vessel saw the passengers get thrown from the boat in rough seas, and quickly picked them up. The officers, along with Sheriff’s deputies and the USCG, tied some lines to their Type IV throwable devices, hoping to slow the boat down or stall out the motor by snagging the prop. After several attempts, the deputies threw several lines around the prop, and the boat slowed down enough to board while it made circles. The USCG maneuvered their soft-sided vessel close enough to have an officer jump on board and shut it down. Fortunately, no one was injured, but it was a great reminder of the importance of wearing a kill switch lanyard when operating a motor vessel. The incident could have been much worse than it turned out to be.

While on patrol at Pine Island, Officers Perry and Winton noticed several individuals fishing from a bridge. When the officers approached to conduct a fisheries inspection, a female from the group picked up a bucket and quickly walked to a nearby vehicle. Officer Winton approached the female and immediately recognized her from an undersized fish case the week before. Upon inspecting the bucket, the officers found undersized mangrove snapper and seatrout. Through their investigation, the officers determined which individual caught the fish and cited him for the violations.

POLK COUNTY

Officers Tyer and Earls were dispatched to Lake Garfield with a report of several vehicles stuck in the lake. When the officers arrived, they observed two vehicles stuck in the lake bottom. They also observed where the vehicles had destroyed the lake bottom. Both operators were issued notices to appear for the violations.

Officer Sweat was conducting fisheries enforcement in Saddle Creek Fish Management Area (FMA) when he observed two subjects that were in possession of a cast net. When asked for their permits for the area, neither subject could provide one. Both subjects were issued citations for failure to check in and the subject with the cast net was issued a notice to appear for possession of a cast net in Saddle Creek FMA.

Officer Carter was patrolling Saddle Creek FMA during closed times and observed a van in the area. He advised them that they were in the FMA during closed times. A check of both subjects in the van found the driver had a protection order from the other subject in the van. Officer Carter arrested the driver for violation of the protection order and transported him to the Polk County Jail.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
LEE COUNTY

Officers Bradshaw, Perry, Rogers, Hazelwood, Winton, and Hardgrove worked a multi-day operation focusing on unlawfully marked blue crab traps in the Caloosahatchee River. Over several days the officers could identify locations of suspicious traps and observed commercial fishermen using those traps. These observations and the resultant stops of those fishermen resulted in two arrests and more than 20 criminal charges. Officers will continue to work with commercial blue crab fishermen in the area to ensure continued compliance with trap marking and working regulations.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LEE COUNTY

The FWC, represented by Public Information Officer Norris, along with other local law enforcement agencies, held a press conference for National Safe Boating Week. Officer Norris discussed local boating accident statistics and provided safe boating tips for four local television stations.

MANATEE COUNTY

Lieutenant Hinds performed an outreach event for a local Girl Scout troop. He covered boating safety with the scouts and even brought a boat for them to sit in while he gave his presentation. He also covered knot tying, showing the scouts a few useful knots for boating. The scouts were very energetic and happy when they received their knot-tying badge. Most important, the scouts learned some very useful information to keep them safe while on the water this summer.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Ryan was on patrol when he observed an individual fishing inside a fenced and posted “No Trespassing” area near the Fort Lauderdale Airport. He conducted a fisheries inspection on the individual and issued him a criminal notice to appear citation for possession of undersized black drum.

Officers Brock and Grant were dispatched to the Plantation area in response to a raccoon call. After interviewing an individual, the officers issued a criminal notice to appear citation for rehabilitating wildlife without a permit. Three baby raccoons were seized and taken to the South Florida Wildlife Care Center.

Lieutenant Laubenberger and Officers Brock, Grant, Vacin and Matthews were on vessel patrol near the 15 Street Boat Ramp in Fort Lauderdale. They were conducting fisheries inspections on various vessels and individuals fishing at the boat ramp. Two individuals were fishing and had fish in their possession. After checking the fish and status of the two fishermen, one individual was given a criminal notice to appear citation for interference with an FWC officer and the other individual was placed under arrest for an active warrant out of Broward County. He was transported to jail by Officers Brock and Grant.

Officers Vacin, Ryan and Holcomb were on vessel patrol offshore from Birch State Park. They conducted a marine fisheries inspection of an individual that was spearfishing. With information gathered, the individual was issued a criminal notice to appear for possession of undersized red grouper and possession of undersized yellowtail snapper.

Officers Brock and Grant were on patrol in the Hillsboro Inlet area and conducted a marine fisheries inspection on two individuals that were spearfishing. The individuals were each in possession of a speared parrot fish and were issued criminal notices to appear for harvesting parrot fish by illegal method. The dead parrot fish and spear guns were seized as evidence. Due to other actions taken by the individuals, they were also charged with interference with an FWC Officer.

Lieutenant Laubenberger and Officers Banks, Vacin, Matthews, Brock, Grant, Ryan and Holcomb responded to a serious boating accident near the Oakland Park Boulevard Bridge. Investigator Teems and Investigative Lieutenant Carcasses also responded to the scene. Two vessels were involved in a serious boating accident. The boating accident remains under investigation.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Allen was conducting surveillance at the E-Lock Structure on the Kissimmee River because of several complaints of trespassing on the lock and structures. Two subjects arrived in a boat and walked onto the structure and began catching sunshine bass. The subjects were issued notices to appear in court citations for trespassing on a South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) water control structure.

Officers Toby and Dial saw two individuals fishing with a cast net and operating a small vessel on Lake Okeechobee at Nubbin Slough around midnight. They observed that the vessel had no navigation lights when operating. At one point, the two individuals docked the vessel up to the shore and walked to their truck on the bank. The individuals lit a substance with a flame while inside the vehicle, then exited the vehicle and headed back to the area of the vessel. Officers Toby and Dial approached them and one of the individuals was in possession of a glass pipe with methamphetamine inside. This glass pipe was located on top of the rear tire next to where the individual was standing when the stop was initiated. The individual admitted ownership and stated that it contained meth. A subsequent field drug test confirmed this statement. Upon inspection of the vessel, all fish were of legal size and species; however, the vessel was shown to have numerous safety violations. Lieutenant Brown and the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office K-9 team arrived on the scene to assist due to the presence of the methamphetamine. The individual in possession of the methamphetamine was arrested and booked into the Okeechobee County Jail for the felony charge of possession of methamphetamine and the misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. In addition, the individual was issued four uniform boating citations for no lifejackets, no Type IV throwable, no navigation lights and operating an unregistered vessel.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Spradling was advised by dispatch that the Jupiter Police Department was with a subject who had an oversized snook in his possession at the Jupiter Inlet. The subject had one 37-inch snook and one 24-inch snook inside his cooler. The legal size for snook is a minimum of 28 inches and a maximum of 32 inches. The subject advised that the 37-inch snook was given to him to take a picture with, but then died before he could return it to the water. He advised he kept the 37-inch snook due to it being dead. The subject also advised he saw the 24-inch snook floating dead in the water at the inlet so he jumped in the water, grabbed the snook and put it in his cooler. Officer Spradling advised him that it’s illegal to possess undersized/oversized snook. The subject was cited accordingly.

Officer Toby saw five individuals inside the SFWMD’s A1-FEB property, which was closed to public access. Each of the subjects was walking with a fishing pole in hand. All five individuals were escorted out of the property and the violations were addressed. The four adults in the group were issued one misdemeanor citation each for trespassing in a restricted property. Additionally, one of the individuals was issued a written warning for litter under 15 pounds as he illegally discarded a bottle during the stop. Officer Toby had the individual retrieve the bottle and discard it properly.

Officers Ryan and Holcomb were on patrol in western Palm Beach County and approached the driver of a car who was then placed under arrest for possession of narcotics and issued a citation for an open container of an alcoholic beverage.

Officer Cobo and Lieutenant Russo were conducting vessel inspections at Burt Reynolds Boat Ramp in Jupiter and observed a commercial kingfish vessel unloading his catch. The fish inside the fish box located on the vessel had very little ice on the fish as required by law. The fish were in acceptable condition so the fisherman was only written a warning and allowed to keep his catch.

Officer Toby approached an individual fishing on Lake Okeechobee at the Pahokee Marina to conduct a fisheries inspection. As he approached, the individual began kicking fish that were at his feet into the water from the pier. Officer Toby gave loud verbal commands to stop, but the individual continued kicking the fish into the water below. Multiple fish were located in the water below the individual, some of which were still alive and trying to swim away. The individual was also in possession of a marijuana cigarette. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation pertaining to obstructing an FWC inspection and a warning for possession of marijuana under 20 grams.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Investigator Turner, Lieutenant Rogerson and Officers Fretwell and Crosby responded to a report of a vessel accident that occurred in the North Fork of the St. Lucie River. It was reported that an airboat with two occupants had crashed into a mangrove island, ejecting the operator. One of the parties was airlifted and the other was transported by ambulance to a local hospital to receive treatment for injuries. Investigator Turner is conducting the ongoing vessel crash investigation.

RESCUES
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Spradling, Webb and Lieutenant Harris responded to a vehicle fire in the Hungryland Wildlife Environmental Area (WEA). Officer Webb found three individuals with the vehicle and helped transport them away from the dangerous fire. The fire had spread to the brush near the vehicle causing a wildfire. Officer Spradling assisted Martin County Fire Rescue by leading them through gates into the Hungryland WEA to get to the fire.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Crosby responded to the Winn Dixie store in Okeechobee in response to the report that a two-foot alligator was loose in the rear of the store. Officer Crosby captured the alligator in the back storage area of the store and released it back into Lake Okeechobee.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Allen and the Okeechobee Fisheries Office manager participated in a drug awareness event (DARE) for the 5th graders of Okeechobee County at the Agri-Civic Center. They spoke about the harmful effects of alcohol and drugs on boating safety. The use of several different types of PFDs were demonstrated and the students were informed about the reasons why they should wear them. A total of 535 students were in attendance.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

While on JEA patrol on the OPV RT Randall near the southern end of the Quicksands in the Atlantic Ocean, Officers Johnson, Thurkettle and Bell conducted a resource inspection on a commercial fishing vessel. Upon inspection, the officers discovered 3 undersized yellowtail snapper and 1 undersized black grouper. The fisherman stated, “I was being greedy and didn’t think I would be getting checked.” The fisherman was citied accordingly.

While patrolling Doctor’s Pass in Naples, Officer Araujo observed several subjects fishing from the beach. Officer Araujo continued to watch the subjects and observed a male subject place fish in a white bucket. When the subject packed up and started to leave the beach, Officer Araujo approached the subject and asked to inspect his catch. He asked the subject what he had caught, and the subject replied “a snapper and a jack.” When Officer Araujo inspected the contents of the bucket, he discovered 1 mangrove snapper, 1 Spanish mackerel, 1 jack crevalle and 4 pompano. All 4 pompano were undersized and were seized as evidence. The subject was cited accordingly.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Officers working a boating safety detail during the weekend arrested five subjects for BUI. Two of them were also charged with careless operation of a vessel and possession of a controlled substance (cocaine).

Officers responded to reports of a vessel explosion in southern Miami-Dade County. The explosion sent several people to the hospital, one of them severely injured. Investigators assessed and secured the scene, conducted witness interviews and inspected the vessel. The investigation is still ongoing.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Mattson was on water patrol near Islamorada when he observed a large commercial charter head-boat coming in from a morning trip. He checked the records of the vessel license and found that it was expired. He boarded the boat and inspected the catch along with the paperwork. The captain received, for a second time, a citation with a fine of $850.

Officers Wilkins and Janzen were patrolling the area of Tea Table Relief in the Upper Keys when they came across a group of people fishing near the bridge. As he approached, one of the individuals reached inside a cooler near him, grabbed a lobster and threw it into the mangroves. Officer Wilkins told the man to stop what he was doing, and the man grabbed another lobster from the same cooler and threw it towards the water near a small patch of mangroves. After securing the scene, Officers Wilkins and Janzen recovered both lobster that were thrown. Officer Wilkins then placed the individual under arrest and booked him into the Plantation Key Jail for charges of undersized and out-of-season lobster and interference with an FWC officer.

RESCUES
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Messier responded to a boating accident in Calda Channel near Key West involving a catamaran pleasure vessel with five people on board. One of the passengers was reportedly riding on the bow of the vessel when the vessel hit some choppy waves causing him to fall overboard into the water. The passenger fell head first into the water and was struck by the vessel’s propellers, sustaining injuries/lacerations to both legs. The USCG was notified and dispatched to the scene. The victim was transferred to the USCG vessel and transported to Lower Key Medical Center for treatment. The FWC is still investigating the accident.

Officers Rafter, Pino and McKay responded by water to a sailboat in Key Largo where a male was reported to be suffering from a stroke. The victim was located as he was about to try making it to shore in a small skiff. The officers brought the man to shore to a waiting Fire Rescue unit. The officers secured his skiff to his anchored sailboat. He was taken to a local hospital for advanced care.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Mobley and Garrison were dispatched to a baby key deer that was rescued from a canal on Big Pine Key. The officers searched the area to find the baby key deer’s mom, but were unsuccessful. The key deer was released in the same area with the hope that the mother will come looking for it. The coordinates were turned over to the USFWS.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Richards and Foell were on federal water patrol on board the OPV Interceptor inside East Hump Marine Protected Area (MPA). The officers located two vessels actively bottom fishing with electric reels inside of the protected area. Inspections revealed both vessels possessed queen snapper and blue line tilefish, which are prohibited to harvest and possess inside of the MPA. The vessel operators were issued federal citations.

Officers Way, Messier and Lieutenant Peters conducted a 17-hour, offshore patrol of the Dry Tortugas. The patrol focused on the enforcement of state and federal fisheries, and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS). The officers conducted several vessel inspections of recreational and commercial vessels. They conducted an inspection of a commercial fishing vessel actively fishing at the “K” Buoy off Fort Jefferson National Park in the Dry Tortugas. The “K” Buoy is located inside gulf state waters of Monroe County. The officers discovered several red grouper, 2 of which were undersized, hidden amongst their catch of 600 pounds of lane snapper. A federal fisheries inspection revealed the vessel’s V.M.S. was on and transmitting. The vessel also declared its commercial fishing trip with the VMS system. The federal fisheries inspection also revealed that the vessel did not have IFQ shares required to possess the red grouper. The captain of the vessel stated the red grouper were not for sale, but for his recreational consumption. He was educated on the boundaries of the FKNMS North and South Ecological Reserve. An inspection of the vessel’s marine sanitation device confirmed it in compliance with state and FKNMS Regulations. The captain of the vessel was issued one notice to appear for possession of red grouper during the closed season, possession of undersized red grouper, and possession of over the bag limit of grouper.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Dube was invited to speak at the United Sates Coast Guard Auxiliary’s 13-8 Flotilla’s Quarterly meeting at Station Islamorada. Officer Dube spoke to approximately 35 auxiliary members and civilians about FWC current events, recent law updates and regulation changes. He also spoke about the FWC Boating Safety Decal program along with the upcoming Boating Safety Week campaign. The presentation concluded with a question-and-answer session.

Officer Dube attended the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Awards Banquet at Schnebly’s Winery in Homestead. He was selected as their South Florida Officer of the Year and presented an award, a beautifully framed piece of artwork, by Captain Rick Murphy of the ”Chevy Outdoors Fishing Report” TV show. The banquet concluded with both a silent and live auction to raise money for the CCA and its conservation efforts.

Officer Dube and Carol Lyn Parrish, the South Region’s Public Information Coordinator, participated in a National Safe Boating Week event at the Bass Pro Shops in Miami’s Dolphin Mall. The event was attended by several police and fire departments along with representatives from the USCG. There were activities for children of all ages.

Honor Guard Lieutenant Dipre participated in the Monroe County Law Enforcement Memorial service at Bayview Park in Key West. Keynote speakers included Sheriff Rick Ramsay and several government dignitaries. Attendees included FWC Officers Hettel and Martino, members of the public, numerous veterans and local military personnel.

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  FWC Enforcement Report May 12-18. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 05-31-2017, 09:37 AM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

Lieutenant Allen and Officer Rice were patrolling in federal waters when they saw a vessel returning from offshore. During the resource inspection, the operator stated that each of the four people on board had their limit of red snapper. Officer Rice located 8 red snapper in the cooler. The operator was issued a citation for possession of red snapper in federal waters during closure.

Officer T. Basford was on patrol near the Warren Bayou Canal (Steam Plant Canal) when he saw two ATVs being operated at a high rate of speed on a paved county road. The operators each had fishing gear and were heading towards the Steam Plant Canal. One of the ATVs drove around a locked gate to access St. Joe Company property. The two individuals were contacted while they were fishing at the Steam Plant Canal, which is Gulf Power Company property. Both individuals were in possession of undersized red drum and were issued citations for operating an ATV on a public road, possession of undersized red drum and trespassing.

Officers Hellett and Alsobrooks were on foot patrol at a local marina when they saw three individuals on a vessel that appeared to have been on a fishing trip. When asked if they had been out fishing, one of the subjects stated they had been on a two-day trip. Upon inspection, they were in possession of 56 mahi-mahi and two red grouper. The fishermen were over the daily bag limit for mahi-mahi by 26 fish. The bag limit and extended trip rules were explained to the vessel captain and he took responsibility for the violation. A citation was issued to the vessel captain.

ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officers Cushing and Land were on water patrol in Pensacola Bay and conducted a marine fisheries inspection on a small fishing vessel near a navigational buoy. Upon contacting the two persons on board, they said that they had a few lane snapper. An inspection revealed they were in possession of 17 juvenile red snapper, all of them measuring between six and thirteen inches. The appropriate action was taken for the violation of possession of red snapper during closed season.

Officers Allgood and Manning patrolled federal waters south of Pensacola and found five different vessel operators in possession of red snapper during closed season. Federal citations were issued for the violations.

Officer Long checked vessels as they returned to Navy Point Boat Ramp and found one individual in possession of 15 undersized red snapper and another individual in possession of an amberjack during closed season. Officer Long issued notice to appear citations for the violations.

Officer Manning received information that someone was selling seafood at a local flea market without a license. When he arrived, he found an individual selling blue crabs, shrimp and blue runners. The individual did not have a saltwater retail license or any records on where the fish were purchased. Notice to appear citations were issued for the violations.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

Officer Matechik saw a vessel and two subjects harvesting oysters past the required harvesting time. Officers Matechik and Fletcher conducted a resource inspection and found ten bags of culled oysters. Both subjects were charged with over the bag limit and possession of untagged oysters. They were also warned for failing to deliver oysters directly to a dealer and possession of undersized oysters. Officers Matechik and Fletcher seized the oysters and returned them to the bay alive.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico on board the Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Boyd, Nelson, Rockwell and Trueblood located a commercial shrimping vessel approximately 12 miles south of St. George Island. During a resource inspection, the officers located egg-bearing slipper lobster in the vessel’s ice hold. Interviews of the crew revealed the deckhand placed the illegal product in the hold. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

Officers Nelson and Raker were in plain clothes on Resource Protection Service patrol at the Old Ferry Dock Boat Ramp in East Point. While walking across the parking lot, Officer Nelson was approached by a female and asked if he wanted to buy some shrimp. The female then showed Officer Nelson three coolers containing shrimp and scales in the back of her truck. When asked if she had a saltwater products retail license, she said “No.” The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Boyd, Nelson, Rockwell and Trueblood located a commercial shrimping vessel approximately 11 miles south of St. George Island. During a resource inspection, the officers located egg-bearing slipper lobster, spiny lobster during closed season and a prohibited Bahama starfish. Further inspection of the turtle excluder devices (TEDs) revealed that all four TEDs exceeded legal specifications with six violations. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Boyd, Nelson, Rockwell and Trueblood located a commercial shrimping vessel approximately 10 miles south of Little St. George Island. During the boarding, the officers inspected the TEDs and two of the four TEDs exceeded legal specifications. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Nelson and Richardson located two vessels approximately 12 miles south of Carrabelle. While approaching the vessels, the occupants threw red snapper overboard upon seeing law enforcement. The officers addressed the violations of possession of red snapper during federal closure and throwing fish overboard upon law enforcement approach.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Nelson and Richardson located a vessel approximately 12 miles south of St. George Island. During a resource inspection, Officer Nelson located red snapper and gag grouper aboard the vessel. Both occupants possessed salt water products licenses and admitted to knowledge of the federal closure. The appropriate enforcement actions were taken for the violations.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Vigilance, Officers Rockwell and Trueblood, Captain Martin, and NOAA Officer Harwell located a vessel approximately 14 miles southeast of Carrabelle. During a resource inspection, Officer Trueblood located red snapper in the cooler. The violations of possession of red snapper during federal closure were addressed with the appropriate actions.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Boyd, Fletcher, Matechik and Captain Wood located a commercial vessel approximately 65 miles south of Carrabelle in the marine protected area referred to as “The Edges.” The vessel was using illegal “J” hooks with use of natural bait for reef fish. The appropriate enforcement action was taken for the violation.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Nelson and Richardson located a vessel approximately 15 miles south of Carrabelle. During a resource inspection, Officer Richardson located undersized black sea bass, red snapper and gag grouper during federal closure and the use of “J” hooks with natural bait intended for reef fish, cut-up red snapper on their bait table and hooks. An interview of the occupants reinforced that they had cut-up red snapper and were using it for bait during closed season. The violations of possession of red snapper during federal closure, not landing in whole condition and using reef fish for bait were addressed with the appropriate warnings and citations.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Vigilance, Officers Rockwell and Trueblood, Captain Martin, and NOAA Officer Harwell located a vessel approximately 22 miles southeast of Carrabelle. Upon boarding the vessel, Officer Trueblood and Harwell interviewed the vessel owner who admitted to possession of filleting amberjack and placing it in a refrigerator. The violations of possession of greater amberjack during a closed season and not landing in whole condition was addressed with the appropriate action.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Nelson and Richardson located a vessel approximately 16 miles south of Carrabelle. During a resource inspection, Officers Nelson and Richardson located nine red snapper taken during federal closure. An interview of the occupants revealed they had knowledge of the closure and their location. The violation of possession of red snapper during federal closure was addressed with the appropriate action.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Vigilance, Officers Rockwell and Trueblood, Captain Martin, and NOAA Officer Harwell located a vessel near the “O” Tower south of Carrabelle. During a resource inspection, Officer Harwell located red snapper in the cooler. The violations of possession of red snapper during federal closure was addressed with the appropriate action.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Guardian, Lieutenants Marlow, Hoelscher, Officers Nelson and Boyd located a commercial vessel approximately 52 miles south of St. Vincent Island. During a resource inspection, Officers Nelson and Boyd located multiple fishing rigs with “J” hooks baited with natural bait for reef fish. The appropriate enforcement action was taken for the violations.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Vigilance, Officers Rockwell, Trueblood, Captain Martin and NOAA Officer Harwell located a commercial vessel approximately 50 miles south of Carrabelle. During a resource inspection, Officer Harwell found the vessel was not in compliance with the required turtle mitigation gear. The violations were addressed with the appropriate action.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Guardian, Lieutenants Marlow, Hoelscher, Officers Nelson and Boyd located a commercial vessel approximately 60 miles south of St. Vincent Island. While approaching the vessel, the officers saw the occupants looking at the vessel, then start removing reef fish from the lines and throwing them overboard. A vermillion snapper was recovered and a lane snapper was not recovered. Upon boarding the vessel, Officer Nelson and Boyd located undersized lane snapper, red snapper, grey triggerfish, and vermillion snapper in their bait wells and on the hooks. They also issued charges for use of reef fish for bait, possession of marijuana and interference with an FWC officer. The appropriate enforcement action was taken for the violations.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Guardian, Lieutenants Marlow and Hoelscher and Officers Nelson and Boyd located a commercial longline vessel approximately 55 miles south of St. Vincent Island. Upon boarding the vessel, Officers Nelson and Boyd located cut-up shark pieces placed on hooks and rigged for fishing. Further inspection revealed approximately 40 pounds of amberjack fillets in a bait container. The vessel operator was asked to retrieve the gear and more shark pieces were located on the hooks, including red snapper pieces. A count of the hooks revealed that they exceeded the allowable amount of 750 rigged hooks and 1,000 total hooks aboard with nearly 1,200 fished, 180 more rigged hooks and an additional 150 plus hooks for a total exceeding 1,500 hooks. Additionally, the crew threw several pieces of shark and trash overboard during the stop. The appropriate enforcement action was taken for the violations.

GULF COUNTY

Officers H. Webb and M. Webb were on patrol in federal waters and made three separate federal fisheries cases. The first vessel they checked was actively fishing 10½ miles out and was in possession red snapper. The second vessel was inbound from offshore federal waters when the officers approached it. The vessel made a sudden stop and then continued in a northbound direction. Once the officers stopped the vessel, they noticed a large red snapper floating behind them. After a brief discussion, the occupants admitted to dumping the red snapper. The third vessel was actively fishing 13 miles out in federal waters and found to be in possession of red snapper. All the vessels were written federal citations for possession of red snapper during the federal closed season.

JACKSON COUNTY

Officers Little, Hayes and Baber responded to an ongoing trespass complaint, but when the officers arrived, the individual was no longer present. The officers spoke with the landowner who had game camera photos of the suspect trespassing on a tractor. The officers followed the tire sign for more than a mile to a neighboring residence. As the officers approached the male subject on the property, they located the tractor, a small dog, fishing poles and a cooler that were captured on the landowner’s game camera. They also noticed that the subject was wearing the same clothes as in the photos. Appropriate charges will be filled with the state attorney’s office for the violations.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Bartlett was on vessel patrol in Choctawhatchee Bay conducting boating safety inspections when he was dispatched to a boating accident at the Marler Bridge. The accident involved a single vessel striking the Marler Bridge piling. The vessel was a 24‑foot rental pontoon with three people on board. The investigation revealed the primary cause of the accident was operator inexperience in waters affected by tidal current. The impact resulted in damages of approximately $6,000 to the starboard side pontoon on the vessel. No one was ejected from the vessel and there were no injuries. A livery operator was issued a notice to appear citation for renting to someone that is required to have a boater safety card.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Investigator Molnar followed up on a complaint about a subject possibly killing over the bag limit of turkey during the 2017 spring season. After multiple interviews with several people, Investigator Molnar interviewed the subject. After the interview, the subject confessed to killing five turkeys in northwest Florida during the 2017 spring turkey season. Three sets of turkey spurs and beards were seized as evidence. Charges will be filed on a later date.

WAKULLA COUNTY

Officer Hughes saw a commercial oyster vessel returning to Mashes Sands Boat Ramp. Upon seeing the officer, the boat stopped short of the dock and Officer Hughes noticed one of the occupants bending over something in the boat. Officer Hughes made his way to the boat and saw the individual attaching commercial oyster harvest tags to four bags of oysters on board. Commercial harvesters are required to fill out and attach the tags before leaving the harvest area. When the vessel came to the dock, Officer Hughes discovered that all the harvest tags were blank. Officers Stephens and Sauls arrived to assist. When questioned about where they harvested the oysters, the men claimed they had harvested them at the mouth of Chaires Creek in the Ochlockonee Bay, an area that was temporarily closed to all shellfish harvest. In addition to the oyster harvest violations, the vessel did not have a hull identification number attached and was missing some required safety gear. The operator was issued multiple criminal charges and warnings and all bags of oysters were seized and returned to the water alive.

WALTON COUNTY

Officers Letcher, Brooks, and Tison patrolled Point Washington Wildlife Management Area (WMA) targeting ongoing violations such as destruction to gates, wildlife food plots, and roads with motor vehicles. The officers saw two vehicles traveling together through the WMA in a careless manner causing damage to the road. When a traffic stop was attempted, the drivers fled into opposite directions. As he attempted to avoid being apprehended, one of the drivers operated his vehicle in an aggressive manner toward Officer Tison’s patrol vehicle causing him to exit the roadway into a ditch. A short time later, the driver decided to stop and was taken into custody. A records check revealed the driver had a pending case for DUI which involved a traffic accident. A search of his vehicle revealed a small amount of cannabis. The subject was booked into the Walton County Jail for fleeing and eluding, aggravated assault with a motor vehicle, reckless driving, damage to state property, and possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis. The other driver was identified and located the following day and charges will be direct filed for reckless driving and damage to state property.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Cushing spoke to a group of approximately 20 members of the Pensacola Recreational Fisherman’s Association. Officer Cushing gave an overview of the agency’s core mission and answered many questions in regards to current saltwater regulations and boating safety.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officers Jernigan and Lewis participated in a Career Field Day at Chumuckla Elementary School. The FWC officers, Santa Rosa Sheriff’s K-9 deputies, and local EMT’s, paramedics, and volunteers from the local fire departments spent time with different classes to tell about their careers and what they do each day in the field. Officers Jernigan and Lewis spoke to more than 150 children about boating and gun safety. Each child boarded a patrol vessel, received coloring books, stickers and fun facts about Florida’s bears and alligators.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
BAKER COUNTY

Officers Burnsed and Tyler responded to a report of illegally dumped household trash off a county roadway. The officers found numerous bags of trash dumped along the roadway and proceeded to find information in the trash that would indicate a suspect. The officers found several documents and went to the location provided by the information. The owner of the documents advised they had paid two individuals to haul their trash off and stated to the officers they must have dumped the trash. The owner provided the names of the suspected dumpers. The officers located both suspects named by the owner and, after questioning, they admitted to dumping the trash at the location. Both suspects will be charged with misdemeanor dumping of trash through the state attorney’s office.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officer Johnston and Investigator Bembry were working together at the Montgomery Lake Fish Management Area when they saw a subject fishing with a rod and reel. A subsequent resource/ license inspection revealed the subject could not provide a valid freshwater fishing license. The subject was also found to be fishing with a revoked fishing license due to a child support enforcement violation and was flagged as “Do not sell.” Officer Johnston issued the subject a notice to appear in court for the violation. The subject was released on the scene with no further law enforcement action required.

DIXIE COUNTY

Officers Allen and Wilder were conducting surveillance on an area that is known for illegal oyster harvest. They saw a vessel leaving the area and contacted Officer Cooper to assist. Officer Cooper stopped the subject a short distance from the boat ramp and conducted a resource inspection. During the resource inspection, the subject was found to be in possession of several bushels of untagged and unculled oysters. Following a brief interview, the subject admitted to illegally harvesting the oysters at night in closed waters. Charges will be direct filed with the state attorney’s office.

Lieutenant Futch was on patrol when he conducted a vehicle stop on a truck pulling a boat. While talking with the driver, he noticed a blanket covering a large amount of unculled and untagged oysters in the boat. Dispatch reported that the driver did not possess a valid driver’s license. The subject was placed under arrest for driving with a suspended license and possession of unculled and untagged oysters in commercial quantities.

Lieutenant Futch and Officer Butler were on water patrol focusing on illegal oyster harvest when they saw a vehicle at a local boat ramp that belonged to a suspect with a warrant. The officers contacted Lieutenant Guy and Officer Robson to assist them from land with the arrest of the individual.

Lieutenant Futch and Officer Butler saw two subjects harvesting oysters from a vessel. As they approached, the vessel began to head towards the boat ramp. The suspects were contacted at the boat ramp and a resource inspection was conducted. The resource inspection revealed the suspects failed to properly tag their oysters and were oystering without a saltwater products license. The officers learned one of the suspects was on probation for drugs and received consent to search the suspect’s vehicle. After the investigation, the suspect was confirmed to have an active warrant out of Dixie County. Additionally, the suspects were charged with numerous resource and drug-related charges, including possession of methamphetamine, possession of cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia.

DUVAL COUNTY

Over the weekend, a free-floating construction barge broke loose from its mooring from under the Fuller Warren Bridge (Interstate 95). With an outgoing tide and strong wind gusts, the barge was in danger of striking the Florida East Coast Railroad Bridge. The Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department (JFRD) responded, along with FWC Officer Green. Officer Green and the JFRD relocated the barge to a safe location back under the Fuller Warren Bridge just before it struck the Railroad bridge.

GILCHRIST COUNTY

Officers Allen and Wilder received information from a landowner that someone had dumped a recently killed deer on his property. The officers arrived and found fresh tire sign at the scene. The officers identified a suspect and initiated contact at his residence. Following a brief interview, the suspect admitted to killing the deer and dumping the carcass on the property. The officers will be direct filing the case with the state attorney’s office.

Investigator Ayers and Officer Wiggins were on patrol when they saw a subject riding in the back of a truck which turned onto a road that borders a local hunting club. The officers followed the truck for approximately two miles. When the vehicle stopped, Officer Wiggins exited his patrol vehicle and made his way on foot to observe the subjects. Moments later, the officers heard several gunshots coming from inside the hunting club. Officer Wiggins saw an individual return to the truck carrying a pistol. The officers approached the two subjects and following an interview, they admitted to attempting to take a hen turkey on the hunting club property. Investigator Ayers issued warnings for trespassing and a notice to appear for attempting to take turkey during the closed season.

Officers Allen and Wilder received information that an individual was keeping over the bag limit of redfish at Shired Island. During a resource inspection, the subject was found to be possession of over the bag limit of redfish and was cited accordingly.

NASSAU COUNTY

Officer Barry conducted a resource inspection on a commercial crabber fishing in the
St. Mary’s River. Several improper violations were noted including aerial and side displays, no vessel registration, no saltwater products license on board, safety violations and boxes of crabs sitting in oily bilge water next to the gas tank. The crabber was cited and warned appropriately. Later, Officer Barry checked 10 of those crabber’s traps in Little Sisters Creek off the St. Mary’s River. Of the 10 traps inspected, 8 had no biodegradable escape panel and no Florida commercial trap tags. Charges for the trap violations are pending.

Officer Barry was departing Eagan’s Creek Boat Ramp when a small inshore/nearshore shrimp trawler was seen returning to the dock. As the harvest of shrimp in the area is closed, a vessel stop was conducted and an inspection revealed a cooler filled with small brown shrimp, which are usually found only around inshore waters. The shrimper stated that he had harvested the shrimp outside of three miles in federal water. When asked if he had a federal shrimp permit, he hesitantly stated that he had applied for one, but did not have one at the time. The two men on the boat were issued federal notices of violation for harvesting shrimp in federal waters without the proper permits.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Officers Robson and Albritton received information of an illegal turkey being taken. Shortly after arriving, the officers saw turkey feathers on the ground around the suspect’s residence. The officers identified the suspect as a convicted felon and after noticing a bulge in his pockets, recovered ammunition from his pockets. The officers also noticed a pellet rifle leaning against a storage shed. After an interview, the suspect admitted to taking an illegal hen turkey the day prior and surrendered plastic bags from a refrigerator containing a turkey breast, back, neck and two legs. Firearm parts were also recovered from a storage box on the property. The case is being presented to the state attorney’s office for review.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
NASSAU COUNTY

Officers Barry and Shearer attended an FWC-sponsored Kids Fishing Clinic at Amelia Island State Park. Approximately 200 youths participated and received information on fishing and conservation from a wide spectrum of FWC professionals.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Marroquin was on patrol when he saw a vessel returning to a boat ramp. The officer initiated a vessel safety inspection and saw alcoholic beverages in the vessel. During the safety inspection, the operator showed signs of impairment and was asked to perform seated field sobriety tasks. The operator performed poorly and was arrested for BUI. He was then transported to the Brevard County Jail where he refused to submit to a breath sample.

Officers Kearney and Dubose were on patrol when they saw a man fishing at a local waterway. The officers conducted a fisheries inspection and discovered the man was in possession of undersized mangrove snapper. A records check revealed the man had received a warning the previous week for undersized fish. A citation was issued for the offense.

Officer Maslo was on patrol when she conducted a fisheries inspection of a man fishing under a causeway bridge. The inspection revealed the man was in possession of three undersized mangrove snapper. A citation was issued for possession of undersized mangrove snapper and the fish were returned to the resource.

While on vessel patrol, Lieutenant Lightsey conducted a vessel safety inspection on a vessel in the river. During the inspection, the man mumbled his words and had a hard time retrieving safety gear. Due to several signs of impairment, the officer administered field sobriety tasks on the operator. After the tasks were completed, the operator was placed under arrest for BUI. Officer Maslo arrived on the scene to transport the operator to the local police department. After a urine sample was obtained, the man admitted to taking prescription medications.

While conducting vessel safety inspections, Officer Balgo saw two men paddling a canoe. The men did not possess any life jackets or a sound-producing device. One of the men did not possess any form of identification. When provided a name and date of birth, the officer could not find any record for the man. After several attempts, the officer located the man’s actual name and date of birth. The man was found to have an active warrant out of Palm Beach and was placed under arrest for the warrant and giving a false a name to a law enforcement officer. The other man was issued citations for the safety equipment.

Officer Eller was on foot patrol on the southeast corner of Haulover Canal when he noticed a male and female fishing from the shoreline. He approached and asked both individuals if they had any luck. The gentleman responded saying that they were only catching small mangrove snapper but they were not keeping any. Officer Eller conducted a resource inspection which revealed four undersized mangrove snapper and one undersized sheepshead stuffed into a small bait bucket. The subjects were cited accordingly.

Officers Eller and Hallsten were on water patrol in the Indian River when they noticed a large vessel pass by without any registration stickers. Officer Eller stopped the vessel and explained that the registration numbers, which were now visible, were improperly displayed. Following that, both Officers Eller and Hallsten also conducted a safety inspection of the vessel. When the officers asked for the registration document, the operator handed Officer Hallsten a fire extinguisher warning label. The smell of alcohol was apparent from the operator’s breath, and he was asked to perform field sobriety tasks. The operator performed very poorly and Officer Eller arrested him for BUI.

FLAGLER COUNTY

Officer Greenier investigated a report that a local bait and tackle shop owner was unlawfully harvesting and then offering for sale blue crabs from his business establishment. The shop owner would harvest blue crabs from a recreational vessel and remove crabs from his recreational traps, transport them by vessel and vehicle, then place them in shop tanks and offer them for sale. Through his investigative efforts and personal observations, Officer Greenier issued the shop owner a notice to appear for multiple misdemeanor commercial blue crab gear and licensing violations.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

While on patrol, Lieutenant Lightsey saw a man loading his vessel out of the water. After dragging the motor’s skeg up the boat ramp, the officer approached him to conduct a safety inspection. During the inspection, the man slurred his words, forgot to retrieve items and leaned on things to maintain balance. When asked, the operator admitted to consuming several alcoholic beverages. After conducting standardized field sobriety tasks, the man was placed under arrest for operating a vessel while impaired. The operator refused to provide a breath sample. The man was transported to the Indian River County Jail without incident.

While on patrol near Fellsmere, Investigator Horst saw a truck towing a large trailer full of tires. The truck was not displaying a waste tire collector permit on the driver’s door so Investigator Horst conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle to check for a permit to haul waste tires. The stop revealed that the subject did not have a permit to transport waste tires and that he had been hired by a local tire store to transport the tires. The subject advised that the trailer contained approximately 300 tires. The area of the stop has an ongoing issue of tire dumping. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the violation and released from the scene.

MARION COUNTY

Officer Rice was on land based water patrol at a boat ramp on Lake Weir. After sunset, he saw a vessel underway coming in to the boat ramp without navigational lights displayed. Officer Rice watched the operator moor the vessel, climb on the dock and immediately began urinating from the dock. Before Officer Rice could make contact to address the violations, he saw the subject lose his balance and fall on the dock. Officer Rice conducted a boating safety inspection on the subject’s vessel, and during the inspection he saw several additional clues of impairment. After the subject performed field sobriety tasks, he was placed under arrest and charged with boating under the influence (BUI), operating a vessel with no navigational lights, and issued written warnings for several other boating safety violations.

K-9 Officer Simpson was dispatched to an area regarding an abandoned campsite in the Ocala National Forest. Officer Simpson identified three subjects that had been living at the camp and left all their unwanted belongings in the woods. All three subjects were criminally charged with littering over 15 pounds.

PUTNAM COUNTY

Officer Jones was assisting a disabled motorist when a vehicle passed by them at a high rate of speed and extremely close to both of their vehicles. Officer Jones had to take evasive action to keep the other motorist and himself out of harm’s way. Officer Jones left the scene and initiated a traffic stop on the suspect vehicle. An investigation led to the driver being charged with habitual traffic offender/driving while license suspended, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officers Campbell and Taylor and Intern D. Delong were on patrol near Guana Dam and Lake Ponte Vedra for resource violations. Officer Campbell was working in plain clothes while Officer Taylor was in uniform and hidden from the fishermen’s view. They all saw a male subject catching red drum and placing them into a bucket. After observing the subject catch more than the legal limit, Officer Taylor made her presence known and conducted a resource inspection of the male subject. The subject was in possession of ten red drum. Some were found hidden in a cooler in the bushes by Officer Campbell. The subject was charged with a major violation and the fish were photographed and disposed of accordingly.

Officer Lawshe received information from an individual about a truck leaving from an area known for frequent trespassers. The reporting individual had seen the truck twice and provided the tag number. This was the same area where Officer Lawshe was working an ongoing case of a cannabis grow that would appear yearly off SR 206. His inquiry on the tag matched the one he had from two years prior on a suspect in the cannabis growing case. Officer Lawshe inspected the area further and found approximately 20 cannabis plants growing in plastic containers. Cameras were used to identify the vehicle entering and exiting the area to establish a routine. The color of the truck had changed from prior years’ pictures, but the tag number was the same. The times entering and exiting the area were random. Officer Lawshe visually checked the area where the subject parked his truck from the roadway off SR 206, but did not see a vehicle. For better surveillance, Officer Lawshe trimmed a trail to the grow site and noticed a white, five-gallon bucket sitting in the middle of the grow site. He heard and saw no movement and began to move quietly through the cannabis plants. As he rounded the trail, he could see a shirtless white male trying to hide, stooped down next to a cannabis plant and a five-gallon water bucket. Officer Lawshe announced himself and took the subject into custody. The subject was identified and booked into the St. Johns County Jail for marijuana-producing, schedule one drug and trespass on other than a structure or conveyance. Seventeen cannabis plants were photographed and seized as evidence.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officers Hastings and Dias were on patrol in Lake George when they saw a jet ski on plane in a posted, slow speed manatee zone. The jet ski continued operating to the point where the officers almost had to take evasive action to avoid a collision. The operator turned the jet ski abruptly and flung both the operator and passenger off. The officers made contact to address the violations and perform a boating safety inspection. Signs of impairment were evident and Officer Hastings conducted seated field sobriety exercises. Based on his observations, Officer Hastings placed the operator under arrest for BUI. The operator’s breath test results were .106 and .102.

Officers Haskins and McKee were performing resource inspections at a secluded boat ramp on Lake Monroe when they encountered two fishermen who were in possession of large amounts of panfish. A count revealed that one man possessed ten fish over the limit while the other possessed 14 fish over the limit. Both men were issued citations for the violation.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
FLAGLER COUNTY

Officers Aswall, Greenier, Harris, and B. Miller, along with Investigator Brechler and Lieutenant Zukowsky, assisted Regional Biologist A. Kropp and two local shorebird volunteers with the posting of Julia’s Island in the Intra-Coastal Waterway just north of downtown St. Augustine. With the advent of the shorebird season and the alteration of other local shorebird habitat following Hurricane Matthew last October, the island has seen an increase in bird numbers and species this spring. The officers transported Biologist Kropp and the volunteers in local patrol vessels to the island, working with them to erect information signage notifying island visitors of the nesting areas.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OSCEOLA COUNTY

Lieutenant Trusley and Officer Wigley participated in the first annual “Kids for Kids Fish-A-Thon.” The event was located at the Kempfer Cattle Company property. Forty children attended the event and caught 238 fish. Lieutenant Trusley and Officer Wigley assisted in getting rods and reels donated, and each child received a donated fishing rod and reel to keep. They also received instruction on fishing etiquette and safety. The children were also taught how to properly fillet and preserve the fish they caught.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HARDEE COUNTY

Officer Franks was on patrol after a night-hunting detail and saw a vehicle headed the wrong way on US Hwy 17. He stopped the vehicle and could smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage. The driver was asked to complete field sobriety tasks. After the tasks were completed, Officer Franks arrested the driver for DUI and driving with a suspended or revoked license and cited the driver for driving the wrong way.

HIGHLANDS COUNTY

Officer Cloud received information about a stolen ATV in Lake Placid. He enlisted the help of Deputy Tagtmeir of the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office. The officers located and recovered the ATV, and it will be returned to its rightful owner. Charges are pending on the matter.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on land patrol near the Little Manatee River, Officer Ahlers and Baker saw several subjects trespassing and fishing on CSX property. The officers approached and asked if the men had any fish and were told “No.” The officers asked if they could search nearby coolers and after being given permission, found numerous undersized mangrove snapper, none of which were over six inches. Both men were cited for their violations and warned for trespassing on CSX property.

LEE COUNTY

While on patrol around the Cape Coral Bridge, Officer Hardgrove encountered a subject fishing from the bridge abutment. He watched him for approximately 10-12 minutes from a distance, and saw him catch what appeared to be a mangrove snapper and immediately deposit the fish into a bucket beside him. Upon approaching the individual, Officer Hardgrove asked him if he had caught any fish and he stated that he had no fish. Several mangrove snapper were located inside the bucket. Four of the snapper measured under 10 inches, the minimum size limit. The subject was issued a citation for possession of undersized mangrove snapper.

While on patrol at the Koreshan State Historic Site, Officers Stanley and Winton conducted a retail fisheries inspection on a vender at a weekend farmer’s market. During the inspection, the officers discovered the vender did not possess a valid retail license and had been warned about the same offense in the past. The officers issued the vender a citation for failure to have a retail license and educated him about how to obtain one.

Officers Price and Perry were working plain clothes in the Fort Myers Beach area when they saw a charter fishing boat returning to the dock. While the boat was docking, they saw two passengers quickly jump off the boat, taking a bucket and cooler to a van in the parking lot. Officer Price followed the men to the van and discovered the bucket and cooler were full of fish filets packed in gallon storage bags. During the inspection, the captain admitted the filets were red snapper. Eighty-seven filets of red snapper were discovered, along with three red grouper over the bag limit. The captain was charged with having red snapper out of season, not in whole condition and over the bag limit, as well as over the bag limit of red grouper. The illegal fish were seized and the case has been turned over to officers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The captain will face federal prosecution.

Lieutenant Ruggiero and Officer Price responded to a complaint about a gopher tortoise violation near a new development. The officers arrived on the scene and saw signs that a mower had cleared an area with several gopher tortoise burrows in the area. Biologist Sievers made a site visit, and together they documented 23 gopher tortoise burrows that had been impacted or destroyed because of the mowing activity. One burrow was slightly collapsed and had a tortoise trying to dig its way out of the burrow. Fortunately, Lieutenant Ruggiero widened the opening and the tortoise escaped unharmed. The officers documented the scene, conducted interviews, and completed a report on the case. The builder will face charges of $1,500 for every two burrows that were impacted. The case will be sent to the state attorney’s office for review and possible prosecution.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officer Bibeau stopped a vessel that was returning from offshore to conduct a fisheries inspection and cited the captain for possession of reef fish not in whole condition. Officer Bibeau submitted the filets to the FWC forensics lab to determine the species of the fish. Officer Bibeau received the results of the testing that concluded the filets were gag grouper and red snapper, both of which were closed to harvest at the time of the stop. Officer Bibeau filed two more charges through the state attorney’s office for possession of the fish during a closed season.

While on water patrol in South St. Petersburg, Officers Bibler and Godfrey saw a vessel coming in from offshore at a high rate of speed. The officers caught up to the vessel and initiated a resource inspection. The subjects admitted to having red grouper and hog fish on board. A subsequent search of the cooler containing the grouper and hog fish revealed an undersized and out-of-season red snapper. Officer Bibler asked if there was any other fish on the boat, and one subject produced an out-of-season gag grouper that had been stuffed into the center console. Again, Officer Bibler asked if there was anything else, and the subject produced a spiny lobster also hidden in the center console. After being told there was nothing else, the officers searched the center console themselves and found another spiny lobster. Both lobsters had been speared and were out of season. The subjects were cited for undersized and out-of-season red snapper, possession of out-of-season gag grouper, possession of spiny lobster out of season and taken by illegal method.

Following up on a vessel that fled from them during a recent BUI detail, Officer Bibler and Lieutenant Van Trees arrested the operator of the vessel who fled. They booked him into the Pinellas County Jail for fleeing/eluding by a vessel, reckless operation of a vessel, and interference with a police officer. The subject was also cited for violation of a manatee speed zone, operating at night with no navigation lights, and scarring seagrass in an aquatic preserve. The officers could positively identify the operator the night of the incident, since he originally stopped for the officers before deciding to flee.

While on land patrol at the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park, Officer Bibeau conducted a resource inspection of a subject fishing from the pier. At the completion of the inspection, Officer Bibeau found an 11-inch red grouper in the subject’s cooler, well under the 20-inch minimum. The subject was cited accordingly for his violation.

Officer Martinez was following up on a boating accident in St. Petersburg, where an operator purposely raised his engine to spray water on an individual standing on the dock and, in doing so, hit another docked vessel and left the scene of the accident. Officer Martinez found the operator, interviewed him and, after his investigation, charged the subject with careless operation, a navigation rule violation and leaving the scene of an accident.

SARASOTA COUNTY

Officers Dalton and Alvis were working water patrol near Big Pass. While on patrol, they performed a boating safety inspection on a man operating a personal watercraft in the pass. During their inspection, the two officers became concerned that the operator of the personal watercraft was under the influence of alcohol. They asked the operator to perform field sobriety tasks to better gauge his level of impairment. The operator refused to perform all tasks and was subsequently arrested and booked into the Sarasota County Jail for refusal to submit, a criminal charge.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Fogle responded to a report of an injured loggerhead sea turtle struggling to swim in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately ½ mile off Knight Island. The turtle had been discovered by a passing boater who reported it to the FWC dispatch center. The Florida Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network was contacted and a team of volunteer rescuers from the Coastal Wildlife Club were then dispatched to the nearby Stump Pass Marina, where they stood by for further direction. Using the last known latitude/longitude coordinates given by the passing boater, Officer Fogle searched for and located the injured turtle. After assessing the turtle’s general condition, Officer Fogle marked its updated location and proceeded to the marina to pick up the rescue team. When they arrived back on the scene, Officer Fogle and the team made numerous attempts in the choppy water to approach the turtle, only to have it dive down out of reach. However, due to the animal’s injuries, it was only able to stay under water for a short time and would then resurface again. Finally, the team could close in on the turtle, and one of the members jumped in the water to help facilitate safely bringing the now exhausted turtle on board the patrol vessel. Once on shore, the stranding team and marina personnel loaded the turtle in a vehicle and transported it to Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota for medical attention. Although the cause of the injuries is unknown, the sea turtle is expected to survive.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
LEE COUNTY

Officers Rogers, Thompson, Hazelwood, and Lieutenant Barrett spent Mother’s Day patrolling Lovers Key State Park. This park, with miles of hiking trails and access to a beautiful island beach, always draws a large family crowd on Mother’s Day. Thanks to the extra patrols and the hard work of park staff, the day went well without any serious incidents.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officers Toby and Dial responded to an abandoned boat that was floating in the Lake Okeechobee Rim Canal near Taylor Creek. The vessel was unoccupied at the time it was located. Officers Toby and Dial requested the assistance of Investigator Lafoy. The vessel had been reported as stolen a few days earlier and the officers began to investigate. After visually inspecting the vessel and matching the hull identification number, the officers contacted the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (that had taken the initial report). The vessel owner arrived on the scene and verified the vessel and all items were still intact. The case was turned over to the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office for further investigation.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer LeBlanc assisted with a Kids Fishing Day, sponsored by the Palm Beach County Airboat Club and the FWC. Approximately 225 people attended the event including 90 youths that enjoyed some fishing time. Many fish were caught and there were a lot of smiles throughout the crowd.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

While conducting a JEA patrol aboard the OPV C.T. Randall near Western Dry Rocks, Lieutenant Shea and Officers Thurkettle, Johnson, and Bell performed a resource inspection on a vessel during the mutton snapper spawning season. Twenty undersized yellow tail snapper were found inside the live well of the vessel. The fish were seized as evidence and citations were issued for the violation.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Officers participated in an operation targeting boating safety violations and impaired boating in the waters of Biscayne Bay. There were 32 vessel inspections, 92 users checked, 18 uniform boating citations, 15 warnings, 2 BUIs, 1 warrant arrest, 1 felony drug possession and a total of 4 physical arrests during the operation.

MONROE COUNTY

While on water patrol just south of Pigeon Key off the Seven Mile Bridge, Officers Martino and Hettel came along side an anchored vessel with two persons on board to conduct a boating safety inspection. The operator stated they had not been fishing, and no fishing gear was visible. While checking the vessel’s safety gear, Officer Hettel noticed a small smear of blood near the vessel’s anchor hatch. When the operator was asked about it, he admitted to have been spearfishing and had some grouper on board. The spear guns had been concealed and covered up with life vests and gear bags. The subject then opened a cooler and pulled out two, legal-sized red grouper and a gallon-sized Zip-lock bag containing a gutted red grouper with the head missing. The subject was cited for the fish not being landed in whole condition and issued two warnings for no current registration on board and no fishing license in possession.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Way and Lieutenant Peters conducted a two-day patrol offshore of the Dry Tortugas. The patrol focused on the enforcement of state and federal fisheries, and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS). The officers conducted several vessel inspections of recreational and commercial vessels. During the patrol, the officers conducted a marine fisheries inspection on several commercial vessels. The officers stopped a vessel and conducted a marine fisheries inspection that revealed they were in possession of 64 snapper and over their aggregate bag limit of snapper. The captain of the vessel was cited for being over the aggregate bag limit of snapper. On the second day of patrol, the officers discovered a vessel fishing inside the Tortugas North Ecological Reserve of the FKNMS. A marine fisheries inspection revealed the vessel was over the daily bag limit of red grouper, possession of reef fish not in whole condition, and two of the vessel occupants did not possess a valid fishing license. The vessel’s catch was documented to include 11 red grouper, 12 mutton snapper (2 of which were not in whole condition), 5 other snapper (1 of which was not in whole condition), and 1 cero mackerel. An inspection of the vessel’s marine sanitation device (MSD) revealed the vessel was not in compliance with state and FKNMS regulations. The captain of the vessel was educated on the boundaries of the FKNMS’s North and South Ecological Reserve and educated on how to bring his vessel’s MSD into compliance with state and FKNMS regulations. The captain was cited for fishing inside the Tortugas North Ecological Reserve, being over their aggregate bag limit of red grouper, and being in possession of reef fish not in whole condition. Two of the occupants on the vessel were also cited for not having a valid fishing license. The captain was also issued three warnings for not remaining in continuous transit inside the Tortugas North Ecological Reserve without possessing a valid access permit, MSD not in compliance with state and FKNMS regulations, and for being over the bag limit of mutton snapper.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Barringer and Osorio assisted the Collier County Sheriff’s Office and Naples Police Department marine units with patrol during the 8th Annual Stand-Up Paddle Board Special Olympics in North Naples. Over 50 paddle-boarders participated in the event.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Mattson gave a presentation at Coral Shores High School in the Upper Keys and talked about the duties and responsibilities of FWC officers. He spoke to several commercial fishing classes during the day with approximately 50 students. The students asked questions about careers with FWC and the cases that the agency handles.

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  FWC Enforcement Report May 5-11. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 05-24-2017, 06:33 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officers Allgood and Long found two people illegally camping in Perdido River Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Camping is only allowed in designated camping areas and entry into the area is prohibited one and a half hours after sunset. While speaking to the individuals regarding the violations, they were found to be in possession of marijuana. While addressing the violations, another vehicle drove into the parking area. Officer Long approached that vehicle, spoke to the driver and noticed there was a large pipe used for smoking marijuana on the passenger’s side floorboard. The driver and passenger of this vehicle were also found to be in possession of marijuana. Notice to appear citations were issued for possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers responded to two boating accidents involving two rented deck boats that were attempting to return to shore when they were swamped near the mouth of Boggy Bayou in Choctawhatchee Bay. Nine people were rescued from each of the sinking vessels. A combination of Good Samaritan boaters, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)-Destin and Eglin livery responders returned the passengers safely to the boat ramp.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Officer Gore was on patrol at Culpepper Landing on Holmes Creek when he encountered two subjects on a vessel. Upon conducting a boating safety inspection, he noticed the operator seemed unsteady on his feet, fumbled with removing equipment, and had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath. Field sobriety tasks were conducted and the subject was determined to be under the influence and was arrested. He refused to provide a breath sample and was transported to the Washington County Jail and booked for BUI

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officers concentrated on off-shore fisheries patrols. They issued notice to appear citations for possession of undersized and over the bag limit of red snapper and possession of an undersized amberjack. Two other individuals were cited for possession of red snapper in federal waters. Red snapper season is currently closed in federal waters.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Maltais assisted USCG-Destin with the annual safety meeting held by the U.S. Navy’s Strike Fighter Squadron 101 on Eglin Air Force Base. There were 220 sailors from the F-35 “Grim Reapers” squadron who attended the briefing. The USCG officers spoke about boating safety requirements on the water. Officer Maltais addressed BUI enforcement, boating accident reporting, local waterway navigation and state parks in preparation for the busy boating season and summer holidays.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Lewis teamed up with FWC biologists to speak to approximately 120 students from Woodlawn Middle School at Blackwater River State Park. Officer Lewis spoke to the students about FWC’s mission, resource protection, boating safety and environmental laws.

Officer Arnette spoke to approximately 150 first-grade students from Baker Elementary School at the FWC Blackwater Fisheries Center in Holt. He talked about the role of an FWC officer and answered numerous questions from the young visitors.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
CLAY COUNTY

Officer Barber and Lieutenant Glover were on water patrol in Black Creek conducting a safety inspection, with their emergency lights activated, on a vessel inside a no wake zone. The officers noticed a vessel coming in their direction on a full plane inside the no wake zone and had to make an evasive maneuver to avoid a collision with their patrol vessel. The officer broke away from their safety inspection and stopped the vessel that nearly collided with their vessel. Immediately, the operator showed signs of impairment and Officer Barber conducted field sobriety tasks to determine if the operator was impaired. Officer Barber determined the operator was under the influence of alcohol or drugs and placed the subject under arrest. The subject was transported to the Clay County Jail where he provided a breath sample that was over three times the legal limit. The operator was charged with BUI, reckless operation of a vessel and wake zone violation.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officer McDonald was on patrol in Itchetucknee Springs State Park when he saw an alcohol violation. Upon approaching the vehicle, in plain view, a cigar package was visible containing cannabis. Officer Johnston arrived on the scene a short time later and located two more marijuana cigarettes in the vehicle. One subject admitted to possession and purchase of the cannabis. The subject was issued a citation for the violation and the cannabis was seized as evidence.

DUVAL COUNTY

Lieutenant Arkin was dispatched to the Saint Johns River and the mouth of Julington Creek regarding an injured bald eagle floating in the water. The injured bald eagle was reported by a Good Samaritan who noticed it while recreating on his vessel. With the assistance of the Good Samaritan, the bald eagle was netted and transported to the Mandarin Park Boat Ramp where Officer Schirbock was waiting to assist him. Lieutenant Arkin and Officer Schirbock then freed the eagle from the net and Officer Schirbock transported it to a local rehabber. The bald eagle is going to be fine.

Officers Schirbock and Lumpkin were dispatched to the Ortega River where a subject on a vessel was tying up and towing away a posted derelict vessel currently being processed by FWC at the Wayne B. Stevens Boat Ramp. The officers stopped the vessels at the Timuquana Bridge at the Ortega River. The subject operating the towing vessel gave officers a fictitious name several times. It was later discovered that this subject was the original owner of the derelict vessel and was tying it off to prevent FWC from removing the vessel from state waters. The subject had warrants for leaving a derelict vessel on the Florida waters, failure to transfer vessel title, and for violation of probation for driving while license suspended or revoked (DWLSR). The subject was also in possession of narcotics and hypodermic needles. Officers Schirbock and Lumpkin arrested the subject for giving law enforcement a fictitious name and for the outstanding warrants. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) arrested the subject for also giving law enforcement a fictitious name, the JSO warrant and the drug and paraphernalia charges.

Officer Schirbock initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle travelling at an unsafe speed for conditions and weaving in and out of traffic without signaling. Upon contacting the driver, Officer Schirbock smelled a strong odor associated with cannabis coming from the interior of the vehicle. Upon being questioned about the possible cannabis, the driver handed over a plastic baggy of approximately 13 grams of Cannabis. The driver was issued a notice to appear in court for possession of cannabis under 20 grams.

NASSAU COUNTY

Several officers from Duval and Nassau counties worked in Nassau County on vessel patrol, assisting the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office and the Fernandina Beach Police Department with the annual Shrimp Festival parade and fireworks event. Wind conditions made for minimal vessel traffic on Saturday, but Sunday turned out to be a perfect day for the annual festival.

RESCUES
CLAY COUNTY

Officer Barber and Lieutenant Glover received a call from dispatch stating that there was a subject who was separated from her party and floating down black creek inside Jennings State Forest. The caller was worried because she had not seen the subject in hours and it was now dark. The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office launched a helicopter with FLIR capabilities and located the subject on the river bank approximately 1½ miles from the party. Officer Barber arrived on the scene and walked down the bank of the creek toward the lost subject while Lieutenant Glover launched a kayak from the landing. Officer Barber found the subject waiting on the creek bank as she was unable to walk due to a medical condition. Lieutenant Glover arrived with the kayak, assisted the subject in it and walked/paddled the subject down to the second landing, approximately 1½ miles away where the rest of her party was waiting for her.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
CLAY COUNTY

Officer Starling and Lieutenant Glover attended the annual “Boy Scouts Merit Badge Blitz” at the Boy Scouts Camp on Doctor’s Lake. The officers discussed the duties of an FWC officer, hunting and fishing regulations, boating safety and the importance of conservation. There were 128 boy scouts in attendance with several interested in becoming an FWC officer.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

While returning from patrol at Sebastian Inlet State Park in the early morning hours, Officer Marroquin saw a vehicle stopped at an intersection with no visible lights. A traffic stop was initiated to address the violation, during which the driver showed signs of impairment from drugs and/or alcohol. The driver was asked to submit to field sobriety tasks and agreed. The driver performed poorly and was placed under arrest for DUI. At the jail, the driver refused to provide a urine sample. The driver was charged with appropriate citations and turned over to the Brevard County Jail.

Officer Marroquin was conducting resource inspections at a local fishing pier. While checking an individual for a fishing license, dispatch advised that the individual was wanted on an in-county felony warrant. The individual was placed under arrest and transported to the Brevard County Jail.

Officer Marroquin was conducting BUI enforcement at a local boat ramp when he saw the operator of a PWC returning from a spoil island without a lifejacket and violating the manatee zone. The operator showed signs of impairment as he stepped off the PWC. The operator performed poorly on field sobriety tasks and was placed under arrest for BUI. Infractions were issued for refusal to submit to a breath test and for not wearing a lifejacket on a PWC.

A man charged with fleeing and eluding Lieutenant Lightsey earlier in the year pled guilty and was sentenced to 36 months of probation, 24 months of driver’s license revoked, 50 hours of community service and a $100.00 fine for the cost of prosecution.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

While working late-night resource protection at Oslo Boat Ramp, Officers Platt and Graves saw a vehicle stopped at the boat ramp. The driver started a conversation with the officers and, during the interaction, showed signs of impairment from drugs and/or alcohol. The driver was asked if he would submit to field sobriety tasks and he agreed. The driver performed poorly and was placed under arrest for DUI. At the jail, the driver was asked to provide a breath test which recorded over three times the legal limit of alcohol of .08 blood alcohol content. The driver was charged with DUI and turned over to the Indian River County Jail.

Officers Kearney and Dubose conducted a fisheries inspection at a local fish house. The inspection revealed numerous violations including undersized sheepshead, undersized amberjack and insufficient records. Criminal citations were issued for the offenses.

LAKE COUNTY

Officers Morrow and Teal received information that a man had shot a great blue heron on his dock. During their investigation, the subject admitted to shooting the bird. The officers seized an air pellet rifle used in the crime and transported the injured bird to the East Coast Rehab Center. Charges were direct filed with the state attorney’s office.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

The north and south Volusia County squads participated in a boating safety targeted enforcement which focused on a large boating event held annually on Lake George. Additional FWC officers and deputies from the Volusia and Lake County Sherriff’s Offices participated due to the expected size of the event. One BUI arrest was made and uniform boating citations and written warnings were issued.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
BREVARD COUNTY

Lieutenant Zamonis and Officers Platt, Griffin and Marroquin participated in an outreach event at Sweetwater and Midway Airboat Clubs this week during their monthly meetings. Topics included boating safety, airboat specific requirements, resource protection and BUI awareness. The airboat clubs were very excited to have FWC as guest speakers and appreciated all the information they shared.

RESCUES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer D. Humphrey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife officers responded the to the report of a vessel that was overturned with people in the water at Mosquito Lagoon. Officer D. Humphrey responded by vessel and picked up the other officers on the way. With the assistance from the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office helicopter, they located the sunken vessel and two men floating near the vessel. The men were rescued with the assistance of life jackets and a throwable device. A dog was also rescued. Both men and the dog were transported to shore and sustained no injuries.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HIGHLANDS COUNTY

Officer Smith was on night patrol travelling to check a boat ramp in Sebring and saw subject fail to yield or stop from a parking area before pulling out in front of Officer Smith's patrol vehicle, causing him to slam on his brakes to avoid a side impact collision. A vehicle stop was initiated, and alcohol could be smelled emitting from the vehicle. Based on the results of field sobriety tasks, the subject was arrested for DUI. The subject’s breath samples revealed a result of 0.086.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Officers Ferguson, Martinez and Phillippi worked a targeted enforcement action plan focusing on freshwater net violations in Mobbly Bayou Preserve. The officers received numerous tips regarding the use of cast nets to harvest undersized snook in the brackish water of the ponds. Officer Martinez worked the area in plain clothes while fishing from the bank. Several fishermen were seen throwing cast nets in an area prohibited by a Pinellas County Ordinance. The fishermen were approached by Officer Ferguson and checked for freshwater fishing licenses. One of the fishermen did not have a fishing license, and one of them refused to identify himself when being told he was going to receive a written warning for the cast net violation. The subject refused to identify himself after numerous warnings and was arrested for obstruction without violence and taken to the Pinellas County Jail.

Officer Martinez was on land patrol near the Gandy Bridge when he saw a subject spearfishing just off the seawall. When the subject surfaced, he saw Officer Martinez and dropped his spear gun and a stringer of fish. The subject stated he didn’t have anything and was just snorkeling. Officer Martinez advised the subject that he saw all his gear and he needed to retrieve it and exit the water. As the subject went to retrieve his gear, he attempted to let the fish on his stringer go, and splashed the water to conceal the fish floating away from the officer. The fish floated to the surface and were seized. The subject had speared an out-of-season and undersized snook. Charges for illegal method of take, out-of-season and undersized snook, as well as obstruction, were issued to the subject.

LEE COUNTY

Officers Stanley and Winton conducted a marine sanitation inspection on a floating structure used as a bait shop near the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River. During their investigation, the officers discovered that the vessel’s sewage was pumped directly into the water. The bait shop owner was cited for the violation and provided information about how to properly dispose of human waste.

Officer Price and K-9 Officer Collazo were on ATV patrol in the South Florida Water Management District vacant lands west of Vincent Road, where they located a white Ford F250 pickup truck abandoned on Sand Road. The vehicle was reported stolen last month out of Lee County. Lee County Sheriff’s Office deputies were transported to the off-road site with a side-by-side utility vehicle to complete the stolen vehicle recovery. The vehicle was subsequently removed and the vehicle owner was notified.

Officers Smith, Burks, Martin, Bergwerff, and Hughes got underway on the Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Gulf Sentry. The officers left Saint Petersburg for a multiday patrol. They located the shrimp boat fleet off Lee County. One of the numerous shrimp boats the crew inspected had multiple turtle excluder device violations on more than one net. The vessel was issued three federal citations. On the last day of the patrol, a charter boat was inspected and the vessel captain did not have the proper USCG credentials. A federal citation was issued and the case was turned over to USCG.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land patrol near the Courtney Campbell Causeway, Officer Martinez saw a subject swimming in the water next to the seawall. He watched the subject for several minutes and realized that he was swimming back and forth facing the seawall as if he were spearfishing. Officer Martinez approached the subject and asked if he was fishing. The subject stated he was only “grabbing oysters.” After inspecting a bucket of oysters, Officer Martinez asked the subject if he had any other resource in his car, and he replied “no” and gave permission to search. A bag was found in the vehicle with four whole stone crab, one of which was egg bearing. The subject said he hid them under the passenger seat because he wasn't sure if they were legal. The subject was issued the appropriate misdemeanor citations for his violations.

While on water patrol near the Gandy Bridge, Officer Phillippi and Lieutenant Van Trees saw numerous people fishing from the base of a bridge support. As the officers approached, a subject quickly ran away to the opposite side of the support beam where the officers couldn’t see him. Lieutenant Van Trees jumped from the boat to the support beam and followed the subject. He saw the subject taking a sheepshead off a string and was starting to throw it into the water. Lieutenant Van Trees shouted at the suspect right before he threw it into the water. Lieutenant Van Trees took possession of the fish and asked if there were any more fish. The subject replied “no,” but more undersized sheepshead were found in a nearby cooler. The subject was cited for possession of undersized sheepshead.

Officer Martinez was on land patrol on Gandy Beach when he saw a man wading in the water with a dip net and a plastic tub behind him. Officer Martinez performed a resource inspection and found that the man was in possession of 12 whole stone crabs, two egg-bearing and nine with claws smaller than the legal limit. Officer Martinez cited him for possession of whole stone crab and possession of undersized stone crab claws. He also issued the man a warning for possession of egg-bearing females.

Numerous officers responded to Belleair Causeway Boat Ramp in regards to a single vessel accident where one individual sustained serious injury. While gathering information, the officers saw signs of impairment from the operator. The vessel and other items were seized as evidence, and the operator was arrested for several navigation rule violations and BUI. Investigator Schefano will complete the accident report.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
LEE COUNTY

Lieutenant Ruggiero responded to a call about a hawk stuck in a fence at Cypress Lake High School. When he arrived, he met with the complainant who had video of a red-shouldered hawk with its beak stuck through a chain link fence and it was unable to free itself. The complainant got the hawk free and it ran off into some nearby bushes. The hawk was hiding in the bushes and was captured using a towel. The red-shouldered hawk was delivered to CROW where it received a health check-up. The hawk did not have any major injuries and should make a full recovery.

RESCUES
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Officers Phillippi and Ferguson responded to a call from dispatch about a jet ski that had run aground in the Rocky Creek area, just north of the Courtney Campbell Causeway. After other vessels were unable to get to the stranded subject, Officers Phillippi and Ferguson used a shallow-water flats boat to navigate the back waters during a very low tide. After pushing the vessel over a shallow grass bank, the officers located a subject wading through the water toward them. The jet ski operator was wet and complaining of being eaten by mosquitoes, but happy to see the responding officers. The officers took him on board and with the help of a full moon, transported him back through the skinny waters to the safety of the Courtney Campbell Boat Ramp.

PASCO COUNTY

Officer Cocke and Investigator Tsongranis responded to Lake Nash in Holiday to assist Pasco County Sheriff’s Office with the retrieval of three individuals that were stuck on the lake. One small vessel had become stuck when the wind had blown their vessel into heavy hydrilla. A Good Samaritan had also become stuck while trying to assist the other individuals. Officer Cocke and Investigator Tsongranis safely removed all the individuals and brought them back to shore.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
HARDEE COUNTY

Officer Franks conducted a community outreach at the Agri-Civic Center for the Hardee County Emergency Management Hurricane Expo. Officer Franks spoke to approximately 150 attendees about the role the FWC plays in emergencies and the equipment used to aid the public. He also talked about the many areas of conservation, law enforcement and boating safety. Officer Franks handed out a variety of information about Florida and answered questions from the public.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
HENDRY COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Doricchi obtained a search warrant for a resident that was in possession of captive wildlife without a license. Members of FWC Special Operations Group (SOG) assisted by clearing the residence to ensure it was safe for the Captive Wildlife Investigators to enter. The search of the property revealed the illegal possession of a bobcat, raccoon, rattlesnake, red-tailed hawk and a crow. These animals were seized and placed at a properly licensed facility. The owner of the animals received 13 misdemeanor citations for the illegal possession of the animals, improper caging and other animal welfare violations. One non-criminal citation and nine warnings were also issued for violations related to this incident.

MARTIN COUNTY

Officer Cobo was called to assist Jonathan Dickinson State Park Ranger Bleau with a park patron flying an apparatus (drone) inside park boundaries. The patron refused to comply with the park ranger’s repeated requests to stop flying the drone. The park patron was issued two infractions, one for failing to comply with park staff and the other for deploying a flying apparatus inside a state park.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

A complaint was received that an unidentified subject was placing fishing lines in the water for catching turtles. During the months of May, June and July, no softshell turtles may be taken from the wild. Investigators Woolrich and Sierra responded to the area and located fishing lines. In addition, they saw softshell turtles hooked on several of the lines and no identifying information on the fishing lines (as required by law). The next day, Investigators Woolrich and Sierra contacted a subject they saw taking softshell turtles off the unmarked fishing lines. The subject was found to be in possession of seven softshell turtles. Investigator Woolrich issued the subject a citation for violations of possession of softshell turtles during closed season, over daily bag limit of softshell turtles, and taking softshell turtles using an unmarked fishing device. The Florida Administrative Code, 68A-25.002, contains general provisions for taking, possession and sale of reptiles, which includes softshell turtles.

Officers Godward and Spradling responded to a boating accident involving a dinghy that had crashed into the back of a motor boat. The operator of the dinghy was cited for careless operation and a boating accident self-report form was issued.

Officer Toby saw two individuals inside the South Florida Water Management District’s (SFWMD) Stormwater Treatment Area 1 West property. The two individuals were in an area that was closed to public access, were fishing in this area and had multiple game fish in their possession. Officer Muina arrived to assist. Officers Toby and Muina escorted both individuals out of the property and addressed the violations. Both individuals were issued two misdemeanor citations each; one for fishing in a closed area and one for illegal entrance into the property.

Officers Dial, Muina and Toby saw an individual fishing with a cast net near Belle Glade and conducted a fisheries inspection. The individual was unable to provide a valid freshwater fishing license and had caught six game fish with the cast net; specifically, two black bass, two bluegill, and two sunfish. The individual was issued a misdemeanor citation for taking game fish by illegal method and a written warning for fishing without a valid freshwater fishing license.

RESCUES
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Toby and Dial were notified of multiple individuals who were lost in the J.W. Corbett WMA. The individuals had been driving in an unfamiliar area and gotten their vehicle stuck off trail. Once stuck, they flagged down an individual that was passing by for assistance. The assisting individual ended up getting stuck as well. In total, five individuals, including one young child, were stranded in the WMA and in need of assistance. Officers Toby and Dial located them and gave them water to drink. They all appeared to be in good condition. A tow company was used to remove the stuck vehicles. The individual driving the vehicle which first became stuck was educated and issued warnings for an off-trail violation and no management area permit.

Officers Godward and Spradling rescued a man who fell off his sailboat and was unable to get back into his vessel. They physically pulled the exhausted boater from the water and placed him into their patrol boat.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROL
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Hankinson patrolled the intracoastal waterway in West Palm Beach during the Sun Fest Event. He promoted and monitored boating safety compliance in the high-traffic areas. Numerous boating violations were addressed accordingly.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

While on patrol in Picayune Strand State Forest, Officer Lugg came across several subjects that were wet and seemed to have been fishing. When asked, they denied that they had been fishing. Upon further investigation, one subject admitted to fishing in the state forest and gave the officer consent to search his vehicle. In the trunk of the vehicle, a burlap bag was found that contained two snook, a tarpon, eight largemouth bass, and several other nonregulated freshwater species. The subjects were arrested for numerous misdemeanor violations, including undersized, out-of-season snook, taking saltwater and freshwater gamefish by illegal method, illegal possession of tarpon and over the bag limit for black bass.

Officers Curbelo and Polly responded to an anonymous tip that a subject had two small alligators in a fish tank in his residence. While investigating the complaint, the officers saw the subject leaving the area. Officer Polly remained near the subject’s residence to observe any activity, while Officer Curbelo followed the subject’s vehicle to a residence in Naples. When the subject exited his vehicle, Officer Curbelo approached the subject to speak to him. When the subject agreed to speak, he was read his Miranda rights. The subject stated that he still had the alligators in a fish tank in his bedroom and that he would take Officer Curbelo back to his house and turn the alligators over to him. While waiting for Officer Curbelo to return, Officer Polly was approached by the subject’s mother who asked why he was there. When Officer Polly replied that he was waiting for her son to return, the mother asked if it was about the alligators. Both the mother and son gave the officers consent to search the residence, and the officers discovered two juvenile American alligators in a fish tank in the subject’s bedroom. The subject was issued a notice to appear for two counts of illegal possession of American alligator.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Officers from the off-shore patrol vessel OPV Fearless took part in a multi-day Dry Tortugas marine fisheries enforcement patrol. During their patrol and while returning to Ft. Jefferson from Pulley Ridge, they noticed a radar contact within the boundary lines of the North Tortugas Ecological Reserve. Upon approaching the anchored fishing vessel, the Fearless crew saw two yellowtail snapper floating directly behind its stern. The floating fish were recovered the officers boarded the vessel. They discovered 40 yellowtail snapper on board and the two floating snapper put the four fishermen over their daily allowable limit. The vessel was also in possession of 6 scamp grouper, 1 red grouper, and 1 mackerel. A consensual look through the captain’s GPS revealed a manually inputted coordinate in the exact location where he was anchored. All the fish were seized and the captain was cited for interference and illegally fishing in the North Tortuga Ecological Reserve.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Landa responded to a complaint regarding the illegal possession of a marmoset monkey. The individual was not licensed to possess the monkey, provided the information of the licensed individual who he received the monkey from, and was issued warnings for illegal possession of captive wildlife. Investigators Landa and Smith next visited the individual that transferred the monkey illegally. Misdemeanor citations were issued for the illegal transfer and improper caging, which led to an escape.

RESCUES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Plussa was on patrol when he arrived on the scene of a two-car collision. Officer Plussa saw that one of the drivers was unable to exit her vehicle due to the damage on the driver’s side. Realizing that the vehicle was also leaking fuel, Officer Plussa assisted the driver from the vehicle from the passenger side and removed her to a safe distance. Officers Plussa and Johnson then remained on the scene to assist with traffic until the Sheriff’s deputies could respond.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

While OPV Fearless and crew were on patrol, Tow Boat US received a mayday call via cell phone. The persons in distress advised Tow Boat US that their vessel had sank and they were all in the water approximately 5 miles east of Elliot Key. Due to the rough offshore weather conditions, Tow Boat US called the OPV Fearless and relayed the information. The Fearless responded to the general vicinity and began searching along with a Miami-Dade police helicopter. Just minutes into the search, the Fearless saw the police helicopter hover over a specific area. The crew approached the area and noticed the sunken vessel with four individuals floating nearby. A rescue throw bag was tossed to them and all four individuals clung to the rescue line and were pulled to safety on board the Fearless. No medical treatment was necessary.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
COLLIER, MIAMI-DADE, MONROE COUNTIES

Officers from Collier, Monroe, and Miami-Dade counties, as well as the BUI Task Force, joined forces with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Marco Island Police Department, Naples Police Department, and the USCG for the 41st Annual Great Dock Canoe Race and resulting party on Keewaydin Island. This annual event draws large crowds of boaters and partygoers every year and this year was no exception. FWC officers checked 165 vessels and issued 36 boating safety citations. The officers arrested 6 subjects for BUI (the highest recorded blood alcohol content was .153).

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Officers and command staff attended the annual Law Enforcement Memorial which took place in Tropical Park. The ceremony to honor fallen officers included agencies from city, state and federal levels. A 21-gun salute and a helicopter flyover concluded the ceremony.

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  FWC Enforcement Report April 28-May 4. All Regions
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NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Nichols and Bear Biologist Green responded to a homeowner who was leaving crushed bread pieces and birdseed in his backyard. Two black bears were using this as a food source. A few days earlier, Lieutenant Clark and Bear Biologist Green spoke to the homeowner at length about removing the food attractant. The homeowner admitted the bears ate the bread and birdseed. The neighborhood is experiencing daily encounters with the two bears. Officer Nichols’ inspection of the homeowner’s back yard revealed more bread and birdseed were placed on the ground. Further, the homeowner had a flatbed trailer in the driveway loaded with expired loaves of bread. The homeowner was issued a notification of non-compliance letter for the violation.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Pettey attended the annual meeting of the La Floresta Perdida hunt club, which manages more than 40,000 acres of land. Approximately 50 people were in attendance and Officer Pettey answered hunting related questions and discussed issues different club members had this past season.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Nichols provided police presence and public safety at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park for Earth Day. More than a dozen different environmental organizations and agencies participated. The park provided nature activities, games, animals, face painting and booths as well as food, music and fun. Approximately 1,000 people attended the event.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officer Stanley received a call from dispatch about two individuals trespassing while turkey hunting on some private property. The complainant, who had permission to hunt on the property, confronted the trespassers and one of the trespassers battered him, leaving marks on his chest and arm. With the help of Lieutenant Ferguson, the suspects were tracked down and identified. After several weeks of interviews and written statements, a sworn complaint was filed with the state attorney’s office for armed trespass and simple battery. One of the subjects was also written an infraction for not having a valid turkey permit.

CLAY COUNTY

Officer Justus was on patrol in Keystone Heights when he observed a subject fishing from a kayak on Lake Geneva after dark. A fisheries inspection revealed that the subject possessed eight black bass, three over the daily bag limit. The subject did not have any vessel safety equipment, including navigational lights after dark. Officer Justus issued a citation for over the daily bag limit of black bass and warnings for the vessel safety equipment violations.

Officers participated in a BUI of drugs or alcohol targeted enforcement action detail on Black Creek and Doctor’s Lake. A total of 69 vessels and 207 users were checked. There was one BUI arrest and one misdemeanor marijuana arrest. There were also 24 warnings and citations issued. Violations included safety equipment and violation of area manatee zones.

DUVAL COUNTY

Officer Rorer was conducting afternoon Joint Enforcement Agreement (JEA) dockside patrols at the Mayport Boat Ramp in Jacksonville when he encountered a local fisherman in possession of four undersized red snapper. The fisherman stated that they caught the fish at a reef named MR, which is approximately 12 miles east/northeast of the St. Johns River Inlet. The red snapper season is closed for possession in federal waters and have a size limit of at least twenty inches to possess in state waters. The subject was cited accordingly.

LEVY COUNTY

Officer Schulz was on water patrol in Waccasassa Bay when he observed four subjects actively saltwater fishing from an airboat. During a resource and boating safety inspection, he noted that none of the subjects had their fishing licenses on them. While running the subjects through dispatch, he found out that two had their hunting and fishing privileges revoked, one had an active felony warrant, and the captain of the vessel had an expired saltwater fishing license. The subject with the warrant was arrested and the vessel with the other three subjects on board was escorted to the boat ramp. At the ramp, Officer Johnston and Lieutenant Umhoefer assisted with the investigation. As a result of the investigation, the other subject with revoked privileges was arrested for fishing while license was revoked. Officer Schulz issued the captain of the vessel a citation for fishing without a saltwater license and two written warnings for boating safety violations. The two arrested subjects were transported to the Levy County Jail without incident and booked for the warrants and fishing while license privileges were revoked.

Officer Schulz was on water patrol in the Cedar Key area when he saw a commercial oyster vessel in prohibited waters. As he watched from a distance, he could see two people on board actively harvesting oysters. Upon making contact, Officer Schulz saw numerous baskets of oysters in the water from the prohibited area. While speaking with the subjects, they claimed to be relocating the oysters. During a vessel inspection, the officer found the subjects did not have the required boating safety gear, nor a marine sanitation device (MSD) as required to commercially harvest oysters, and one of the subjects did not have a valid saltwater products license (SPL) to commercially harvest oysters. Officer Schulz directed them to return the oysters back to the water and return to the boat ramp where they had launched. Both men were arrested and booked into the Levy County Jail on misdemeanor charges for harvesting from prohibited waters with no MSD on board, and no SPL to commercially harvest oysters. Warnings were issued for the boating safety gear violations.

Officers Schulz and Willis were on water patrol in Cedar Key when they spotted a commercial oyster vessel loading baskets of oysters into a vehicle. The officers stopped and spoke with the individual to perform a commercial fisheries inspection. During the stop, they realized they had dealt with this man in the past few months and issued him misdemeanor citations for commercial oyster violations. The officers found he did not have tags on his oyster baskets showing which area the oysters came from. The subject was in possession of 19% undersized oysters (well over the 5% undersized tolerance), had no SPL in his possession (as warned in the past), and had no proper MSD on board. The officers also noted that throughout the stop, the subject was stumbling and collided with another parked vessel while trying to dock his vessel, as well as other clues indicating the subject was impaired. Officer Willis performed standardized field sobriety tasks on him and determined that he was impaired. The subject was placed under arrest for the criminal violations. Because of a search incident to arrest, the officers also found marijuana (under 20 grams) in the subject’s pocket. The subject was booked on the misdemeanor charges at the Levy County Jail. The untagged oysters were seized and returned to the water alive.

Officer Schulz received information that a man had illegally caught a snook with a cast net off the Cedar Key Pier. On arrival, the officer located a blue bin with a black plastic bag inside near the subject matching the description provided. The man admitted to cast netting the snook and putting it in the blue bin. The snook was over the maximum legal size fillet and the man did not have a valid snook permit. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for not landing the snook in whole condition and was issued warnings for illegal method, oversized snook, and no snook permit. The snook was seized as evidence.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers are continuing to work area lakes for fish and boating safety violations. With rainfall conditions at low levels, officers are patrolling local hunt clubs and warning members of the high fire danger. After talking to Division of Forestry staff, officers are informing the public of the dangers of operating ATV's and parking them in grassy and dried-out areas.

RESCUES
LEVY COUNTY

Officer Schulz received a phone call about a man on a kayak in a secluded area having medical issues. The call was made by his friend who was kayaking with him. Officer Schulz launched from Fowlers Bluff Boat Ramp with Officer Johnston and Levy EMS. Once on the water, both officers and EMS located the kayaker and EMS provided medical treatment for shock. Both subjects and their kayaks were safely transported back to the boat ramp for further medical evaluation. The subject having the medical issues was released by EMS after receiving treatment.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ALACHUA COUNTY

Lieutenant Ferguson attended a Citizen Support Organization for San Felasco State Park. With nearly fifty people attending, the event honored several members for their volunteer efforts. They also welcomed new members to the citizen support organization.

CLAY COUNTY

Officer Barber attended a Boy Scouts meeting at the First Presbyterian Church in Green Cove Springs. He talked with scouts and their parents about the role and responsibilities of an FWC officer. He also discussed issues with human and wildlife conflict as well as venomous snake identification.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

While patrolling Sebastian Inlet State Park, Officers Hadwin, Graves and Rasey conducted a resource inspection on a fisherman. When asked if he had any luck, the subject responded that he had a “massive 31-inch snook.” After measuring the snook, it was 33 1/8 inches long. The subject was issued a citation for harvesting an oversized snook. Later that night, officers observed a fisherman slide what appeared to be a black garbage bag under his back pack before heading to the parking lot. As the officer approached the subject for a resource inspection, the subject attempted to avoid the officers. The officers stopped the subject and inspected his catch. The fisherman had five ladyfish, one jack crevalle in a five-gallon bucket and a redfish that measured 36 inches in the black plastic garbage bag. The subject was issued a citation for harvesting an over the size limit red drum.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

While conducting marine fisheries inspections in coastal Volusia County, Officer Thornton located a fisherman who was in possession of three fish. The fisherman stated the fish he had in his cooler were pompano, but upon further inspection, the fish were determined to be undersized permit. A citation was issued for the violation of possessing undersized permit and a warning issued for possession of over the bag limit of permit.



Officers North and Haskins were on patrol in a local county park when they encountered a man throwing a cast net in fresh water. A resource inspection found the man in possession of several bream. The man admitted to catching the bream in his cast net and had no other legal fishing apparatus in his possession. He was issued a citation for taking gamefish by unlawful method and a warning for no fishing license.



RESCUES



VOLUSIA COUNTY

FWC received a call from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office (VCSO) that a man had been hunting hogs on a piece of property in Edgewater and had become lost. FWC officers responded to the scene and, along with VCSO and K-9 bloodhound units from Tomoka Correctional Institute, began searching for the individual. The woods were very thick, making the search difficult. A thick canopy hampered efforts to locate the individual from the air as well. Searchers remained on the scene overnight, but efforts were unsuccessful. The next morning, approximately 20 FWC officers along with VCSO deputies, the Volusia County Fire search and rescue team and K-9 bloodhounds from Tomoka Correctional and Central Florida Reception Center arrived on the scene to resume the search. At approximately 3:00 PM that day, FWC officers Teal and Malicoat located some brush that looked as if someone had been laying down in it. FWC K-9 Officer North and K-9 Max, along with Officers Hastings, Teal and Malicoat were deployed to the area and a short time later, the subject was located. He was in good condition and able to walk out of the woods on his own.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
SEMINOLE COUNTY

A year-long task force coordinated between FWC, Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, Seminole County Watershed Management and Seminole County Solid Waste concluded with a large community clean-up of Bookertown in Sanford. Officer Weber and Lieutenant Chase were in the community helping along with approximately 50 volunteers. As part of the clean-up efforts, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection obtained funds for the removal of tires as a proactive response to Zika virus.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Officers Ahlers and Baker received a complaint about a subject keeping an oversized snook while fishing at Williams Park. The officers located the subject described in the complaint and found him to be in possession of one oversized snook. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the violation.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Price and Lieutenant Ruggiero were on water patrol when they stopped a commercial stone crab boat for a resource inspection. During the inspection, Lieutenant Ruggiero noticed a plastic box on the deck of the boat. After asking to look inside the box, one of the fishermen opened it, revealing a container of marijuana and paraphernalia. He was issued two misdemeanors for possession of marijuana under 20 grams and possession of paraphernalia.

Officer Price and Lieutenant Ruggiero stopped a commercial boat coming in from offshore and conducted a fisheries inspection revealing four undersized red grouper. The captain claimed the fish were all legal-sized and must have shrunk while on ice; however, three of the fish measured three-quarters of an inch under the legal size limit. A misdemeanor was issued to the captain for the violation.

Officer Price received information about a commercial business with employees that were feeding alligators on a regular basis. From a concealed location, he saw a man exit the back of the business and begin throwing food into a canal. Shortly thereafter, three alligators came up by the bank of the canal to eat the food, and the man went back inside. Officer Price approached the back of the business and asked the man to come back out. The man initially denied feeding the alligators, but after Officer Price told him what he saw, the man admitted to the violation and stated he had fed the alligators several times before. He was issued a citation for the violation and the alligators had to be trapped because of the potential threat to human safety. Feeding wildlife such as alligators, bears or raccoons is a violation of law and a safety issue for anyone else who may come near those animals.

Officer Bradshaw was called to Koreshan State Historic Site when park employees saw a vehicle driving down some of the walking paths in the park. Upon arrival, Officer Bradshaw located the vehicle abandoned with fresh crash damage to it. He searched for the vehicle’s occupants for about an hour, but was unable to locate them. When a tow truck arrived to remove the illegally parked vehicle, the occupants decided to come out from hiding. When they realized a law enforcement officer was still on the scene, they again tried to flee but were stopped. They were in possession of alcohol and marijuana. The vehicle was towed, and the two occupants were charged appropriately.

Lieutenant Barrett was patrolling the Punta Rassa Boat Ramp when he stopped two men on a boat for a dockside fisheries inspection. The two men claimed they had one 26-inch redfish in a live well. When Lieutenant Barrett measured the fish, the total length was almost 28 ½ inches, over the legal 27-inch size limit. The operator told Lieutenant Barrett that he had grown up fishing in the area and had never been found in violation of fisheries rules. However, a quick check of FWC records showed him to have been caught for a violation of spotted seatrout rules at the same boat ramp a few years previously. The operator was charged with possession of an oversized redfish. The redfish was released alive to the water.

MANATEE COUNTY

While Lieutenant Hinds was on land patrol at the South Skyway Rest Area, he noticed a man who had been spear fishing exiting the water. Upon completion of a resource inspection, he found that the man had shot a 34-inch snook. The subject was charged criminally for possession of oversized snook and snook taken by illegal method. The subject must appear in court for his violations. He was also warned for not having a diver down flag displayed.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Investigator Schefano, Officer Pettifer and a local police officer responded by water to a domestic call on a sailboat near Gulfport. While approaching the sailboat, the officers saw the captain of the vessel trying to leave the area by operating the vessel while dragging the vessel’s anchor. The officers boarded the vessel and immediately detected signs of alcohol impairment on the operator of the sailboat. The domestic issue involving two passengers on board was handled by the local police department. Standardized field sobriety tasks were administered to the operator of the sailboat, who was subsequently arrested for BUI and booked into the Pinellas County Jail.

While on water patrol in John’s Pass, Officers Ludtke and Burks were alerted by a boater that an individual stumbled to his vessel and left from a dock by a waterside bar. The officers located the vessel and initiated a boating safety inspection. During the inspection, signs of impairment were detected. Standardized seated field sobriety tasks were administered to the boat operator, who was subsequently arrested for BUI and transported to the Pinellas County Jail.

Officers Ludtke and Pettifer were on land patrol when they received information from an off-duty police officer regarding two individuals keeping undersized snook near the John’s Pass Bridge. Upon arriving on scene, the officers saw the described vehicle and individual allegedly keeping the undersized snook leave the area. The officers initiated a traffic stop to conduct a resource inspection. The officers obtained consent to search the trunk of the vehicle and found two undersized snook in a cooler. The driver was cited for possession of undersized snook. Officers Ludtke and Pettifer returned to the bridge and located the second individual who was identified as fishing with the driver. Upon interviewing him, he admitted, post Miranda, to catching one of the snook. He gave it to his friend to run it back to his house so they would not be caught with the fish if checked by FWC. That individual was also cited for possession of an undersized snook.

While on patrol, Lieutenant Laskowski saw three individuals fishing under a bridge at the North Skyway. During a resource inspection, one of the individuals said they caught a few fish. One legal- sized mangrove snapper was in their cooler. While dealing with the three men, a green stringer was visible tied to some rocks below the seawall. Three undersized snook were found on it. After being read Miranda, one of the individuals admitted to catching the three snook and putting them on the stringer. The individual was cited for possession of over the bag limit of snook, and issued written warnings for possession of undersized snook and possession of snook without a snook permit.

While on land patrol at Fort Desoto, Officer Bibeau saw an individual wade fishing from the shoreline. From a concealed location, the officer observed and waited for the individual to return to his vehicle. After a resource inspection, the individual was found to be in possession of two out-of-season snook and five trout, one of which was undersized. The subject was cited accordingly.

Officers Godfrey and Martinez were driving on I-275 during a recent night shift and stopped to assist a disabled vehicle that was pulled over on the side of the interstate. When the officers approached the vehicle, the lone occupant exited and approached them. The subject began to act nervously and his answers to the officers’ questions were suspicious and inconsistent. Officer Martinez saw drugs in plain view in the car and asked the subject about them. Moments later, the subject fled on foot and, after trying to jump a fence, was subdued by the officers. After searching the subject and the car, the officers found more drugs including numerous prescription pills and a stolen firearm right where the subject had been sitting. The subject was a convicted felon and had a felony warrant for his arrest as well. The subject was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on numerous felony and misdemeanor charges.

While on patrol near John’s Pass, Officer Pettifer saw an individual fishing from shore. He approached the individual and initiated a resource inspection. The individual admitted to catching one small fish. In a white bucket behind the individual, Officer Pettifer found a 23-inch snook. The individual said he did not know what the regulations were for that fish but sent his wife back to their car to get a copy of the regulations. Shortly after, his wife returned carrying a cooler. When Officer Pettifer asked about the fishing regulations, she reported she had not been asked by her husband to retrieve any fishing regulations. The individual was cited for possession of undersized snook.

SARASOTA COUNTY

Investigator Cooke received information that an individual had altered his required US Coast Guard captain’s license to obtain an FWC charter fishing license. Recently, the individual was adjudicated guilty for uttering a forged/altered instrument and possessing forged/counterfeited FWC license or permit. Both charges are third degree felonies.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
PASCO COUNTY

Officers from Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties conducted a detail for a large party on North Anclote Sandbar. The officers worked together to ensure boaters were operating safely and conducted several boating safety inspections, issuing several warnings, citations and an arrest for BUI. Additionally, the officers responded to a 911 call and assisted an injured female on a vessel.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
MARTIN COUNTY

While conducting saltwater fisheries inspections, Officer Morrow encountered a group of subjects fishing at the end of a pier. Upon inspection of their coolers, Officer Morrow located an undersized lane snapper and an illegal pufferfish. When questioned about who had caught the fish, all three of the subjects denied having caught them and stated “two guys were here earlier and caught them.” All subjects in the group were issued written warnings for possession of the illegal fish. The illegal fish were then seized and returned to the resource.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officers Allen and Brodbeck were on patrol at Slough Ditch near the Kissimmee River when they observed a male subject fishing from the S-85 South Florida Water Management District water control structure. The man had walked by several “No Trespassing” signs and was leaning against a rail where another posted sign was displayed. He also did not have a fishing license. He was issued a notice to appear in court for the trespassing violation and a warning for not having a fishing license.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Toby and Dial observed an individual fishing in a restricted area on South Florida Water Management District’s property at the Lake Harbor Structure near Lake Okeechobee. They conducted a fisheries inspection and had the individual exit the restricted property. The individual was in possession of undersized black crappie and fishing without a valid freshwater fishing license. The individual was issued two misdemeanor citations for possession of the undersized black crappie and trespassing on the restricted property. Additionally, the individual was issued a written warning for fishing without a valid freshwater fishing license.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Officer Payne was on land patrol in Fort Pierce conducting license and resource inspections. Upon arriving at the Taylor Creek spillway, he observed several individuals fishing. As he was approaching the fishermen, he saw a bucket that contained several snapper, a snook and several sheepshead. The fish were measured and all were found to be undersized except the sheepshead. Several snapper and the snook were still alive and were released. Several others were retained as evidence. One subject admitted to catching the fish and was cited for the violations.

Officer Payne was on land patrol when he observed several people fishing along the shoreline of the Indian River Lagoon by Old Fort Park. As he approached the two subjects, he observed a large snook on the sand. When he asked how big it was, one subject replied “32 inches.” Officer Payne inspected the snook and as he began to measure it for compliance, he noticed that the tail had been deliberately cut. The final measurement was 32.5 inches. One subject was cited for possession and harvest of an oversized snook. The fish was seized as evidence.

Officer Shermetaro was on land patrol near the bridge of the south causeway island when he observed several people in the water cast netting. He approached the subjects and discovered that they were harvesting fish only with a cast net. He then observed a bucket containing two small snook and several other unregulated fish. Asking about the fish in the bucket, both subjects admitted to catching the fish. Both subjects were cited for harvest of undersized snook and harvest of snook by illegal method. During the inspection, both snook appeared to be alive, so they were released back to the water.

Officer Miano responded to a report of criminal mischief occurring at Hawks Bluff Preserve State Park. Park rangers had discovered graffiti on an observation deck and wanted Officer Miano to investigate who might have defaced park property. The rangers determined that the level of graffiti was so extensive that removing the paint would not be cost effective and they would instead have to replace the painted boards. Officer Miano discovered several clues that pointed to a local individual. As more evidence was gathered, a case packet was put together and presented before the state attorney for review. Moving forward, the subject’s address was located and a subsequent interview of the subject was conducted. The subject, when presented with the evidence gathered against him, admitted to defacing park property and was cited for the violation.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
HENDRY COUNTY

Officer Muina responded to an alligator attack involving a dog at a local park and boat ramp located on Lake Okeechobee. After speaking with the owner of the dog and finding out where the attack happened, Officer Muina located the alligator and dog. A licensed alligator trapper was called and, with the assistance of Officer Muina and a deputy sheriff from a bordering county, the alligator was safely caught and turned over to the trapper. The alligator was nearly 11 feet long.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Crosby responded to the boat ramp in Okeechobee to investigate the report of an alligator attacking animals and being aggressive to people. Upon arrival, he learned the alligator had attacked a person walking his dogs and had taken a small dog that was not on a leash. The alligator remained in the area and could be seen still holding the deceased dog in its mouth. Due to complaints of the alligator already being aggressive towards people and now attacking animals at the boat ramp, a local trapper was contacted and the 12-foot alligator was captured at the boat ramp.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
BROWARD COUNTY

Officers Albert, Moore and Matthews participated at the “Blue Wild” expo in Fort Lauderdale and set up a booth with educational material for the public. They spoke to approximately 150 people, mostly on fresh and saltwater fishing regulations, boating safety equipment, commercial fisheries, hunting and invasive species. They also had an alligator and a ball python for the public to view. In addition, they made several contacts with potential FWC officer candidates.

Investigator Teems, Officer Wright and K-9 Zoey participated in a career day at a local preparatory academy. There were approximately 50 students in attendance and they discussed the importance of preserving Florida’s natural resources. They displayed several animals and conducted a K-9 demonstration.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Public Information Officers Moore, Matthews and several other FWC officers and dispatchers participated in the Palm Beach County Torch Run to benefit the Special Olympics. Most officers ran the entire length of the 5K run. After the run, the officers spoke with numerous children and their caretakers who were there offering support along the way.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Shortly after midnight, while on patrol in Picayune Strand State Forest, Officer Reams saw a vehicle traveling south on Miller Boulevard. As the vehicle turned onto Stewart Boulevard, Officer Reams observed two subjects in the bed of the truck working lights towards the tree line on either side of the road. The forest is closed to visitors after sunset, so Officer Reams conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle. Officer Reams saw two subjects in the bed of the truck, one with a handheld spotlight and the other with a headlight. The subjects also had a loaded .22 rifle in easy reach of both men. Officer Reams requested Officer Tidwell respond as backup. After speaking to the subjects, the officers discerned that the driver of the truck had a revoked driver’s license. All three subjects were arrested and transported to the Collier County Jail for gun and light violation and the driver was also cited for driving with revoked driver’s license.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

FWC Investigators in Miami identified and returned a stolen PWC to a victim/owner a year after his two PWCs were stolen. The owner, who did not have the PWC insured at the time of the theft, was ecstatic and extremely grateful for the recovered PWC. Each of his PWCs were worth $15,000 when they were stolen in 2016. The victim/owner is hopeful that the companion PWC will also be located and recovered.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Rubenstein was conducting a resource check in the lower Keys and saw a van parked on the side of the road with a few coolers inside. Officer Rubenstein approached one individual that was there fishing and noticed a large amount of snapper in his bucket as well as in coolers in the vehicle. The individual then apologized for not telling the truth about the large amount of snapper in the car. The individual possessed a total of 45 mangrove snapper, 6 of which were undersized, and 2 undersized mutton snapper. The individual was arrested and booked into jail for the major violation.

Officers Wilkins and Larios were patrolling the Channel Two Bridge when they came upon a white minivan with several individuals loading fishing gear into the back. Inside the trunk of the minivan was a cooler with an oversized parrotfish, a black bag with four undersized schoolmaster snapper and a bag containing an undersized mutton snapper. Officer Wilkins then placed the individual under arrest and booked him into the Plantation Key Jail on several misdemeanor charges.

RESCUES
COLLIER COUNTY

Lieutenant Mahoney, Officers Tidwell and Barringer assisted the Collier Fire and Florida Forest Service personnel with a ten-acre fire that occurred at the Jones Mine mulching facility. Their efforts included patrolling the bird rookery located in the south portion of CREW WMA using a side-by-side UTV to clear the hiking trails for visitors, search for hot spots due to the high winds and securing the area where fire personnel attended to the mulch piles.

Officers Yaxley, Kleis, Plussa, Arbogast and Lugg responded to a missing person call on Cape Romano. The 911 caller reported that an elderly male was conducting geological surveys and had lost contact with his group on land. When his group went to search for him, they found his boat beached and half sunk. Lieutenant Sushil provided incident command from land and coordinated the responding units. Officers Yaxley, Kleis and Plussa were dropped off and searched the densely wooded island on foot. Officers Lugg and Arbogast conducted searches from their patrol vessels around the island. The Collier County Sheriff’s deputies also assisted in the search with their helicopter searching from overheard. The subject was located by a civilian transiting the north side of the Cape who saw the man waving him down. The civilian returned the missing person to the officers on the island for first aid due to dehydration and fatigue.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Plussa, Lugg, Arbogast, Kleis and Yaxley participated in two targeted enforcement details over the weekend. The first was aimed at addressing violators of the slow speed and 30 mph manatee speed zones throughout the area. The officers stopped numerous vessels and issued multiple citations and warnings. The second detail involved the officers teaming up with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit to walk Keewaydin Island by foot, interacting with beachgoers and addressing public safety violations such as BUI, underage drinking, and environmental violations such as littering, and violations of the critical wildlife area where protected shorebirds were nesting. The officers interacted with dozens of patrons and educated many on common laws and violations due to the following week’s upcoming canoe race.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
COLLIER COUNTY

Lieutenant Shea and Officer Thurkettle attended the annual Naples High School JROTC Military Ball and program describing the responsibilities of the FWC, the role of an FWC Officer, and how to become an FWC Officer. The students had questions about exotic reptiles, fishing and hunting regulations, general law enforcement, and endangered animals. Both Lieutenant Shea and Officer Thurkettle had attended the Naples High School JROTC program participants during their four years in high school and discussed with the students the value of the leadership training they received in the program and how it could benefit them in their future careers in law enforcement.

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  FWC Enforcement Report April 21-27. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 05-02-2017, 06:50 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

While checking several fishermen on the Bob Sikes Bridge, Officer Manning noticed fresh blood and large scales on the ground. A nearby fisherman denied knowing anything about it and claimed he had not caught anything. While checking the individual’s cooler, Officer Manning found two large fillets. The individual at first insisted the fillets were from a grouper he bought from a fish market. Officer Manning determined the fillets were from a red drum and located a bloody knife. After additional questioning, the individual admitted to catching and cleaning the red drum. The subject was issued a notice to appear citation for the violation.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow, Officers Boyd and Nelson located a vessel approximately 14 miles south of Carrabelle. After boarding the vessel, Officer Nelson located cut-up red snapper on their bait table and hooks. An interview of the occupants reinforced that they had cut up the red snapper and were using it for bait during the closed season. The violations of possession of red snapper during federal closure, not landing in whole condition and using reef fish for bait were addressed with the appropriate warnings and citations.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow, Officers Matechik and Nelson located a vessel approximately 24 miles south of St. George Island. While approaching the vessel from approximately 3 miles away, they saw the occupants moving it around quickly, turning south and coming on plane. Its original location was marked on radar and after the vessel was stopped, the FWC officers boarded the vessel. The Guardian operated the vessel's course and located a goliath grouper floating in the prop wash. The 73-inch goliath grouper had large amounts of fillets removed and still had a metal gaff stuck in its mouth. The officers also located three whole gag grouper, three whole red snapper and two gag grouper fllets in the vessel's cooler. The vessel also had evidence of the goliath grouper on board with large bloody drag marks coming from the stern, through the dive door and into the vessel. Large scales consistent with a goliath grouper were also located. When interviewed, the occupants confessed to possession of the goliath grouper and throwing it overboard. The appropriate federal violations and warnings were issued for the offenses.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico on board the Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow, Officers Boyd and Nelson located a vessel approximately 11 miles south of St. George Island. During the boarding, the officers located two gag grouper in a cooler. The officers addressed the federal violations with the appropriate warnings and citations.

HOLMES COUNTY

Lieutenants Walsingham, Bartlett, Brooks, Investigators Armstrong, Goss and Officers Brooks, Alsobrooks, Gore, White and Cutchin assisted the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office in a manhunt for a burglary suspect that had fled the scene on foot. The suspect had numerous burglary warrants as well as charges stemming from a previous encounter with Officers Jackson and Brooks when he provided a false name and fled on foot. Through the cooperation and teamwork of numerous agencies, the subject was captured approximately ten miles away.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Hutchinson was patrolling near Keyser's Landing and the Escambia River when he observed several men standing beside a truck that was stuck in a mud hole on the edge of the right of way. He approached the men and while speaking with them, he observed fresh tire tracks and deep ruts in front of the truck leading into private property. Officer Hutchinson questioned the men about the damage to the right of way and the private property. Two of the men admitted to purposely mud riding and damaging the property. Officer Hutchinson issued the two men notices to appear for damaging public land with a motor vehicle.

Officers Lewis and Jernigan were patrolling on the beach when they observed a man surf fishing. Officer Lewis asked the man for his fishing license and when he was retrieving it from his wallet, Officer Lewis observed him remove a small baggie containing pills from his wallet and try to conceal it. Inspection of the bag revealed a controlled substance. Another pill was also found in his wallet. The subject voluntarily stated that the pill in the baggie was Sub Oxone. Officer Lewis arrested and charged the subject with two felony counts of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and possession of drug paraphernalia.

WALTON COUNTY

Officer Yates completed an investigation from 2016 involving a bear that was shot in a subject’s yard. The subject stated that the bear was attempting to get his dog, but the investigation revealed that the bear was leaving the area. Lieutenant Walsingham and Officers Brooks, Letcher, and Kinney assisted. Charges have been direct filed with the Walton County state attorney’s office.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Officer Gore was on patrol at Culpepper Landing on Holmes Creek when he observed a vessel with two occupants returning. As it neared, he smelled the odor of burnt cannabis and asked the male to step out of the vessel. He identified the odor was coming from the subject and asked if he had any cannabis and the subject stated “yes.” A search of his person revealed cannabis and methamphetamine. The subject was arrested and transported to the Washington County Jail for the misdemeanor and felony violations.

Officer Gore was at the same location days later and observed another vessel returning to the ramp. It had an expired registration and when he conducted a safety inspection, he observed grass, mud, scales and a cast net in the bottom of the boat. When he asked the two subjects if they had been fishing, they replied that they had. A check revealed 120 bream, 20 over the daily bag limit. Both subjects were issued citations for taking over the daily bag limit of bream, written warnings for possession of an Illegal fishing device (possession of a cast net while in possession of game fish), and the operator was issued a written warning for an expired registration.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Long taught the laws section of a hunter’s education class this week. The class was held at the Molino Community Center in Molino.

HOLMES COUNTY

Lieutenant Walsingham, Officers Yates and Kinney assisted with a Holmes County 4-H Youth Fishing Day. The 25 elementary-aged children had completed their classroom portion and spent the afternoon on the water fishing. Valuable skills were learned and everyone had fun in the outdoors.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Pifer and Corbin participated in an outreach event called “Construction Junction,” presented by the Community Police Officers of Fort Walton Beach. This is a community event where kids interact with construction equipment, military, and law enforcement vehicles and personnel in a safe environment.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Land conducted a youth outreach event at Shoreline Park in Gulf Breeze for approximately 100 students from Gulf Breeze Middle School. Officer Land had an FWC vessel on display and educated students about the role and responsibilities of an FWC officer. He had boating safety items on display and explained the importance of safe boating and answered questions from students regarding boating rules, resource regulations, and public safety concerns.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
BAKER COUNTY

Officers Burnsed, Gill and Tyler were working the last weekend of spring turkey season targeting illegal hunting over bait. Shortly after daylight, Officer Burnsed located a vehicle that was parked in a small wooded section of a hunting club. The vehicle had been parked in the same location for three straight weekends. Suspecting the hunter was hunting over bait, K-9 Officer Gill and Officer Tyler arrived to assist. K-9 Friar was deployed on the track of the hunter to locate his hunting area in the wooded lot. After a short track, K-9 Friar located the hunter actively hunting turkeys. The hunter was found to be hunting over bait and was cited for the violation.

CLAY COUNTY

Officers Burnsed and Tyler were on water patrol working a Boating Under Influence (BUI) detail to target unlawful operation of vessels while under the influence. The officers observed a vessel that did not have a proper registration displayed and motioned for the vessel to approach. The operator of the vessel ignored the officers’ instruction and continued to drive away. The officers stopped the vessel to address the violation. While speaking with the operator, the officers could smell a strong odor of alcohol on the operator’s breath and the operator was struggling to maintain normal faculties. The officers performed field sobriety tasks on the operator to determine if he was under the influence. Based on the sobriety tasks, the operator was placed under arrest for BUI and transported to the Clay County Jail. At the jail, the operator blew a .16 and .18 on the breath intoxilizer.

DUVAL COUNTY

Lieutenant Arkin and Officer Culbreth were dispatched to Haulover Creek in Duval County to investigate the report of two subjects using a gill net to fish. Upon arrival, Lieutenant Arkin contacted one of the subjects and Officer Culbreth contacted the other subject. Only one of the subjects had a fishing license. A fisheries inspection revealed a 5-gallon bucket of mullet and unregulated fish. Both officers then checked the nets the two subjects were using. One of the subjects possessed a monofilament entangling net which contained wet saltwater debris. The owner of the net stated that one of his friends gave him the net in Mexico and admitted using it to catch the fish. Officer Culbreth placed the owner of the net under arrest for illegal use of nets/entangling net. Officer Culbreth wrote the other subject a non-criminal infraction for having no saltwater fishing license.

Lieutenant Arkin and Officer Hoover were on vessel patrol in the St. Johns River when they conducted a fisheries inspection. Officer Hoover discovered two redfish hidden in a compartment during the vessel stop/fisheries inspection. The two redfish measured 31 and 39 inches. The legal-size limit for redfish is between 18 and 27 inches. Officer Hoover charged the subject with possession of oversized redfish and issued a notice to appear.

SUWANNEE COUNTY

Officers Johnston, Drew, and Cline recently worked the Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers in response to a request for assistance from the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office anticipated a large crowd with above-average boat traffic due to a large party being held at a bar located on the Santa Fe River. The officers conducted enforcement efforts from the water on the day of the event, checking several vessels and dozens of users. The officers issued three boating citations and thirteen written warnings.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LAFAYETTE COUNTY

Officers Drew and Britton participated in a Hunter Safety Course held at Daddy’s Gun Shop. Officer Drew spoke on hunting regulations, wildlife management areas (WMAs) and the importance of safety while participating in recreational activities.

SUWANNEE COUNTY

Officers Mobley, Boone, Drew, Nichols, Vazquez and K-9 Officer Wiggins conducted an FWC Day at the Suwannee Intermediate School. The officers spoke to approximately 750 children on several different topics such as boating safety, the Division of Law Enforcement Core Missions, the K-9 program and safety concerns associated with native wildlife.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

While patrolling Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Officer Rasey saw a subject fishing from a nearby walking trail. After several minutes, the fisherman packed up and walked toward a vehicle in a boat ramp parking lot. Officer Rasey then conducted a resource and license inspection and discovered that the individual was in possession of six undersized spotted seatrout, two over the allowable bag limit. The suspect was also fishing without a license and possessed an undersized gray snapper. Two citations and two warnings were issued for the resource violations.

Officer Rasey and Lieutenants Davis and Bonds received Wildlife Alert intel regarding a person with illegal fish on a stringer in Merritt Island. The lieutenants responded by water and located the subject actively fishing in a no trespassing area. Officer Rasey responded to the scene by land where multiple black drum and stone crab violations were discovered. Upon contact, the subject was initially deceptive, but then admitted that the stringer of fish was his. A check revealed the subject had previously been warned for trespassing and had received a federal citation for undersized fish. The subject was issued citations for the offenses and littering and a fishing license violation was also addressed.

Officer Marroquin was conducting resource inspections at Lone Cabbage Boat Ramp when he saw two individuals returning to their vehicle with a bucket and a cast net. An inspection revealed the subject had caught three black bass with the cast net. Black bass can only be caught with rod and reel. Appropriate citations were issued.

Officer Marroquin was conducting off-road patrol when he found a vessel that had been dumped in a wooded area. A vessel hull identification number was found and a Florida registration number was also visible. The registered owner was contacted and advised of the location of the vessel. The owner recovered the vessel that day and hauled it to the local landfill. Appropriate action was taken with the owner.

FWC dispatch received a call about a hit-and-run car accident at Sebastian Inlet State Park. While responding to the scene, Officer Cybula saw a damaged SUV fitting the suspect description traveling north away from the park. The officer conducted a traffic stop and spoke to the woman operating the vehicle. The woman admitted to having hit the vehicle at the park and leaving the area. Further investigation revealed numerous violations of law and the woman was arrested for leaving the scene of an accident with damage, driving with a suspended license with knowledge, a tag not assigned to the vehicle and violation of probation.

Officer R. Miller responded to a report of a man in Melbourne shooting at seagulls in a marina. When he arrived, he saw a man matching the description holding a scoped air rifle and standing near the boat lifts. Several moments later, the man raised the rifle and shot at an osprey that was perched on a beam. The shot missed and hit the beam under the bird. The man was given a citation for attempting to take a migratory bird.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

Officer Marroquin was working at Sebastian Inlet State Park when he saw an individual moving rapidly towards the cleaning station. A resource inspection revealed that the individual possessed an undersized snook. The individual did not have a valid saltwater shoreline license or a snook permit. Officer Marroquin issued appropriate warnings and citations.

Officer Marroquin saw a subject catch a large snook and immediately move towards his vehicle. A resource inspection revealed the individual possessed an oversized snook. The individual was issued a citation for oversized snook and a warning for no snook permit.

Multiple warnings and citations were issued for consuming alcohol in a state park, no snook permit, no saltwater shoreline license, and littering.

LAKE COUNTY

Officer Scrambling was flagged down off CR 439 because a driver of a red truck almost ran another driver off the road. Officer Scrambling saw the truck failing to stay in a single lane and conducted a traffic stop. The subject appeared to be highly intoxicated and was arrested for DUI. The subject submitted to the breathalyzer at the jail where he blew a .310.

PUTNAM COUNTY

Lieutenant Dickson responded to a domestic violence complaint in the Rodman Campground. Upon arrival at the entrance, it was reported that a male subject grabbed his wife by her neck and was choking her when another camper stepped in and confronted the subject. A separate fight then ensued between the husband and the other camper. Lieutenant Dickson responded to the campsite where he was advised that the domestic violence suspect had just fled from the scene in a vehicle. A traffic stop was made near the campground entrance and the suspect was placed under arrest. Officers Guirate, Jones, Mason, Ramsey and deputies from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office arrived on the scene to complete the investigation. The suspect was charged with domestic violence by strangulation and was booked in the Putnam County Jail. It was determined that the other camper was acting to defend the victim and was not charged.

Officers Guirate and Mason conducted a fisheries inspection on two subjects on Crescent Lake. An investigation revealed that one subject had his fishing privileges revoked for life and the other was in possession of over the bag limit of speckled perch. The violations were appropriately addressed.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY

While working at Guana State Park in the early morning hours, Officer Campbell saw four male subjects catching undersized red drum and keeping over the daily bag limit. He saw one subject catch 11 undersized fish and another catch five undersized fish. Officer Campbell then saw two other subjects catch eight undersized red drum. He approached the first group as they were packing up to leave and found the two subjects possessed 16 undersized red drum. They also failed to pay the park entrance fee and were in the park after permitted hours. The other two subjects were directed to not move or touch the fish they had hidden in a crevice between the sidewalk and the dam structure. As Officer Campbell dealt with the first group, he saw another subject throwing all his red drum over the fence back into the water. Officer Campbell directed him to stop, but the subject continued to throw three more red drum over the fence. All the fish were sucked through the dam structure making it impossible to retrieve them. Officer Campbell charged the subject who threw the fish with failure to allow FWC inspection and being in the park after permitted hours. His partner was charged with no saltwater fishing license and being in the park after permitted hours. A charge of resisting without violence was also filed on the first subject. In total, he charged four subjects with a total count of six misdemeanors, three infractions and six warnings.

Officers Graves and B. Miller were on fisheries patrol in their work truck when they observed two local men fishing in the San Sebastian River on Highway US 1, just west of downtown St. Augustine. In addition to inshore species, this local fishing spot is known habitat for juvenile offshore species. During the fisheries inspection, the officers found that the two men possessed 12 mangrove snapper, nine of which were undersized and two fish over the daily bag limit of five fish per harvester, three undersized and out-of-season gag grouper, and one redfish and one spotted sea trout. The officers issued the fishermen notice to appear citations for the snapper and grouper violations.

Officer Greenier led the inaugural FWC Advanced Conservation Academy (ACA) focusing on the Florida East Coast Shrimp Bed Closure in state waters during the months of April and May. Officer Greenier enlisted the assistance of his squad mates to operate four vessels patrolling the offshore waters north and south of St. Augustine Inlet and receiving enforcement assistance from Pilot Lieutenant Cain in her helicopter, Officer McDonough and his crew in the OPV Osprey, and Lieutenant Givens and his crew out of Duval County in OPV Sentinel. With Lieutenant Cain’s assistance, Officer Greenier and his boarding team located and boarded a Volusia County shrimper 2.7 nautical miles from northern St. Johns County. The captain, a repeat commercial shrimping violator, was cited for trawling within state waters during the closure, while the National Marine Fisheries Service Special Agent Chesler led several of the ACA officers in the inspection of the shrimper’s nets and turtle excluder devices.

SUMTER COUNTY

Officer Sweet was patrolling the Richloam WMA when he discovered numerous boxes containing household materials on a forest road. In the trash were documents with names. The investigation led him to Polk County and after several interviews, Officer Sweet obtained a confession from a subject who was then cited for the violation. The subject returned to Richloam WMA and properly disposed of his trash.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

FWC investigators notified Officer West of a social media posting offering shrimp for sale from a residence in the New Smyrna Beach area. Officer West followed up on the information and, after checking three separate locations, located the seller. The subject was issued a criminal notice to appear for offering to sell saltwater products without the proper licenses and educated her on the prohibitions of recreational harvesters selling saltwater products without the quality control protocols that protect the public and Florida’s seafood industry.

Officers North and Haskins were on vehicle patrol on a county road that runs through the middle of Bulow Creek State Park when they observed a vehicle pulled off onto the shoulder of the road. The occupant of the vehicle took a live raccoon from a trap and released it into the park as the officers watched. The man was given a warning for transporting a live raccoon and issued a citation for releasing wildlife in a state park.

RESCUES
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

While on ATV patrol at Sebastian Inlet State Park, Officer Kearney saw a surfer lying on the shoreline in a remote area. After speaking to the man, it was revealed that he had injured himself and needed emergency medical services. EMS was called and arrived on the scene but were unable to transport the man the long distance back to the ambulance in the soft sand. Using his agency-issued side by side, Officer Kearney transported the injured man and EMS workers to the ambulance.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LAKE COUNTY

Officers Scrambling and Shaw participated in a public outreach event at Seminole State Forest. The event included boating safety, archery, and fishing information. The approximately 100 members of the community were educated on the importance of conservation and boating safety.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HERNANDO COUNTY

Officer Spradlin was on patrol in the Croom WMA when he observed a vehicle drive off a designated forest trail, passing official signage indicating the area was closed to vehicles. The vehicle’s driver purposely travelled up a steep embankment spinning its tires which caused damage to the environment and forest vegetation. The driver was issued a notice to appear for damage to state land by vehicle.

Officer Spradlin apprehended a subject who set up bush hooks on a small pond on private property and caught an approximately 8-foot alligator. The subject came onto the property to check the hooks, and was in possession of a .22 rifle. The subject was charged with armed trespassing and attempting to take an American alligator. The subject was booked into the Pasco County Jail.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on water patrol near Ben T. Davis Beach in Tampa, Officer Phillippi and Lieutenant Van Trees observed a PWC operating with an expired registration. After stopping the PWC and talking with the operator, he learned that the PWC was rented thru an illegal online livery. After collecting information from the operator, the officers waited for him to return it to the suspect at the Courtney Campbell Causeway Boat Ramp. The officers identified the suspect operating the illegal livery and after confronting him, he admitted to running the illegal livery through several websites. The suspect was cited for not having the proper insurance to operate a PWC livery, and additional charges will be filed with the state attorney’s office.

LEE COUNTY

Officers Stanley and Perry responded to a boating accident on the Caloosahatchee River where a vessel struck a double-piling manatee marker and the operator abandoned the vessel at the Centennial Park Boat Ramp. The manatee marker was broken off at the water line and there was significant damage to the vessel. The officers eventually contacted the owner’s girlfriend, who stated that her boyfriend and his passenger had gotten into a boating accident but had left the scene. Through their investigation, the officers located the operator and charged him for leaving the scene of an accident and for failing to maintain a proper lookout.

Officers Stanley and Winton stopped a commercial charter vessel out of Fort Myers Beach to conduct a marine fisheries inspection. During the inspection, the officers determined the marine sanitation device (MSD) had an open valve directing the sewage overboard. The owner/operator was cited for having an MSD plumbed to direct sewage overboard. The same owner had previously been charged with the same violation in 2006 and 2011.

Officer Hardgrove was on patrol in Bokeelia when he noticed a vessel at the marina that had many fresh oysters lying on the deck and under a wet carpet. Upon approaching the vessel, he noticed an individual was observing him from a distance. He approached the individual and asked him if he had harvested the oysters. The individual stated that he had harvested the oysters earlier that morning. Officer Hardgrove then stated to the individual that he appeared to be over the bag limit for oysters. The individual admitted to knowingly being over the bag limit for oysters because he needed them for a party. Officer Hardgrove allowed him to pick through the oysters and keep the best ones to fill his limit. A total of 9, 5-gallon buckets (approximately 350 pounds) were returned to the resource alive. The subject was issued a notice to appear for possession of over the bag limit of oysters.

Officer Hardgrove responded to a request for assistance from Lee County Sherriff’s Office (LCSO). The LCSO had stopped two subjects commercially fishing and had discovered possible fisheries violations. Officer Hardgrove checked the coolers on board and noticed that they had numerous types of snapper as well as barracuda. When Officer Hardgrove asked for the vessel’s saltwater products license (SPL), the SPL did not show a restricted species endorsement (RS), which is required to harvest certain species such as the yellowtail snapper and mangrove snapper they had on board. Per Florida statute, it’s required to have a RS endorsement in addition to an SPL to commercially harvest species that are considered restricted in the State of Florida. Both subjects were issued a notice to appear for no RS endorsement.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on water patrol in Tierra Verde, Officer Bibeau stopped a vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection, which revealed two zip-lock bags that contained fillets. The operator of the vessel admitted that the fillets were snapper and porgies. The operator was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of reef fish not landed in whole condition. The fillets were submitted to the FWC Forensics Program to be tested to determine the exact species.

Officers Martinez and Bibeau were on water patrol near the Skyway Bridge when they observed two individuals that were actively spear fishing from a paddle board. The officers approached the suspects to conduct a fisheries inspection and found two gag grouper, one of which was only 14 inches. Officer Martinez wrote one of the individuals two misdemeanor citations for possession of undersized and out-of-season gag grouper.

While on water patrol near the North Skyway Relief Bridge, Officers Bibler and Godfrey stopped a vessel returning from offshore. A subsequent resource inspection revealed two undersized scamp grouper and one undersized and out-of-season red snapper. The officers issued a notice to appear for the violations, along with numerous warnings for the resource and registration violations.

While conducting boating safety and resource inspections at a boat ramp in south Pinellas County, Officers Pettifer and Ludtke observed signs of alcohol impairment from a vessel operator. Standardized field sobriety tasks were administered and the operator of the vessel further demonstrated signs of impairment during the tasks. The operator was placed under arrest and transported to the Pinellas County jail for operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol.

While on patrol, Lieutenant Laskowski observed an individual wade fishing with a large fish on a stringer tied around his waist. Lieutenant Laskowski watched the individual fish for approximately an hour from a concealed location. After the individual waded back to the mangroves, waded by his parked vehicle, and then continued fishing, Lieutenant Laskowski initiated a resource inspection. When asked if he caught anything, the individual initially said “no.” When asked about the fish on the stringer, the individual said he was just keeping it so he could take a picture of it when he got back to his vehicle. The fish was identified and measured as an oversized snook. Since the individual was in possession of the fish for over an hour, and waded by his vehicle without stopping to take a picture of it, he was cited for possession of an oversized snook.

RESCUES
LEE COUNTY

Officers Birchfield, Sehl, Stasko, Mitchell, Fogle, Investigator Ruggiero and Lieutenant Ruggiero responded to a wildfire in Lehigh Acres. The fire started small but spread over 400 acres. The officers moved quickly and assisted Lee County Sheriff’s Office and Fire and Rescue to prevent potential injury and loss to residences. The officers performed traffic control, assisted Lee County Animal Services, and guarded a downed powerline. Fire and Rescue got the fire under control after the winds died down and the weekend brought much needed rain to the area.

POLK COUNTY

Officers Tyer, Earls, and Kobs responded to a fire around Indian Lake Estates. Once on the scene, the officers assessed the situation and immediately began evacuating homes that were in the path of the fire. Working alongside Polk County Sheriff’s deputies, the officers assisted families in getting out of their homes as well as removing animals from the houses. After several hours, Polk County Fire Rescue and the Florida Forest Service we able to contain the fire.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
HARDEE COUNTY

Officer Franks responded to an alligator complaint in Fort Green. The complainant reported the alligator to be in a local creek with its mouth taped shut. Officer Franks located the alligator, secured it, then removed the tape from the alligator’s mouth and released it unharmed.

LEE COUNTY

Officers Hazelwood, Thompson and Lieutenant Spoede responded to a beached dwarf sperm whale on the shores of Sanibel Lighthouse. When they arrived on the scene, the whale was already beached and thrashing in the water. Upon arrival of the biologist, the officers assisted in securing the whale and drawing blood samples for further research. Once the samples were taken, the officers, Good Samaritans, and biologists carried the whale to the rescue vehicle where it would be transported to the research lab.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
HERNANDO COUNTY

Officers Fagan, Scinta, and K-9 Officer Wolf participated in an Earth Day outreach event at Fox Chapel Middle School. The officers spoke with approximately 700 students about the duties of an FWC officer and the importance of resource and environmental protection. Officer Wolf completed several canine demonstrations with canine Chaos, and Officer Fagan gave educational presentations with the aid of a live American alligator to the students.

PASCO COUNTY

Officer Pulaski participated in the 2017 Disaster Expo held by Pasco County Office of Emergency Management. He brought an FWC utility vehicle for a static display. Additionally, he provided freshwater fishing, saltwater fishing and hunting regulations, as well as boating safety brochures. He educated approximately 100 individuals and answered several questions on various topics.

Officer Bergwerff, Wildlife Assistance Biologist Parks, and Lieutenant Parisoe addressed members of the Oak Creek Community. They answered questions on fishing and provided information on feeding wildlife and alligators. Approximately 15 individuals attended the presentation.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officers Ferguson and Godfrey participated in the two-day “Island Earth Days” event at Honeymoon Island State Park, hosted by The Friends of the Island Parks. The event had food, live music, live animal shows, and nature and history displays and many other activities. The officers spoke with more than 900 attendees about fishing, hunting, the environment, local issues and wildlife-human interaction.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officers Ryan, Banks and Holcomb were dispatched to Plantation in response to a report of a five-foot alligator on someone’s front doorstep. Officer Ryan captured and secured the alligator with assistance from Officers Banks and Holcomb. The officers transported the alligator to the Everglades and released it unharmed.

Officer Vacin was on water patrol near the marina located at Mizell-Johnson State Park. He observed an individual fishing with an oversized cast net, and he had just warned the same individual the day before. The oversized cast net was seized as evidence and the individual was issued a criminal citation.

Officers Ryan and Holcomb were on patrol in Mizell-Johnson State Park and observed a vehicle driving recklessly and sounding its horn erratically. Upon contact with the operator of the vehicle, it was determined that the operator had a warrant for his arrest. Officer Holcomb placed the operator under arrest for the warrant and transported him to the Broward County Jail.

Officers Tarr and Holcomb responded to a spillway to investigate information from Officers Banks and Ryan about illegal fishing activity. Officer Holcomb issued one individual a criminal citation for possession of two undersized snook. The fish were seized as evidence.

Officers Brock and Grant were on water patrol in the Hillsboro Inlet and observed two individuals spearfishing next to the north jetty with no dive flag displayed. The officers conducted a marine fisheries inspection on the two individuals and found speared fish in their possession. Officer Grant issued one non-criminal citation to one diver for no diver-down flag displayed and a criminal citation to both divers for diving too close to the jetty. The spear guns were seized as evidence.

Officers Brock, Banks and Grant were on water patrol in Boca Lake. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officers on water patrol asked for their assistance. After consultation, one individual was charged with (underage) BUI. The juvenile was issued a citation and released to his parents.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Godward is working a boating accident that occurred in the ICW near Burt Winters Park. A motor-powered vessel struck two teenage boys that were on a racing Skull. The two boys were taken to the hospital where one was treated for head injuries and the other was released.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

The Investigations Section located a “Craigslist” post advertising a six-foot Alaskan black bear mount for sale. Florida law prohibits the sale or purchase of any taxidermal black bear mount or black bear parts in the State of Florida. Investigator Woolrich, Officer Godward and Officer Turner located the seller and addressed the violation by issuing a criminal citation.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
GLADES COUNTY

Officers Alford and Worrell responded to an alligator incident at the Fisheating Creek campground. The officers arrived on the scene to investigate an incident where a family’s dog was taken by an alligator. The officers met with the nuisance alligator trapper to help identify the alligator involved in the incident. They also took pictures of the scene and documented the GPS coordinates to include in the report.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
BROWARD COUNTY

Lieutenant Laubenberger commanded the Broward Police Multi-Agency Honor Guard at the annual Broward Law Enforcement and K-9 Memorial held at the Broward College/Davie campus. Lieutenant McDonald, Investigator Teems and Officers Coker and Tarr attended the ceremony as well.

Officer Banks was on patrol in Mizell-Johnson State Park when she received reports from the park rangers that a dog was running loose in the park and on the road way. She was flagged down by citizens stating that a dog had run across the road and down an embankment. Officer Banks observed the dog jump into the Intracoastal Waterway and alerted an approaching boat that it was about to hit the dog. The boaters managed to grab it and bring it over to Officer Banks. Officer Banks carried the dog up the embankment. Through contact with the state park rangers, the dog was transferred to a no-kill shelter and awaits claim by its owner or adoption.

GLADES COUNTY

Officers Toby and Dial participated in the Law Enforcement Special Olympics Torch Run alongside officers from the Glades County Sheriff’s Office in Moore Haven.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Environmental Investigator Booth responded to a report of a missing and endangered subject. Information received stated the individual was possibly suicidal and in or near state WMAs. Investigator Booth located a vehicle, matching that of the subject, parked in a WMA. Officer Morrow and local deputies arrived to assist. A semi-conscious subject was located lying down inside the vehicle along with an empty bottle of medication. Fire rescue was called in to respond the subject was transported to a local hospital for treatment. The deputies followed to the hospital to complete the investigation into the incident.

Duty Officer Supervisor Pereira, Duty Officer Stamp, Call Taker Harrass and Officer Mann participated in the Special Olympics Tip-A-Cop event at a Duffy's restaurant. Numerous agencies were there participating and raising money for the Special Olympics.

Numerous duty officers and FWC officers participated in the Law Enforcement Special Olympics Torch Run in Palm Beach County.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Douglas received information of a deer being killed illegally on a licensed hunting preserve and game farm. Investigators Douglas and Doricchi responded to the game farm to investigate the allegations and collect evidence. A knife, blood and soil samples were recovered from this area as well. Recent tire sign from a vehicle was located and documented in a concealed location nearby. Investigators Douglas, Doricchi, Patterson and Officer Gouveia conducted interviews on multiple subjects alleged to be involved in the incident. The information obtained in the interviews indicated where the deer meat was located, and Officer Davis obtained meat samples at the location. One suspect had a truck matching the vehicle in the picture provided, as well as tires matching the tire sign located at the scene. This vehicle was seized to process further and a search warrant was obtained to search the vehicle. Investigators Douglas, Patterson and forensic Biologist Lopez executed the search warrant. Five firearms, blood samples, soil samples and various electronics were collected from the vehicle. Forensic analysis of the evidence collected was completed and confirmed that the blood and meat samples collected at the scene matched the blood recovered from the vehicle, and the meat recovered at the location. The soil samples from the scene and the vehicle also matched. An arrest warrant was obtained for the subject involved for charges including felony grand theft, felony trespass, simple trespass, and taking a deer at night. The subject was booked in to the St. Lucie County Jail the following day.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

While on federal patrol aboard the C.T. Randall, Captain Mravic, Lieutenant Shea, and Officers Thurkettle, Reams, Johnson and Araujo conducted a fishery and TED (turtle escape device) inspection on a shrimp boat. During the inspection, four Bahamian starfish were discovered on board the shrimp boat. The subjects were issued citations for harvest/possession of Bahama starfish.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Two officers on water patrol issued 8 resource misdemeanor citations, 6 uniform boating citations and 2 warnings.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Rubenstein observed a truck and trailer in a parking area by a bridge in the lower keys and recognized it as a known poacher. Officer Rubenstein was then dispatched to a boat on fire and left the area, but alerted plain-clothes Officer Wagner and uniformed Officer Piekenbrock. The two officers sat in an unmarked truck waiting for the individuals to return. Later, plain-clothes Officer Garrison arrived on the scene. When the individuals returned, Officers Wagner and Garrison approached the three males where they returned to shore while they unloaded fishing gear, coolers, and buckets containing fish. Officer Piekenbrock conducted a resource inspection and found four illegally harvested pork fish. A filleted shark in another cooler at their truck and trailer. A hidden hatch contained seven undersized mutton snapper, one undersized hogfish, and one illegally harvested tang. Officer Piekenbrock interviewed all the occupants of the vessel and arrested the operator for multiple resource violations and interference.

Officer Garcia was patrolling near County Road 905 and Card Sound Road in Key Largo when he encountered a male and female in a white SUV. The male subject was in control of the vehicle and appeared very nervous. When Officer Garcia repeatedly directed the driver to put the vehicle in park, the two subjects fled from Officer Garcia and headed northbound towards Ocean Reef community. The driver used the vehicle to ram the gate and trespass into the private community. The vehicle was stopped by Officer Schroth while attempting to exit the community. FHP Trooper Martin and Monroe County Sheriff Deputy Babula also assisted in the apprehension. Officer Garcia placed the driver under arrest and charged the individual with multiple criminal counts including but not limited to DUI, DUI with property damage, reckless driving and fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer.

Officers Mobley and Wagner were dispatched to a marina in the Lower Keys due to an employee reporting a carcass of a goliath and black grouper in a trash bag. Once on the scene, the employee showed Officers Mobley and Wagner the vessel the bag came from. The officer contacted the owner of the vessel who admitted he had harvested the black grouper and his son had harvested the goliath grouper. The father, as operator of the vessel, was charged with undersized, out-of-season black grouper and possession of a goliath grouper. The father was placed under arrest and booked into the Stock Island Jail.

RESCUES
COLLIER COUNTY

FWC officers assisted with a large wildfire that had broken out in the Golden Gate neighborhood of Naples. A mandatory evacuation order was issued for approximately 7,000 homes in the affected area. FWC officers assisted area law enforcement officers and fire fighters with evacuations as well as traffic control within the evacuation zone. The fire, which burned over 7,400 acres in the heavily populated area, destroyed five homes.

A male subject out of Miami was reported missing by his family. Three days later, the subject’s vehicle was located at the Gator Hook Trail Head on Loop Road in the Big Cypress National Park. The park rangers hiked the trail and found items belonging to the subject, confirming he had been there and may still be in the area. The National Park Service Supervisor Herrin and Park Ranger Radford contacted FWC’s Lieutenant Sushil to request assistance from members of the SOG team and K-9 units. The next day, Lieutenant Sushil, Lieutenant Cox, two SOG members, Officers Reams, Araujo, K-9 Officers Stasko, Cloud and Kirkland met with Big Cypress rangers at the Gator Hook Trail Head and began to hike the trail to search for the subject. SOG and K-9 began the first search with a support team to follow. After hiking harsh terrain, the SOG team members located the subject alive, but severely dehydrated and hungry. They provided him with water and something to eat, then assisted him out of the thick and harsh terrain. The team came out of the woods and delivered the subject to waiting EMS personnel. The round-trip search took approximately 6 hours, and officers traveled about 11 miles on foot during the search.

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Piekenbrock and Mason were dispatched to a vessel that was in distress and drifting without an anchor around midnight near Ramrod Key. The two officers proceeded to a vessel to try and locate the individuals in heavy winds and waves. Officers Wagner and Rubenstein responded by land and were in communication with the subjects on board the distressed vessel. They coordinated with the officers on board the patrol vessel to help find the disabled vessel. The two people were located and brought safely back to shore.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Officer Dube and FWC Commissioner Spottswood attended the release of a manatee on Key Colony Beach that was injured last year. The manatee was injured from a boat strike in the same area and was rescued by FWC and staff from the Miami Seaquarium. The manatee was rehabilitated at the Miami Seaquarium after losing a large portion of its rear paddle. There were approximately 200 people in attendance for the release.

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  FWC Enforcement Report April 14-20. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 05-02-2017, 06:35 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Hoomes was on land patrol along Gulf Islands National Seashore near Fort Pickens conducting state fisheries inspections when he encountered several people fishing for pompano. He checked one subject who was fishing alone and possessed the daily bag limit of six pompano. Several disturbed areas in the sand were observed near the fisherman’s poles and coolers where fish could possibly have been hidden. Officer Pettey arrived and he and Officer Hoomes uncovered seven more pompano buried in the sand. The fisherman was issued a citation for possession of over the daily bag limit of pompano. All 13 fish were seized as evidence.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Pifer and Investigators Armstrong and Molnar responded to two separate boating accidents with injuries that occurred within an hour of each other. In the first accident, the operator was jumping waves on a PWC in the Gulf of Mexico. While in the air, the operator fell from the PWC and the PWC landed on him. He sustained a compound fracture to his leg below the knee. In the second accident, a female was swimming behind a running outboard engine when the propeller struck her thigh. She sustained a laceration about 12 inches long and 1 inch deep. Both injured parties were transported to a local hospital for treatment. Both cases remain under investigation.

Officers Wilkenson and Bartlett were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety and state fisheries inspections in the Destin Pass area and were dispatched to a complaint of a vessel anchored near the east jetties with individuals on board harvesting/keeping over the bag limit of pompano. When the officers located the vessel, they saw an individual go to the bow and begin counting the number of fish on board. The fisheries inspection revealed the three individuals were in possession of 21 pompano. The bag limit for pompano is six per person. The operator was issued a notice to appear citation.

Officer Corbin was on land patrol conducting a vessel title investigation at a local marina in Fort Walton Beach and saw a vessel owner returning to his vessel docked at the marina. The officer had information that the owner had failed to transfer the vessel title to his name and confirmed from the bill of sale that the vessel was purchased in May 2016. The vessel owner was issued a notice to appear citation for failure to transfer vessel title within 30 days.

Officers Wilkenson and Bartlett were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections in the Destin Harbor/Pass area and received information concerning a hit and run boating accident. The officers located the vessels and during the investigation, they noticed one of the vessels had no state registration displayed. The officers determined the owner failed to transfer title in his name after purchasing the vessel in 2015. The owner was issued a notice to appear citation.

Officer Wilkenson was on land patrol when he was dispatched to a complaint of a bear getting into a homeowner’s garbage can. When the officer arrived, he saw the garbage can knocked over next to the curb. There was a white household garbage bag removed from the can, torn up with its contents spread out. The garbage can did not have any latches to secure the lid. Officer Wilkenson confirmed that, in June 2016, the homeowner was issued a non-compliance notification letter for failure to secure food attractant from bears. The homeowner was then issued a written warning for failure to secure food attractant and was provided latches for the garbage can lid.

Lieutenant Clark and Bear Biologist Green were on land patrol conducting a follow‑up investigation on bear complaints of an individual feeding bears and a homeowner failing to secure their garbage. While in the area, Lieutenant Clark saw a white household garbage bag torn open with its contents spread out. Lieutenant Clark found an envelope with a name and address among the garbage pile, and the address was directly across from where the garbage pile was located. Lieutenant Clark contacted the homeowner. When he explained to the homeowner about a bear getting into her household garbage, she stated, “The bears don’t bother me.” The homeowner was issued a non-compliance letter notification and was provided with latches to secure her garbage can lid.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Lewis received a complaint about vehicles driving on closed roads in Blackwater River State Forest. The officer responded to the area and saw five Jeeps parked on a dirt pile that is a barrier for the closed road where the complaint originated. The officer saw fresh vehicle sign on the closed road and the drivers of the Jeeps all stated they drove on the closed road. Officer Lewis cited all the drivers for operating a vehicle off the established road in a state forest.

Officer Lewis was on patrol in Blackwater River State Forest when he saw a campsite that appeared to have been camped in for a while, with trash and household cleaning items starting to accumulate. Later in the day, he returned and saw a man and woman in the campsite and noticed other minor violations. Officer Lewis discovered that the man had a warrant for violation of probation. He arrested the man for violation of probation and issued him a warning for not having his pets on a leash. The woman cleaned up the campsite and vacated the area.

Officers Lewis and Jernigan were on patrol in Blackwater River State Forest when they saw a vessel approaching a landing. The vessel’s registration had been expired for approximately three years. The operator stated he recently purchased the vessel but could not produce a bill of sale. The woman on board admitted to fishing but did not have a fishing license. Officer Jernigan boarded the vessel to perform a fisheries inspection and saw a small box where the operator was seated. The box resembled a variety that is commonly used to hold drugs and/or paraphernalia with the male subject’s last name on it. Officer Jernigan found small plastic baggies in the box that contained a white powdery residue that appeared to be methamphetamine. The man told the officers the box belonged to him. The officers explained to the male subject that the substance in the baggies tested positive for methamphetamine. Officer Jernigan arrested the man and charged him with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and possession of drug paraphernalia. He also received a citation for operating a vessel with an expired registration. The woman was cited for fishing without a license.

WALTON COUNTY

Officer Corbin was on land patrol conducting a vessel title investigation at a local marina in Baytowne Wharf and saw a federally documented vessel with no state registration display returning to the dock. The officer contacted the operator and asked if the vessel had a state registration. He stated the vessel was documented through the United States Coast Guard (USCG). The officer arranged to meet the owner of the vessel who failed to get a state registration. The owner was issued a notice to appear citation.

RESCUES
WALTON COUNTY

Officers Letcher and Tison responded to a capsized vessel in Choctawhatchee Bay with three occupants on board. When they arrived, the occupants had made it safely to shore. The occupants reported the vessel took on water due to the wake of another vessel. The vessel was completely submerged and a boating accident investigation is being conducted.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Brooks and J. Rockwell attended an Outdoor Class at Baker High School. The officers displayed a vessel and explained the importance of boating safety. The officers also discussed the core mission as it relates to hunter education and boating safety. There were 22 students in the class.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Ramos took part in FWC’s 75th Wildlife Management Area (WMA) anniversary event at Escribano Point WMA. Officer Ramos spoke to a group of stakeholders at the event about his role as an FWC officer.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
BAKER COUNTY

Officers Burnsed and Tyler were working a hunting club for turkey hunters that had been previously found to be baited for turkeys. At daylight, the officers located a truck parked close to where the bait was located. As they passed the vehicle on foot, they noticed fresh turkey feathers and blood in the bed of the vehicle. The officers went to the area where the bait was located with a hunting blind overlooking the baited area. They could hear turkey calls being used from inside the hunting blind. The officers saw the subject inside the blind using a recorded game call for turkeys well within 100 yards of the baited area and did not have a valid turkey stamp. While inspecting the area, the officers found fresh turkey feathers and a freshly spent shotgun wadding indicating a turkey had been recently killed over the bait. When questioned about the feathers in the bait and in the back of the vehicle, the subject admitted to killing two turkeys over the bait and was attempting to kill another. Violations for attempting to take turkey over the season bag limit, hunting turkeys over a baited area, attempting to take game by use of recorded game calls and no turkey permit were addressed by the officers.

NASSAU COUNTY

Officer Barry was conducting fisheries inspections when she came across a subject fishing from a secluded, private commercial dock at the mouth of Eagen’s Creek. When she approached the subject, she found that he had caught and retained several undersized black sea bass. A records check revealed that the subject had been cited recently for a red drum violation. He admitted that he knew the fish were too small and was cited appropriately.

Officer Barry received a call from dispatch concerning a subject catching and retaining undersized black drum at a fishing pier. She located the subject and found two undersized black drum in a bucket under some legal catfish. The subject was cited appropriately and the person who called in the complaint was grateful for the rapid response from FWC.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers continue to patrol areas of turkey bait sites throughout the county.

The officers continue to patrol area lakes for fishing and boating safety violations. Bass and bream beds are being targeted because of the low water conditions on some lakes.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers Stanley and Troiana attended Archer School for a meet and greet event. Over 200 children saw the airboat and asked questions. Boating safety was the main topic encouraging kids to be boat smart.

Officer Stanley attended two additional school events in Alachua County, one at Itby Elementary and the other at Alachua Middle School. He talked about the role of an FWC officer and discussed boating safety with the children. More than 400 children were present at both schools.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
OSCEOLA COUNTY

Officers received information via Wildlife Alert that two men were hunting from a local roadway. Once on the scene, the officers approached the men and conducted a resource inspection and interview. The two men were issued citations for hunting from the roadway, discharge of a firearm from the roadway and possession of an unbearded turkey hen.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officers Sapp and Hastings were on patrol in Deland when they saw two men walking along the road shoulder. One of the men threw a soda can onto the ground. The officers stopped to address the violation and, during their investigation, discovered that one of the men had an outstanding warrant out of St. Lucie County for violation of probation. The man was arrested and booked into the Volusia County Jail without incident.

Officers North and Haskins were checking fishermen in Bulow Creek State Park when they encountered a man with an active warrant out of Volusia County for failure to appear. He was arrested and booked into the Volusia County Jail without incident.

Officer West was checking fishermen in the New Smyrna Beach area and an adult male was unable to provide his saltwater fishing license to Officer West. A computer check indicated that the fisherman’s fishing privileges had been suspended/revoked due to failure to pay his child support. He was subsequently issued a notice to appear for the violation.

Officer West was checking an area in New Smyrna Beach known for having oysters but does not allow for the harvest of oysters due to water quality issues. Two subjects were seen actively harvesting oysters and had accumulated almost four bushels. Both were issued a notice to appear for the offense.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ORANGE COUNTY

Lieutenants Trusley, Riley, Officers J. Humphrey and Mendelson responded to wildfires in Tosohatchee WMA. FWC officers conducted routine patrols and were available to assist FWC biologists and Division of Forestry (DOF) firefighters as needed.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officers Morrison, Birchfield and Lieutenant Frantz participated in a two-day stone crab enforcement detail in Sarasota, Charlotte, and Lee counties. Commercial and recreational users were inspected for stone crab regulation compliance as well federal reef fish compliance. More than a dozen vessels were inspected and numerus warnings were issued.

LEE COUNTY

A body was located floating approximately 15 feet from shore along Bowditch Park in Fort Myers Beach. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office determined the individual was deceased. A vessel belonging to the individual was found floating in Matanzas Pass, approximately 300 yards south of where the individual was located. This is an ongoing and active boating accident investigation.

While on patrol, Officer Hardgrove saw a subject pulling his vessel from the water and the subject stated he had caught a few fish when asked. A towel in the rear of the vessel move as if something was under it. A sheepshead measuring 11¼ inches in total length was revealed by the subject. Asked a second time if there were any other fish in his possession, he denied any further fish. A resource inspection discovered three black drum, measuring 11¼ inches, 11½ inches, and 11¼ inches respectively. The subject was issued a notice to appear for possession of undersized black drum and possession of undersized sheepshead.

Officer Price was conducting Joint Enforcement Agreement (JEA) patrol approximately 10 miles out of Redfish Pass and stopped a center console fishing boat inbound and conducted a resource inspection. During the inspection, it was discovered that the vessel was for hire (fishing charter). While inspecting the catch, he discovered one undersized red grouper. The operator was issued a notice to appear and the fish was seized as evidence.

ORANGE COUNTY

An FWC captive wildlife investigator conducted an unannounced inspection on a license holder whose licenses were expired and who was believed to still possess wildlife. The inspection revealed that the individual was in possession of a Burmese Python and a Coati Mundi. In addition, the Burmese Python was being kept in an unlocked cage that did not meet standard caging requirements and was unsanitary. The subject was charged with possession of a conditional species without a license, maintaining a conditional species in an unlocked cage, possession of class III wildlife without a permit, and was given warnings for the sanitation conditions in addition to not having the conditional species PIT tagged. The owner is correcting the violations and in the process of renewing permits.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on night-time vessel patrol near the Gulfport Municipal Docks, Officer Bibler noticed a vessel leaving the docks and activated his blue lights to conduct a vessel stop. He saw the operator suddenly switch positions with another occupant and immediately noticed numerous signs of impairment from the operator. After a boating safety inspection was completed, the operator was asked to perform some seated field sobriety tasks. The operator refused and was subsequently arrested for BUI. The operator also refused to give a sample of his breath.

Offshore patrol vessel team members Lieutenant Marlow, Officers Smith, Burks, Nelson and Martin were conducting federal water patrols approximately 51 miles offshore on the Gulf Sentry. Officers Burks and Nelson boarded the commercial longline fishing vessel “Rachelle,” and Officer Burks discovered flounder not in whole condition in the vessel’s bait box. The captain of the vessel has been caught numerous times with federal and state bait violations, and a shark case is still pending in federal court. Upon questioning the captain, he admitted to catching and cutting up the flounder for bait. Officer Burks seized the contraband and issued a notice to appear citation. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) agents were notified of the violation.

RESCUES
PINELLAS COUNTY

Lieutenant Laskowski, Investigator Freemon and Officers Pettifer, Boogaerts and Messman responded to the report of a vessel fire near Pinellas Point in South St. Petersburg. Once on the scene, the officers discovered a 30-foot sailboat at anchor was fully involved in flames. Fire Rescue responded and extinguished the fire. The vessel sank soon after. A Good Samaritan was credited with transporting to shore the two individuals on board at the time of the fire. One of the individuals was transported to a local hospital with second degree burns. The fire reportedly started while one of the individuals on board was trying to light a stove in the vessel’s galley. This incident remains an ongoing reportable boating accident investigation.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Sehl responded to a complaint of gopher tortoise burrow destruction. Upon examination, the burrow appeared heavily caved in and her digging efforts were making it impossible to confirm it had been a gopher burrow. Biologist Sievers drove down from Lakeland to confirm that it was a gopher tortoise burrow, so he could direct file on the subjects through the state attorney’s office. Biologist Sievers confirmed there was a tunnel and the gopher was still there trapped under the cave-in. They rescued the gopher and estimated it to be anywhere between 30-60 years of age. Officer Sehl charged each subject with criminal destruction of a gopher tortoise burrow.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
LEE COUNTY

Officers Rogers, Bradshaw, Hardgrove, Furbay and Lieutenant Barrett performed additional patrols over the Easter weekend at Lovers Key State Park. Historically, this weekend draws an unusually high number of visitors to the park. Due in large part to the efforts of park staff, volunteers, and the officers’ patrols, there were no major issues in the park throughout the weekend.

Officer Furbay worked panther zone speed enforcement in a protection area. During the shift, numerous vehicles were stopped for exceeding the speed limit by more than 20 miles per hour (mph). By the end of the shift, three infractions and five written warnings were issued. The fastest speed recorded was 85 mph in the 45-mph posted area.

PASCO COUNTY

Officer Balfour was conducting patrols on state lands to warn individuals about the dry conditions and high risk for forest fires. While on one piece of property, he noticed smoke from a neighboring DOF property. He reported the fire, which was initially small, and personnel from DOF and FWC’s Northeast Region responded. Due to conditions, the fire quickly grew to engulf a very large area. The DOF personnel battled the fire for several days.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officers Bibler, Dalton, Ferguson, Godfrey and Lieutenant Van Trees worked a BUI detail around Treasure Island over the weekend that ended up being a great success. The officers wrote numerous citations and warnings, and educated a lot of individuals. The community members told the officers how glad they were to see FWC patrolling in their area. The detail also resulted in one BUI arrest that began when the officers noticed an individual running at night in a slow speed zone with no navigation lights on. The subject was arrested and refused to give breath sample. During the detail, the officers had another subject pulled over for violating a speed zone, and then he fled on his vessel. The subject who fled was positively identified and charges are pending.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Lieutenant Frantz gave four presentations to Vineland Elementary School first graders. The students learned about alligator safety and habits. Lieutenant Frantz brought a small alligator for them to see and touch.

LAKE COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator McDaniel, Biologist Dupree and Volunteer Coordinator McDonald conducted outreach at the Trout Lake Nature Center’s Earth Day event. About 125 people visited their display which included the wildlife trailer as well as several critters.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Defeo was dispatched in response to a report of people trespassing on the Sewell Lock Spillway. Once on the scene, he saw two subjects fishing inside the fenced-off area. The subjects were escorted back to their vehicle and said that they had each caught a fish which were in a cooler in the vehicle. There were two undersized snook inside the cooler. The two subjects were cited for possession of undersized snook and trespassing.

MARTIN COUNTY

Several FWC officers and investigators responded to a report of two vessels colliding near the Stuart Causeway in Sewall’s Point. Preliminary investigative efforts show the collision occurred on the east side of the waterway approximately one-half mile north of the bridge. One of the vessel operators was transported to Martin Memorial North Hospital and was subsequently pronounced deceased. The incident is currently under investigation.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Morrow and Cobo conducted a random wholesale dealer fisheries inspection and found that the wholesale operation complied with cleanliness and quality control requirements. Freezers where seafood products were being stored complied with adequate temperatures and all licenses were current. Only one warning was given for purchasing fishery products without verifying the current license of a commercial fisherman.

RESCUES
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Investigator Booth, Lieutenant Hayes, Officers Morrow, Merizio, Cobo, Carroll, and Rogers, along with deputies from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, responded to the report of a suicidal subject who was reported as missing endangered and believed to be near or within the JW Corbett WMA. While in route to area, Investigator Booth saw a vehicle matching the description parked at the gate of the Hungryland WEA. Additional units arrived on the scene and encountered the subject, who was found in the back seat of the vehicle. The subject was then transported to the nearest medical facility for treatment. His condition is unknown.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Investigator LaFoy coordinated the assistance of other investigators and officers to initiate contact with 52 non-compliant alligator hunting permit holders throughout the region, resulting in the collection of 54 unused CITES tags and 23 harvest reports. Twenty-three citations and 16 written warnings for violations of non-compliant reporting were issued. Public participation and support of conservation through species management, combined with law enforcement, is crucial to the long‐term well‐being and availability of these resources for public use.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Arbogast was on state water patrol when he was contacted by a Collier County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) marine deputy for assistance with a subject who was suspected of BUI. The deputy stopped the vessel for violating a manatee zone and saw multiple signs of impairment from the operator. Officer Arbogast met the CCSO unit and they stopped the vessel at a local boat ramp. Officer Arbogast immediately noticed that the operator’s eyes were glassy and the odor of alcohol was evident. During the conversation, the operator seemed to have trouble focusing and was slurring his words. While walking down the dock, the operator was seen having trouble with his balance. Officer Arbogast conducted the seated field sobriety tasks and, at one point during the tasks, the operator spontaneously started to explain that he had been drinking a few hours earlier. When asked how much he had to drink, he responded, “about 4-5 beers.” Officers Yaxley and Kleis arrived on the scene to assist. Based on the operator’s performance of the exercises and the other observations, the operator was arrested for BUI and subsequently issued a citation for refusing to submit to a breath test.

Officer Plussa encountered a subject fishing on SR-29 near Copeland and Everglades City. An inspection revealed the subject was in possession of one dozen black bass, more than double the legal bag limit of five. The subject was charged accordingly.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

FWC investigators who have been investigating the illegal trapping and possession of migratory birds seized 20 traps and cages and rescued 43 migratory birds. A total of 7 suspects were charged with 12 misdemeanor violations.

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Swensson and Sutter stopped a vessel in Palo Alto Creek with two subjects on board, one of which appeared to have just gotten out of the water. Upon their first sight of the vessel, a lobster was thrown from the boat into the mangroves. A fisheries inspection yielded a mesh bag with several legal fish on board. After both subjects were identified and a boating safety check was given, they were released. A short time later, a white mesh bag was found sitting on the bottom of the creek in the exact location of where the vessel was first spotted. Inside the bag were 11 wrung lobster tails, nine of which were undersized and one of which was speared. Ten stone crab claws were also found inside the bag, four of which were undersized. The officers were unable to locate the subjects after the bag was found. Officers Swensson and Sutter worked closely with the state attorney and obtained arrest warrants for both subjects. The charges were possession of undersized lobster, out-of-season lobster, speared lobster, wrung tails on the water, molesting lobster in the Card Sound Lobster Sanctuary, and possession of undersized stone crab claws

Officer Mattson received a complaint via FWC dispatch that a Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) trooper had a subject stopped and the subject ran from the FHP trooper, got in a skiff and took off into the area behind the Lorelei Restaurant. Officer Mattson got on water patrol and responded to the area of Lorelei. Officer Mattson was speaking to the troopers when a local man, known to Officer Mattson, was walking in the area. Asked if the man knew the fleeing subject, he responded, “He’s my neighbor.” Officer Mattson knew that he lived in Little Basin and took 2 FHP personnel on board the patrol boat and went into Little Basin. Officers Garcia and Wilkins also responded to the area. The USCG arrived on the scene as well. The skiff that the subject was in was found tied up next to a houseboat in Little Basin. The subject was taken into custody without any issues. The FHP charged the man with DUI, resisting without violence and BUI. Officer Mattson assisted the trooper with the BUI paperwork and helped process the BUI charge. The subject refused the breath test on the DUI and the BUI. He was taken to the Plantation Key Jail with a $25,000 bond.

RESCUES
MONROE COUNTY

Lieutenant Robison and Officer Carroll were dispatched to a possible swimmer in distress near Veterans Point on the south end of the 7-mile Bridge. With Investigator Adams directing from the shore, they located the swimmer who had gotten picked up by a powerful current and wind and was being pulled offshore. Lieutenant Robison picked up the swimmer who was attempting to swim to a local island approximately a mile offshore when he became exhausted and carried by the current. The grateful swimmer was delivered to his girlfriend after he declined to be checked out by medical services.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Janzen and McKay assisted the Manatee Group with a rescue in Key Largo near a local campground. The juvenile manatee had been spotted in the area several days before with numerous fresh propeller scars on the back and tail. Attempts to locate it were unsuccessful until H. Janzen, a Manatee Group volunteer and wife of Officer Janzen, located it along a mangrove-lined canal late in the evening. On the following day, FWC officers and volunteers with the Manatee Group and the Dolphin Research Center Manatee Rescue Team safely netted the creature and brought it to a private boat ramp where a large group of residents and children had gathered. FWC officers took the opportunity to educate the families on how to safely observe and not interfere or harass manatees in the wild. The manatee was taken to the Miami Seaquarium for treatment.

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  FWC Enforcement Report April 7-13. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 04-19-2017, 09:06 AM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
CALHOUN COUNTY

Officers Hayes and Baber were working two separate baited food plots that Officer Hayes had previously identified. Although no subjects were seen at the baited areas, the officers heard a shot close by on the same hunting lease. The officers moved to investigate and located two subjects who had killed a gobbler. After a short interview and inspection of the area where the bird was killed, it was determined that the area was baited. Both subjects were cited for taking turkey over bait and the turkey was seized as evidence.

GULF COUNTY

Officer M. Webb was approximately 16 miles offshore on water patrol in the Gulf of Mexico, when he conducted a vessel stop and fisheries inspection. The captain of the vessel was in possession of four red snapper and was issued a citation for possession of red snapper in federal waters during a closed season.

Officers H. and M. Webb were on water patrol approximately 14 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico when a subject was seen dumping a fish from a vessel. The fish was recovered and determined to be a red snapper. The subject was issued a citation for possession of red snapper in federal waters during a closed season.

JACKSON COUNTY

Officer Burkhead was conducting land-based water patrol at the Jim Woodruff Dam when he noticed a vehicle with vessel in tow that had fishing equipment and several coolers on board. As he approached the vehicle, he noticed a chest containing live bait in the truck. Officer Burkhead received permission from the owner to inspect the cooler. 21 red drum were found in the cooler, 20 of which were under the legal size. The owner was charged with possession of over the bag limit of red drum and several counts of undersized red drum. The fish were taken as evidence.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Jarvis and Maltais were patrolling the coastal shoreline conducting state fisheries and license inspections. One of many resource stops involved two fishermen catching over the bag limit of pompano. The officers counted a total of 19 pompano. One of the individuals was issued a notice to appear citation and both individuals were issued a citation for no saltwater fishing license.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Ramos received information that several men were fishing in Escambia Bay and keeping red snapper. After making his way to the area, the officer saw men actively fishing. When he asked the men if they had caught any fish, they replied that they had not. License and resource inspections revealed that one of the men had caught and kept two red snapper. The fish measured 11 and 10 inches, respectively. One of the men admitted he caught both fish. The fish were seized and the man was charged accordingly.

Officers Mullins and Hutchinson were patrolling the Yellow River Wildlife Management Area (WMA), when they saw a truck damaging the road by spinning out. They stopped the truck and approached the man driving it. While speaking with him, three more trucks with large mud tires pulled up to them covered in fresh mud. The officers discovered that they were all together. During interviews, the men driving the trucks admitted to riding along closed roads and mud riding in a closed clay pit. While the officers were driving back to the pit to access the damage to state lands, they saw more damage to the roadways that was caused by the four trucks. The officers issued each man a notice to appear citation for damage to public lands by a motor vehicle. They were also issued warnings for driving on closed roads.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Clark attended the Annual Kid’s Fishing Clinic in Pensacola. There were approximately 400 kids in attendance, making it one of the largest in the state. The kids were taught the basic techniques of fishing and were given a rod and reel. Officer Clark answered many fish and wildlife questions from the parents.

Officer McHenry attended the Annual Firefighters Challenge at Pensacola Beach. He displayed a marked patrol truck in a first responder’s area that was set for kids. He also handed out brochures and answered many questions.

HOLMES COUNTY

Lieutenant Walsingham and Officers Yates and Tison attended the At the Park Day at Ponce De Leon State Park. The Holmes County Public Library partnered with Holmes County 4-H Club, schools and the park to host a day of outdoor education for the elementary school children. Approximately 400 people were in attendance, including US Congressman Matt Gaetz. Students were educated on the importance of our environment, conservation and safety. The children learned about the role of FWC and the Division of Law Enforcement. They were shown Officer Yates’ patrol vessel, truck, nature-related items and were provided informational handouts while enjoying the outdoors.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Nichols assisted the staff of Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park with the Annual Mattie Kelly Estuary Family Festival. Activities and exhibits included wildlife displays and shows, kayaking and paddle boarding tours, guided trail hikes by local experts, touch-tanks with Choctawhatchee Bay aquatic species, fish-print shirts, kid-friendly crafts and scavenger hunts. The event was free to the public with approximately 1,800-2,000 guests attending.

WALTON COUNTY

Officers attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the new boat ramp and park at the Highway 331 Bridge. The park was dedicated to Thomas Pilcher, a retired Florida Marine Patrol officer and a member of the Board of Conservation. The FWC representatives were Officers Jarvis, Trueblood, White, P. Rockwell, Lieutenant Clark and Captain Rondeau. The offshore patrol vessel Vigilance was tied to the new boat ramp. The FWC representatives provided an informational booth during the event.

Officer Tison participated in a West DeFuniak Elementary School outreach event. He spoke with approximately 15 students about the importance of fish and wildlife conservation and covered various topics, including the duties of an FWC officer.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Maslo was on patrol when she received a call from FWC dispatch stating a man with an orange bucket was taking undersized mangrove snapper. The officer arrived at a local bridge and found a man fitting the description. A resource inspection revealed the man was in possession of 11 mangrove snapper, seven of which were undersized. The man was also in possession of one undersized spotted sea trout. The man was cited accordingly.

Officer Marroquin was on patrol at Sebastian Inlet State Park when an off-duty officer informed him about a man consuming alcohol in the park. Officer Marroquin approached the man, who was fishing, to address the alcohol violation and conduct a fisheries inspection. The officer’s resource inspection revealed the man was in possession of three undersized sheepshead and confirmed he was violating the park’s alcohol rules. A citation was issued for possession of undersized sheepshead and a warning for consuming alcohol in a state park.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officer Aswall was conducting late afternoon Joint Enforcement Agreement (JEA) dockside patrols at the Vilano Boat Ramp north of downtown St. Augustine and encountered a local fisherman in possession of scamp, a shallow-water grouper, among his catch. The shallow-water grouper season is closed annually in the Atlantic for recreational harvest and possession from January 1 through April 30 each year. Officer Aswall issued the fisherman a citation for possessing a scamp grouper during the closed season.

Officers Graves and B. Miller were on late afternoon patrol in Anastasia State Park and saw several commercial oystermen harvesting from the conditionally approved area just north of the park’s boundary in Salt Run. A short while later, the officers met with some of the oystermen at the nearby Lighthouse Park Boat Ramp. During an inspection of two oystermen working out of the same vessel, the officers found six bags of oysters, two of which were full of undersized attached oysters. Furthermore, the oystermen admitted to the officers that they did not use nor carry a shellfish harvesting gauge of any kind and did not attempt to cull the attached undersized oysters. The officers issued each harvester a citation for the misdemeanor violation of possessing greater than the 15% tolerance for attached oysters measuring less than three inches.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officer North and Lieutenant Baer were on foot patrol in Clark Bay Hunt Club when they located a pop-up ground blind 43 yards from an active feeder filled with corn and soybeans. Closer inspection of the area revealed a turkey kill site, including feathers that had been cut next to shot, wadding and a shotgun shell just outside of the blind.

As they were walking back to their vehicle, the officers were confronted by a man who claimed the hunting site was his. He told the officers that he had already killed his two-turkey limit on opening weekend and showed them pictures on his phone. He claimed he killed the turkeys at another location in the hunt club. After he was informed of his Miranda rights, the man was interviewed and presented with the evidence located at the scene. He then admitted to killing one of his turkeys on opening day out of the blind that was only 43 yards from the feeder. He also advised that the feeder was in working order and dispensing feed the day the turkey was killed. Officer North prepared a case packet and direct-filed the charge of taking turkey within 100 yards of a feeder with the state attorney’s office.

Acting on information provided by the FWC investigations section, Officer Sapp responded to Seville in response to the report of a man and woman who were advertising tilapia and catfish for sale to the public on Facebook. The man was issued a criminal citation for selling freshwater fish without a retail license and the woman was given a warning for the same offense.

RESCUES
LAKE COUNTY

A hiker called 911 because he was lost somewhere near Alexander Springs Run in the Lake County portion of the Ocala National Forest. He had been hiking for three days and ran out of food and water. Officers Sapp, Belleville, Morrow, Scrambling and Shaw responded. Officers Belleville and Sapp located the hiker by vessel. The subject refused medical treatment and was returned to his vehicle.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MARION COUNTY

Officers Dias, Hargabus, Sweet and Investigator Staub participated in the FWC Youth Turkey Hunt in Halpata Preserve. Prior to the hunt, the officers scouted the area for the optimal blind locations near roost sites and strut zones. In addition to scouting and setting up blinds, the officers sat with the participants and acted as their guides, teaching the kids different tips and tactics of turkey hunting, woodsmanship, and even found several antler sheds. This provided great interaction with the young generation and their parents while sitting with our FWC officers. Many questions were asked and answered while in the blind. The officers’ hard work and dedication was rewarded with a 100% success rate for the youth hunters. All hunters harvested turkeys, with two having 11-inch beard length and one having 1½-inch spur length.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officer Aswall presented the recreational fisheries laws and basic boating safety portions of the Women’s Saltwater Fishing Clinic, sponsored by the agency’s Division of Marine Fisheries Management and hosted by Biologist Heather Sneed. Officer Aswall spoke to approximately 25 women anglers at Miller’s Boating Center in Ocala and touched on topics such as how to properly measure a fish, size and bag limits, species identification and proper stowage and wear of personal floatation devices.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on patrol in Ruskin, Officer Messman conducted a fisheries inspection on a shoreline fisherman. Through the course of the inspection, the fisherman revealed he caught a snook and placed it in a cooler in his vehicle. The fisherman admitted the snook measured towards the lower end of the slot limit. The snook was measured at 25 inches and the individual was cited for possession of an undersized snook.

The Tampa Police Department requested the help of FWC officers around the Courtney Campbell Causeway and the Hillsborough River due to the ongoing high numbers of jet skiers driving recklessly. Officers Ahlers, Baker, Bibler and Lieutenant Van Trees assisted and made numerous stops and contacts. Many citations and warnings were issued ranging from boating safety violations to possession of illegal drugs.

MANATEE COUNTY

While Officer Davidson was on land patrol around SR 64, he was backing up a Bradenton Police officer that was performing a traffic stop. The officers were parked on the side of SR 64 with their blue lights flashing, when another vehicle passed them at a high rate of speed and failed to move over. Officer Davidson performed a traffic stop on the vehicle that failed to move over and found that the driver was smoking cannabis. The driver was also found to be in possession of a felony amount of cannabis, and the passenger in the car had a warrant out for his arrest. Both the driver and passenger in the car were transported and booked into the Manatee County jail for their violations.

Officer Dalton was dispatched to a complaint that a subject was in possession of a gopher tortoise. After arriving on the scene, he indeed found that the subject was in possession of a gopher tortoise. The individual was cited criminally for possession of a gopher tortoise and given a notice to appear in court.

PASCO COUNTY

Officers Pulaski and Bergwerff were working commercial fisheries in the Hudson Beach area. From a concealed position, the officers monitored a local seafood dealer. They saw two individuals packaging and loading gulf shrimp into a minivan. When the subjects started to leave, the officers conducted a stop and determined the individuals were transporting commercial quantities of saltwater products (gulf shrimp) without proper documentation. The appropriate citations were issued.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on water patrol near Tarpon Key, Officer Bibeau received a call from dispatch advising him of wade fishermen keeping undersized snook near Lassing Park. Officer Bibeau arrived on the scene a short time later and encountered a fisherman who said that he had caught a mangrove snapper, sheepshead and snook, all attached to a stringer. The fish were inspected and the subject was found to be in possession of an undersized sheepshead and snook. The subject was cited accordingly.

Lieutenant Van Trees responded to a call for assistance from the USCG about a vessel that had run aground near Boca Ciega. The USCG advised they were trying to get all the occupants off the vessel that ran aground. There were three individuals, some of which were intoxicated, that refused to leave and kept trying to get the vessel unstuck. Concerned for their safety, the USCG was worried about leaving the intoxicated occupants on the vessel and asked FWC and Pinellas County Sheriff's Office for their assistance. Lieutenant Van Trees, along with the deputies, convinced the remaining occupants they weren't going to move the boat, and they needed to come with the officers to make it back to shore. Lieutenant Van Trees could smell a strong odor of marijuana coming from one of the occupants, and a subsequent search revealed a felony amount of marijuana. The subject was booked into jail by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

RESCUES
HERNANDO COUNTY

Officers from Hernando County assisted with traffic control in response to a 1,100-acre wildfire in the Weeki Wachee Preserve.

LEE COUNTY

Officers Rogers, Hardgrove, Perry, Furbay, Bell and Lieutenant Ruggiero responded to a search and rescue for a missing kayaker. The man failed to return from a fishing trip the night before. The officers worked closely with the USCG, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Cape Coral Police Department and Cape Coral Fire and Rescue, as they covered the area throughout the day, night and continued into the next day searching for the man. Unfortunately, the man was found deceased late that afternoon. This is an ongoing boating accident investigation.

Officers Perry and Salem were on water patrol near Bokeelia when a call for distress was received by FWC dispatch. Two kayakers along with two small children were out kayaking in the Matlacha area, when their kayak began taking on water and sinking. The officers arrived on the scene and took the family back to a local boat ramp. The officers also assisted in pulling the sunken vessel out of the water at the boat ramp.

PASCO COUNTY

Officers Pulaski and Bergwerff were in route to release an alligator on Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) lands when they encountered a K-9 deputy on the property. The K-9 deputy advised they were responding to three hunters lost in the woods. The hunters’ approximate location was four miles away. The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office personnel located the lost individuals and the K-9 deputy and FWC officers assisted the individuals with safely returning to their vehicle, and the alligator was released on the district lands.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officer Bibler and Lieutenant Van Trees responded to a jet ski accident at the Courtney Campbell Causeway where an 18-month-old was struck by a jet ski. Investigator Freemon, Officers Bibeau and Ferguson also responded to assist in the investigation. The boating accident investigation is still ongoing with the investigations unit.

SOUTH A REGION
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Tarr responded to a complaint of a fisherman catching and keeping undersized mutton snapper on the Dania Pier. Officers Tarr, Defeo and Seldomridge walked down the pier and located a subject matching the description of the complaint. They spoke to the subject who advised that he did not have any fish and had not caught any fish all day. During a resource inspection, the officers found two undersized mutton snapper hidden in a bag. The subject had been previously warned for possession of illegal fish and was issued a criminal citation for possession of undersized mutton snapper and a warning for interference with an FWC officer. The fish were seized and submitted into evidence.

Officer Kuester, Investigator Warne and Lieutenant Carcasses responded to a boating accident involving a diver who was seriously injured when he was struck by the propeller of the commercial dive boat he was diving from. A USCG Investigator also responded since it involved a vessel actively involved in commercial activities. The USCG is handling the ongoing investigation.

The FWC received a delayed report of a boating accident which resulted in a fatality. A vessel with six passengers on board began taking on water and eventually capsized and sank. The USCG and a commercial tow boat company responded and retrieved the six occupants from the water. One of the occupants required CPR and was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased. The FWC is handling the boating accident investigation.

Investigator Warne, Lieutenant Ornold, Officers Defeo and Seldomridge worked an undercover livery inspection operation. Investigator Warne was operating in a plain-clothes capacity and approached a personal watercraft rental company to rent a PWC. During the contact, an employee of the company assisted Investigator Warne with the exam. Officers Defeo and Seldomridge responded and issued the employee a citation for the violation.

GLADES COUNTY

Officer Alford responded to a request for an “other than homemade” vessel inspection. He found that the title for the vessel did not match the hull identification numbers and that this title had existed before the current owner had purchased the vessel. He denied the vessel for title reissuance and notified Investigator Lafoy to investigate possible title fraud.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Alford and Nasworth received a call from US Sugar Security involving four subjects trespassing south of Rogers Road. Officer Alford responded and found the subjects fishing near the cultivated field and confirmed that the subjects were not authorized to be on the property. He obtained trespass complaints, signed by a US Sugar representative, and cited the subjects for trespass.

Officers Alford and Worrell received a call from US Sugar Security that three subjects were trespassing in a cultivated field near Hwy 80 in Area 3. Officers Alford and Worrell responded and found the subjects hunting rabbits in the field. They confirmed that the subjects were not authorized to be on the property and obtained trespass complaints, signed by a US Sugar representative, and cited the subjects accordingly.

Officers Alford, Worrell, Nasworth, and Lieutenant Brown responded to a trespass complaint on US Sugar Property with nine subjects hunting rabbits. The officers located the subjects and escorted them from the property.

Officers Alford, Nasworth, Worrell, Toby and Lieutenant Brown all participated in special detail on Torry Island. The purpose of the detail was public safety, public outreach, boating safety and assisting the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Officers Fretwell and Arnold were traveling Southbound on the ICW when they saw a vessel traveling in the opposite direction on a full plane in a slow speed manatee zone. A vessel stop was initiated and Officer Fretwell saw the operator having a hard time keeping his eyes open and using the console to keep steady and help him stand. He was also smiling and talking to himself. Officer Fretwell requested that the subject perform field sobriety tasks to determine if the subject was impaired. At a local boat ramp, the tasks were performed by the subject and the results indicated impairment. The subject was transported and booked into jail without incident. The subject was also issued a citation for the manatee zone speed violation and for refusing to provide a breath sample.

RESCUES
OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

A tornadic event occurred in the morning on April 6, starting in Kissimmee Prairie State Park campground and destroying two RVs. One female victim was transported to the hospital for breathing difficulties after her RV flipped over with her inside. Minor cuts and bruises were sustained by two male victims who both refused transport by EMS. The tornado then traveled in a northeastern direction and hit the Fort Drum Ranchettes, located North of Highway 68 along SR 441. Multiple mobile homes were destroyed or sustained significant damage. Several other houses sustained minor damage. Trees and powerlines were down across major and secondary roads and Florida Power and Light was on the scene dealing with the powerline issues. Officers from the FWC, Okeechobee Sheriffs’ Office and Okeechobee Fire Department helped clear debris along roadways and went door to door checking on the welfare of the residents. No injuries were reported at the Ranchettes and all occupants were accounted for.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
HENDRY COUNTY

Officers Alford and Worrell responded to a panther complaint near Hwy 835 and Dooley Grade. A female panther was found in the road earlier that morning with fatal injuries from an apparent vehicle collision. Once on the scene, Officers Alford and Worrell found the deceased panther on the east shoulder of the road. The officers photographed the scene, took GPS coordinates and stood by for an FWC biologist to pick up the panther for further evaluation.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Allen attended court on his “taking turkey over bait” case that he made on the opening morning of spring gobbler season. The results were a plea of guilty and a fine, court costs and payment to the Wildlife Alert Fund totaling $800.00 dollars.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Rogers, Carroll, Moss and Norbrothen conducted a detail on board an offshore patrol vessel during the full moon. The officers conducted fisheries inspections enforcing snapper and grouper species south of the Jupiter Inlet. As a result, the officers found multiple violations including undersized triggerfish, vermillion snapper, and out-of-season grouper. All violations were handled accordingly.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
PALM BEACH COUNTY

FWC officers were present at the annual Black Gold Jubilee to answer questions and educate the public about the agency’s mission. Officers Alford and Toby were approached by a 9-year-old-girl who had lost her parents. The officers found the child’s family and returned her to their custody.

SOUTH B REGION
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Reams and Araujo responded to a complaint about a subject cleaning a deer out of season. They arrived on the scene and saw a male subject outside and deer fat on and around a table. When they got closer to the table, they found more meat and fat, along with fat on the knife. Looking through the screen on the back porch, they saw a closed trash can with dry blood and meat on it, a cooler with bloody water leaking out of the drain plug, and a pair of shorts with blood on them in another trash can. They searched the surrounding area and into the neighbors’ properties and found more dry blood in several spots. Officer Collazo and K-9 Rosco were called for assistance and K-9 Rosco indicated at several areas. Officers Reams and Araujo then located the subject at another address where he admitted to killing three whitetail deer (2 does, 1 buck) that morning in the front yard. The subject was arrested for three counts of deer out of season and one count of trespass by projectile.

Officers Arbogast and Kleis approached two individuals who were actively fishing to conduct a resource and license inspection. The individuals told the officers that the people across the waterway were catching a lot of snook. The officers looked across the waterway and saw two individuals packing up their fishing gear, and quickly making their way towards a parking lot. Officer Kleis made his way to the parking lot, while Officer Arbogast kept visual on the subjects and radioed the information to Officer Kleis. Officer Kleis saw the two subjects packing fishing gear into a car, and heard what appeared to be a fish thrashing in a cooler. Officer Kleis asked the subjects if they had caught any fish, to which they admitted to catching and keeping a large snook. Officer Kleis located an approximately 36-inch snook in the cooler. To be legal to keep, snook must between 28 and 33 inches. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the violation and the snook was returned to the resource alive.

Officer Kleis and Investigator White were on water patrol conducting BUI enforcement when they received a call about a grounded vessel with possibly intoxicated occupants. They responded to the scene and saw a vessel grounded on a mud bank that was exposed due to the low tide. There were two occupants on board the vessel, both of which were obviously impaired. Officers Plussa and Arbogast also arrived on the scene to assist and located multiple witnesses who provided sworn statements. The owner of the boat claimed to be operating the boat when it became grounded. The second occupant also stated that the owner of the boat was driving the boat. However, there were multiple witnesses that stated the other occupant was driving the vessel when it became grounded. The investigation determined that both occupants were operating the vessel, and both were highly intoxicated. Both subjects were subsequently arrested for BUI and refused to provide breath samples. The subjects were booked into the Collier County Jail.

Officer Curbelo received a call about individuals shooting in the Picayune Strand State Forest. Three subjects were located and were not displaying the use fee placard in their vehicle. They admitted they had been shooting in the forest and that their guns were in the rear of the vehicle. The rear hatch was opened and an AK-47 rifle and a short-barreled shotgun were found. One subject was placed under arrest for possession of a short-barreled shotgun. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is investigating where the subject acquired the short-barreled shotgun.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

FWC officers conducted a vessel stop near the Gables Waterway while patrolling South Biscayne Bay. A resource inspection revealed the occupants had fish fillets on board. The occupants stated they had returned from the Bahamas and had filleted the fish in another location. The officers explained to the individuals that all fish returning from the Bahamas must have the skin intact. The operator of the vessel took responsibility of the filleted fish and was cited accordingly.

FWC officers stopped a vessel for a fisheries inspection while patrolling Biscayne Channel and discovered an undersized sailfish. The subject also did not have any federal permits to harvest the sailfish they possessed. The boat operator was cited accordingly.

An officer saw a vessel leaving the marina while conducting resources inspections at Matheson Hammock Boat Ramp. Approximately 45 minutes later, the same vessel returned speeding through the manatee zone and approaching the dock in an apparent emergency manner. The vessel had extensive damage to the port side. The officer approached the operator who stated he had been involved in an accident with a channel marker. The vessel was taking on water quickly while docked. The operator removed his vessel out of the water before it sank. The operator then provided a statement to the officer who cited the operator for operating the vessel in a careless manner.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Mattson was on water patrol in Whale Harbor Channel when he saw a rental PWC doing doughnuts in the slow speed zone. Upon speaking with the 25-year-old subject, Officer Mattson learned the subject had not been given a boater’s safety exam as required by law. Officer Mattson brought the PWC into the rental company and he cited the subject for a speed zone violation. He cited the rental operator the misdemeanor violation of not giving the operator the boater’s safety test.

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