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  FWC Enforcement Report Aug 25-31 All regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 09-06-2017, 10:04 AM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Environmental Investigator Hughes was contacted by a Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Manager and a Solid Waste Compliance Inspector to discuss a complaint involving ads placed online advertising clean fill materials that could be deposited on-site free of charge. An additional ad advertised the disposal of yard trash debris onsite for $20 per ton. The location of the complaint was determined to be private property in Escambia County. Investigator Hughes was informed the site location was not permitted by DEP to receive solid waste materials. During a two-week period, crew members of the commercial land clearing / tree trimming company disposed approximately 11 truckloads of yard trash debris and 3 loads of mulch from various job sites at the unpermitted facility. Investigator Hughes issued the property owner a written warning and a manager of the commercial land clearing / trimming company a notice to appear citation for disposing solid waste at an unpermitted facility.

Lieutenant Hahr was on foot patrol in the Perdido River Wildlife Management Area when he saw two men and a woman who appeared to be smoking cannabis. When he met them in the parking area, he smelled the odor of cannabis and addressed the group. One of the subjects attempted to discard a bundle of cannabis and methamphetamine. The man was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of not more than 20 grams of cannabis, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Investigator Molnar observed an individual walking down the road dressed in a wet suit, carrying dive gear, a spear gun, a red drum and several gray (mangrove) snapper. Upon contacting the individual, he stated he speared the red drum and was aware it was a violation. When asked, the subject did not have any identification on him but gave a name and date of birth. Through law enforcement databases, Investigator Molnar determined the subject gave a false name and positively identified the subject. The subject was arrested and booked into Okaloosa County Jail for giving false name to law enforcement and spearing red drum. The subject, post Miranda, stated he gave a false name because he did not want a citation issued.

Investigator Molnar concluded a single vessel boating accident investigation involving property damage that occurred in March 2017. An arrest warrant was issued for the operator for BUI resulting in property damage. The subject was also issued two infraction citations for violation of U.S. Coast Guard Navigational Rules related to improper lookout and safe speed.

Officer Wilkenson and Lieutenant Clark responded to a boating accident that occurred just offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Two personal watercraft (PWC) were operating just outside the East Pass. One of the operators jumped a wave and upon landing was ejected off the PWC. The other operator went to the fallen individual to check on his welfare and to provide assistance. As the operator was maneuvering the PWC to the fallen swimmer, the PWC struck the individual. One individual with injuries was transported to a local hospital in Fort Walton Beach.

Officer Wilkenson was on land patrol conducting state resource protection when he observed an individual he recognized as having a felony warrant out of Okaloosa County. The individual was charged by Investigator Hughes for felony littering related to dumping a floating structure on private land/state waters. The individual was arrested under the warrant and transported to the Okaloosa County Jail.

Officer Jarvis responded to a boat fire in the Choctawhatchee Bay near Crab Island. A 35‑foot “go-fast” boat was heading to Crab Island when smoke started coming out of the engine compartment. The operator had his two passengers put on life jackets and move to the front of the boat away from the fire. A Good Samaritan on a nearby boat saw the smoke coming from the boat and went over to help. All three passengers safely boarded the Good Samaritan’s boat away from the fire. The “go-fast” boat was quickly engulfed in flames and drifted to the shoreline about one quarter mile west of U.S. Coast Guard Station Destin. The Destin Fire Rescue boat and Niceville Fire Rescue boat worked together to fully extinguish the fire. The owner had the boat removed from the water the same day.

Officer Wilkenson received information from the U.S. Coast Guard Destin (USCG) that three intoxicated individuals were boarding a pontoon boat at Crab Island. Officer Wilkenson went by land to the USCG station and accompanied Coast Guard personnel in response to the complaint. The officers located the pontoon and conducted a boating safety inspection. During the safety inspection, the operator showed signs of impairment and agreed to perform field sobriety tasks (FST) for Officer Wilkenson. The operator showed strong indicators of impairment from FSTs performed and was arrested for BUI. The operator refused to provide a breath sample and was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed.

Lieutenant Clark contacted Environmental Investigator Hughes regarding a working barge previously used for advertisement located at the base of the Shalimar Bridge in Niceville. The working barge was described as dilapidated and grounded on private property. Officer Wilkenson and Investigator Hughes conducted a site inspection of the working barge and found the barge to be aground and partially in the water. A warrant was issued for the arrest of the barge owner for felony commercial dumping.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Nelson charged an individual for unlawful possession of a Class II serval without a permit and the unlawful importation of the serval into the state.

Officer Lewis responded to a complaint that a couple were smoking marijuana at a popular swimming area in the Blackwater State Forest. When he arrived, he spotted the couple in the parking area. After smelling the odor of cannabis, he found both to be in possession of cannabis and paraphernalia. Both were given notices to appear for the violations.

WALTON COUNTY

Lieutenant Hollinhead and Officer White identified multiple vessels in the Hogtown Bayou area that are in derelict condition. Information from the vessels was documented to locate the owners. Lieutenant Hollinhead located one of the owners of a vessel that is partially submerged. The owner was charged with leaving a derelict vessel on state waters. The owner received a warning previously for leaving his vessel in derelict condition upon the waters of the state and still had not removed the vessel.


NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
CITRUS COUNTY

Officer Schulz was mentoring with Captive Wildlife Investigator Holmes and during an inspection, several violations were observed at a private licensed venomous reptile location. The violations included substandard materials used in a venomous reptile enclosure, no identification label on a venomous reptile enclosure and multiple enclosures with unsanitary conditions.


DUVAL COUNTY

Environmental Investigator Terrones found a 20-yard roll-off dumpster overflowing with used truck parts and garbage abandoned on a remote back road in Jacksonville. The dumpster had no markings on it but items in the container led to a nearby property whose owner advised that he had paid an employee of a waste disposal company several hundred dollars to haul the items away. The waste company employee was doing this activity without the knowledge of his employer and GPS records from the employee’s work phone verified he was at both the location where the dumpster was picked up and where it was illegally abandoned. With Environmental Investigator Starling’s assistance, the suspect was interviewed but he invoked his rights and refused to cooperate. An arrest warrant was obtained charging the suspect with commercial littering.

ALACHUA COUNTY

While working in the early morning hours, Officer Reith observed several hunters on Newnan Lake. After several stops, Officer Reith found that one of the hunters was hunting before his allotted date. The subject was issued a citation for the violation.

Lieutenant Farmer, Investigator Bing, Officers Stanley and Johnston responded to a vessel running in circles on Newnan Lake without an operator. With the assistance of Alachua County Sheriff’s Office dive team, the deceased operator was located late Tuesday afternoon. Investigator Bing will be investigating the boating incident.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ALACHUA COUNTY

FWC officers are working area lakes for boating and resource compliance. Officers are also working area waterways to ensure compliance of gator season regulations.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ALACHUA COUNTY

Lieutenant Ferguson and Officer Cooper attended the UF Criminology Class. Nineteen students viewed specialized equipment and ask questions about FWC.


NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Humphrey was patrolling the St. Johns River when she observed a light sweeping in a manner consistent with alligator hunting. Later, from a discreet location, she observed two subjects casting large snatch hooks at an alligator. At 2:30 a.m., she checked the subjects revealing that they were hunting five days outside of their permitted harvest period. The subjects were cited accordingly.

Officer Loeffler was investigating a complaint on the illegal take of snook out of season near Melbourne Beach. The subject of the complaint was located on the beach fishing, and after a short field interview, the subject retrieved a 33 inch snook from his vehicle. The subject was cited for possession of snook out of season.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

While on patrol, Lieutenant Lightsey observed a known violator’s vehicle parked near the Indian River. As violations were observed, Officers Platt, Dubose and Kearney were alerted and arrived on scene. The man was alerted to their presence and began to throw numerous illegally harvested fish back into the water despite commands to stop. After detaining the man and observing all violations, the man was arrested for possession of snook out of season, possession of undersized black drum and failure to allow inspection by a state officer. Additional charges are being filed for destruction of evidence, violation of probation and an enhanced penalty for committing more than three resource violations within a ten-year period.

While on late night patrol, Lieutenant Lightsey stopped to provide routine assistance to an Indian River County deputy on a traffic stop. The officer observed fishing poles and a cooler inside the stopped vehicle. After the deputy concluded his stop, Lieutenant Lightsey asked the man for consent to check his cooler. After receiving permission to search the cooler, the officer found numerous types of crabs. A full resource inspection revealed the man was in possession of twelve egg-bearing blue crabs and six out of season stone crabs in whole condition. A citation was issued for the offenses and the crabs were returned to a local waterway.

ORANGE COUNTY

Officer Marroquin was working an alligator targeted enforcement detail when he observed a pickup truck pulling an airboat leaving the boat ramp. Officer Marroquin initiated a traffic stop to address careless driving and to perform a resource inspection. The operator showed signs of impairment during standard field sobriety tasks. He was arrested for driving under the influence and transported to jail where he provided a breath sample of .162 blood alcohol content, twice the legal limit. The operator was also charged with possession of alcohol by a person under 21 and an open container.

PUTNAM COUNTY

K-9 Officer Simpson was on patrol in Lake George Management Area when he observed a truck coming out of a closed road. A traffic stop was made on the vehicle at which time one subject fled from the bed of the truck. Upon investigation, it was found that three subjects were illegally picking palmetto berries on state property. Two subjects were charged with unlawful harvest of palmetto berries and one was charged with driving without a valid license. The third subject could not be located.

Officer Bernard was on patrol when he observed a truck matching the description of a vehicle that ran through a gate in May at Dunn’s Creek State Park. Due to the vehicle still having front end damage, Officer Bernard observed two subjects occupying the vehicle. Upon investigation, it was found that both subjects were present during the time and admitted to damaging the gate. Both subjects were charged with criminal mischief of state property.

Officer Bernard was on patrol in the Ocala National Forest when he observed a vehicle with two occupants standing outside on the side of the road. Officer Bernard stopped to talk to them when he observed they had been picking palmetto berries illegally. Both subjects were charged with unlawful harvest of palmetto berries from a wildlife management area.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Lieutenant Eason was on patrol on a private landowner’s property with a known littering (possible commercial dumping) problem in Deland. He observed an older model GMC Jimmy parked past two posted no trespassing signs just off Leavitt Road. He attempted to conduct a stop and the vehicle proceeded south for approximately 200 feet before coming to a stop. Lieutenant Eason observed two white males who could not provide identification. The passenger was identified through dispatch, however the name provided by the driver did not produce any results. Ultimately, it was determined that the driver had provided a false name and had two active felony warrants for battery and grand theft. A misdemeanor warrant was also active for driving while the subjects license had been suspended/revoked. The subject was transported to jail. Additionally, the subject was charged with providing a false name to law enforcement and for criminal driving while license suspended/revoked.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officers Miller and Greenier were dispatched to a call of an individual who had called 911 several times and stated he was going to drown. The individual’s location at the time of the call was pinged and mapped. Officers Miller and Greenier responded by vessel to the area which was approximately 1.5 miles northeast of St. Augustine Inlet. County fire rescue located the vessel approximately a half mile away with no occupants on board. The officers continued to the area of the last known GPS location. Officer Greenier spotted the men waving and screaming for help, the officers approached and quickly realized the men were too exhausted to get on the patrol vessel themselves. Officer Greenier threw a life ring and began pulling one man on board and Officer Miller jumped in to assist the other man who was struggling to keep his head above water. Both men were recovered to the safety of the patrol vessel. The vessel was transported to Vilano Boat Ramp for recovery.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Officers Gonzales and Berg were on land patrol around Williams Park Boat Ramp. While on patrol, the two officers performed a boating safety and resource inspection on a vessel returning to the ramp. During the inspection, the officers found that the two subjects on the vessel had caught and kept two out of season snook. Both fish were also undersized. The men were given citations for their violations and must appear in court.

Officers Gonzales and Berg were on land patrol around Cockroach Bay Boat Ramp. While on patrol, the two officers performed a resource inspection on a vessel leaving the boat ramp. During the inspection, the two officers discovered that the captain of the vessel had caught and kept several undersized spotted seatrout. The captain was issued a citation for possession of undersized spotted seatrout and must appear in court for his violation.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Price was on land patrol near a popular fishing spot when he observed several people park a vehicle and enter a construction area. Officer Price positioned himself in a concealed location and watched them enter some of the construction machinery. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) was called to assist. After the LCSO completed their investigation, they arrested the four individuals for felony trespassing in a construction area.

Officer Hardgrove was on patrol at Pineland Marina when he checked two subjects returning from a fishing trip. Both subjects were asked if they had caught anything and stated not much. Once they were informed that Officer Hardgrove planned on checking their cooler, one subject stated that they did have fish. When Officer Hardgrove checked the cooler, he located 10 seatrout, putting them two over the bag limit, and five of the seatrout were under the size limit. Neither subject had a valid fishing license. Both subjects were charged with over the bag limit and undersized trout, and were issued a notice to appear in court. Both subjects were also issued warnings for no fishing license.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officers Gonzales and Berg were on land patrol in the South Skyway Rest Area. While on patrol, the two officers performed a resource inspection on an individual that had been cast netting fish in Tampa Bay. During the inspection, the officers found that the individual had cast netted two undersized and out of season snook, one undersized red drum, several undersized mangrove snapper and several undersized sheepshead. The subject was cited appropriately and must appear in court for his violations.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on patrol, Officer Pettifer observed an individual fishing with a cast net under the 4th Street Bridge. Upon conducting a resource inspection, the individual stated he had only caught mullet. Officer Pettifer inspected the man’s cooler and after searching through several mullet found an undersized snook at the bottom of the cooler. The individual admitted to catching the snook with the cast net post Miranda. The individual was cited for possession of an undersized snook during a closed season and given warnings for no saltwater shoreline fishing license and illegal method of taking a snook.

While on land patrol near the Skyway Bridge, Officer Bibeau encountered two individuals and performed a resource inspection. While conducting the inspection, Officer Bibeau found a 9-inch gag grouper attached to a stringer. One of the individuals admitted to catching the gag grouper and keeping it because he was unsure what it was. The individual was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of an undersized gag grouper.

SEARCH AND RESCUES
HIGHLANDS COUNTY

Officer Infante received a call from the Highlands County Sheriff’s Agricultural Deputy asking for assistance with searching in a wooded neighborhood for an elderly woman suffering from Alzheimer’s. After arriving on the scene with his ATV, Officer Infante was briefed by the deputies of the situation and the last sighting. Soon after, Officer Infante found the woman lying under a tree in a wooded area a few roads over from the woman’s residence. With the help of the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office K-9 officer, the woman was carried out of the woods to the closest cross street to wait for EMS. The woman had apparently been lying there for approximately three hours, but was okay, sustaining only a few minor cuts and scratches.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
LEE COUNTY

Officers Price and Winton conducted speed enforcement in the panther protection areas of Lee County to reduce speeding and increase protection for the species. During their enforcement, the officers issued seven traffic citations and two written warnings for speed related violations. They also issued a couple of misdemeanors for possession of marijuana and paraphernalia. The highest recorded speed was 88 miles per hour in the 45 miles per hour posted speed limit.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Grant was on patrol in the north jetty of Port Everglades. She observed two juveniles exit the water with spear guns and snorkeling gear. She contacted the two individuals and they were also in possession of three speared snook. The officer completed the juvenile process paperwork with charges of possession of undersized snook, possession of snook out of season and illegal method of taking snook. The juveniles were released to the custody of their parents and await contact by the Broward Juvenile Assessment Center.

While Lt. Laubenberger and Officer Grant were on patrol in Mizell – Johnson State Park, they received a radio call about a boat on the beach at the southern end of the park. They arrived on scene and observed a family of five on the beach along with their rented 21-foot vessel. One male family member was treated by EMS on scene and released. The rental company responded to the scene and was successfully able to push the boat back into the ocean.

Officer Brock responded to the City of Plantation about a report of an individual catching a large snook. Officer Brock took information from the complainant and went to a house in the area. Contact was made with an individual who produced a snook carcass and head. With information gathered, Officer Brock will file the case with the Broward State Attorney.

GLADES COUNTY

Lt. Brown received information that a subject was in possession of American Alligator eggs at his residence. The subject, who was already under arrest for a domestic violence charge, admitted to having the eggs during an interview. Several American Alligator eggs were located on the property inside a container. The State Attorney’s Office will be filing 17 felony counts of unlawful possession of American Alligator eggs.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Howell responded to a complaint regarding the possible illegal possession of a coyote. Upon arrival, he verified an individual was in possession of a coyote without the required license. Investigator Howell cited the individual for this violation, and issued several warnings for other violations related to the illegal possession. Captive Wildlife Investigator Alford, Environmental Investigator Booth, Officers Merizio, Moss and staff from Busch Wildlife Sanctuary assisted with this incident.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Howell responded to a complaint regarding the possible illegal possession of an artic fox. The complaint stemmed from of an image of the fox posted on social media. Investigator Howell arrived at the location and verified an individual was in possession of an artic fox without the required license, and was cited accordingly. Several warnings were issued for other violations related to the illegal possession. The fox was placed at a licensed facility. Officer Moss assisted on this incident.

Officer Spradling was on land patrol in an FWC unmarked patrol truck at the Lake Worth spillway due to numerous calls from the public regarding two subjects illegally taking snook. The complainant advised that the two subjects were catching snook during closed season and throwing them into the trunk of a car. While performing surveillance, Officer Spradling saw two male subjects running from the north side of the Lake Worth spillway towards the parking lot. One of the subjects had a large snook in hand while the other was carrying multiple fishing poles. The subject with the snook in hand jumped the fence to the parking lot from the spillway and was about to open the trunk of a vehicle when Officer Spradling pulled up in his patrol vehicle and activated his emergency lights. As Officer Spradling approached the subject, he put down the fish and stated “you got me.” Due to the snook still being alive, it was quickly measured (38”) and pictures were taken before it was released back into the water. Since snook season is closed and the legal slot limit is 28-32 inches, both subjects were issued misdemeanor citations for possession of a snook over the legal-size limit as well as possession of a snook during closed season.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Officers Payne and Fretwell were conducting license and resource inspections at a popular boat ramp in Fort Pierce. While there, they observed a vessel returning to the ramp with diving equipment on board. During a resource inspection, a subject was found to be in possession of two undersized sheepshead, two live conchs and one speared Florida spiny lobster. The owner of the vessel stated that he had speared the lobster and claimed responsibility for the fish and other saltwater resource. The subject was issued a citation for the violations.

Officers Fretwell and Miano were on land patrol in the Savannas State Park Preserve. The area is well known for its palmetto berries and during the time of year when the berries are mature, individuals will illegally enter the property and pick them to be sold for profit. These individuals cause considerable damage on the property. They create new trails by destroying plant matter with machetes. They occasionally make illegal camps that create litter. While in the area on patrol, Officer Fretwell observed a parked U-Haul vehicle. The tag was checked and it returned as a stolen vehicle. The two subjects with the vehicle were detained for further investigation. The driver / operator was found to be the leasee, who had failed to return the rental and continued to use it without making the proper payments. When the vehicle was not returned on time, it was then reported as stolen. The second subject was permitted to leave. The driver was arrested for grand theft with additional charges for drug possession and drug paraphernalia.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Grant responded to the Dania Beach pier about an injured seagull. She arrived at the pier and took possession of the seagull from a Good Samaritan. One of the bird’s wings appeared injured. She transported it to the Wildlife Care Center in Ft. Lauderdale for treatment.

Officer Banks responded to the City of Weston due to a report of an alligator in the road. The Officer arrived on scene and discovered a 2-foot long alligator in the roadway. She captured the alligator and released it into the Everglades.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Plussa and Johnson responded to a report of a possible abandoned vessel that had sunk and was leaking fuel into the water at the Isles of Capri area near Marco Island. Officers spoke to the subject who stated the vessel was his and he was working on a solution. Officer Plussa explained the environmental hazard, however the subject appeared very indifferent to his vessel’s threat to the environment. When the subject was asked to present his identification, a records check revealed the license was suspended and that a notice of suspension had been served one month prior. The license was seized and a citation was written for possession, display and use of a suspended license. Officer Plussa told the subject he would return for follow-up and encouraged expeditious removal. Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection and USCG National Response Center were notified. The subject had the vessel removed by Sea Tow, signing over the title as a salvage operation thus eliminating the hazard.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

An officer received information about a possible resource violation from CBP Agents in Miami-Dade County. After conducting a fisheries inspection on a vessel coming from the Bahamas, the officer found a subject to be in possession of nine queen conchs and four undersized dolphin. The subject was charged accordingly.

An officer while patrolling boat ramps conducted a fisheries inspection on a vessel arriving at Black Point Marina in Miami-Dade County. The inspection revealed two undersized nurse sharks on board the subject’s vessel. The subject was charged accordingly.

MONROE COUNTY

Pilot Willman observed a vessel with an electric fishing reel inside of the East Hump MPA. Pilot Willman directed the Interceptor to the vessel in question. Once onboard, the subject admitted to deep-dropping with an electric reel in the area. The electric reel still had hooks and a weight attached, and was not properly stowed. The subject was educated on the MPA regulations and the federal violation was documented accordingly.

Investigator Hein was on state land patrol in the Islamorada area. At approximately 2300 hours, he noticed several individuals diving at night with flashlights. After some time, they got out of the water and began walking toward their truck. One of the subjects was carrying a bag full of lobster. A resource inspection was conducted and both explained they each got six lobster. Investigator Hein had the two men separate their catch. Upon closer inspection, one man was in possession of six undersized spiny lobster and the other man was in possession of four undersized spiny lobster. Both men were cited accordingly.

Officer Garcia was patrolling around mile marker 91 on Highway US1. While conducting work on his state issued laptop, Officer Garcia noticed a Be on the Lookout (BOLO) message for a Florida registered white Kia. The message instructed law enforcement to detain the vehicle and contact a Monroe County Sheriff Office (MCSO) detective. Officer Garcia observed a vehicle matching the description heading northbound on Highway US1. The vehicle’s tag matched the one on the BOLO message. Officer Garcia conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and detained the driver. Officer Baumgartner assisted in the detention of the driver. MCSO was contacted and deputies took the driver into custody. The driver was later charged with attempted murder, false imprisonment, sexual battery and battery. He was booked into jail.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Plussa responded to a call for service involving a bear and multiple cubs loitering in a neighborhood in North Naples. Upon arrival, an adult black bear and cubs were going through food trash from a tipped over trash can. Officer Plussa scared the cubs into the woods and deployed adverse conditioning techniques to the adult which subsequently left the area. He then spoke with the home owner about the presence of food trash outside, served her with a regulatory letter of non-compliance and advised that repeated or continued incidents could result in law enforcement action. The home owner stated she understood and knew of the regulation, but did not think “one night” would have attracted them. She removed the trash and placed it inside her closed garage accordingly.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers from Collier County participated in a weekend detail targeting resource violations and boating safety in the canals of Golden Gate Estates. During the detail, numerous boaters and fishermen were checked and numerous violations were addressed, including the removal of a discovered derelict vessel.

RESCUES
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Richards and Foell onboard FWC offshore patrol vessel Interceptor were offshore on an East Hump MPA detail with FWC Pilot Willman flying above. Over VHF 16, the Officers heard USCG Sector Key West receiving a call of a possible Cuban migrant vessel 28 miles south of Marathon. Pilot Willman quickly located the Cuban migrant vessel, which consisted of three male subjects onboard a Styrofoam raft. Officers Richards and Foell on the Interceptor were the first patrol vessel on scene. The Officers kept a perimeter while waiting for USCG and CBP to arrive. Once on scene, the three subjects were put onto the USCG vessel.

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  FWC Enforcement Report August 18-24. All Regi
Posted by: bigefromlc - 08-29-2017, 01:27 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

Officer N. Basford was patrolling Camp Helen State Park and checking compliance for visitors paying to enter the park. There was only one vehicle in the parking lot that did not display an appropriate pay stub for park entry. Officer Basford saw a subject return to the vehicle and proceed to exit the park. After a stop on the vehicle, a check on the driver revealed that his driver’s license was suspended and that he had received notification of such. He was issued a warning for entering the park without paying and was taken to jail for knowingly driving while license suspended or revoked.

ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officers Roberson, Hoomes and Pettey worked a detail on Pensacola Beach checking fishermen. One subject was seen with two redfish and was issued a citation for over the daily bag limit of redfish. Officer Pettey located another individual who was in possession of 18 Spanish mackerel. The subject was issued a citation for over the bag limit of Spanish mackerel.

Officer Pettey followed up on a deer case he made earlier this month. After meeting with the state attorney’s office, warrants were obtained for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and willful waste of wildlife. The case involved an individual who poached a deer then left it on his front porch where it spoiled in the heat for approximately 16 hours.

Officer Manning responded to a call to assist the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. An individual who was arrested for child endangerment also had an alligator in his possession. The individual had constructed a special room in his home for the alligator to live. While interviewing the subject at the jail, he admitted catching the alligator and keeping it as a pet. Officer Manning seized the alligator and charged the subject with three criminal violations.

Officers Roberson and Mullins received a call of an oversized redfish at the Bob Sikes fishing pier. The officers arrived and located a subject who had a redfish which was measured at 37 inches, 10 inches over the maximum legal length for redfish. The subject was issued a citation for possession of oversized redfish. The fish was seized as evidence.

JACKSON COUNTY

Officers conducted a detail targeting the opening week of the alligator hunting season. On the opening night, Officers Baber and Hayes checked a hunter who was actively hunting. The inspection of his permit revealed that he was hunting during phase one, with a phase three permit. The hunter was cited for attempting to take alligator during the wrong harvest period.

Lieutenant B. Allen, Officers Forehand, Little and Hayes were checking alligator hunters on Lake Seminole. They conducted surveillance on a hunter who was actively hunting and during a resource inspection, they found an alligator that had not been tagged. Inspection of the hunter’s permit showed that he was hunting out of his assigned area. The officers noticed spent .22 caliber casings inside the hunter’s vessel. After an interview, the hunter admitted to killing the alligator with a pistol. The hunter was subsequently charged with taking alligator outside of his permitted area, failure to attach CITES tag to an alligator and taking alligator by an illegal method.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer J. Rockwell was on land patrol in Blackwater Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when he saw a Jeep traveling at a high rate of speed. He conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and discovered that the license plate did not match the vehicle. Additionally, the driver advised Officer Rockwell that he was driving on a suspended driver’s license. The subject was charged with knowingly driving on a suspended license and attaching a tag not assigned.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Nichols, Wilkenson and Lieutenant Clark teamed up with FWC Bear Management personnel to conduct bear canvassing efforts. The community/neighborhood targeted had a recent human/bear encounter. The effort was centered on making homeowners and the community aware of the law and their responsibilities in securing food attractants (unsecured garbage cans) in prevention of human and bear encounters. The canvas resulted in 157 houses visited with almost 100% direct contact with the homeowners. Two homeowners were issued non-compliance letters for unsecured garbage cans.

Officer Jarvis responded to a bear complaint in Mary Esther. The complaint centered on a bear that knocked over a garbage can. The officer arrived on the scene and could not locate the bear. The garbage can that had been knocked over had household garbage spread out on the lawn of a residence. The homeowner was identified and was issued a non-compliance letter.

RESCUES
SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer J. Rockwell received a call from FWC Dispatch advising that two girls had not returned from a short tubing trip on Cold Water Creek. Officers Lugg and Land also responded to the call. In a joint effort with Santa Rosa County deputies and Santa Rosa Fire Rescue, they located the girls and returned them to their mother.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers Troiano and Reith were working a late-night shift during the opening of the alligator season near Lochloosa Lake when they located several individuals hunting. The two officers waited until the subjects returned to the boat ramp. From a concealed location, the officers saw a vessel approaching the ramp. After the subject loaded his vessel, the officers identified themselves. The suspect was hunting out of an assigned area and the officers found an untagged alligator on the vessel. Two citations were issued.

DIXIE COUNTY

Lieutenant Futch was on land patrol in the early morning hours when he saw an off-road vehicle driving at a high rate of speed on a public roadway. During the subsequent traffic stop, a strong smell of alcohol was observed and the operator displayed several signs of impairment. Following field sobriety tasks, the subject was arrested for operating a motor vehicle while being impaired. At the jail, the subject submitted to a breath test that yielded .200 and .193 BAL.

Lieutenant Futch received information that a homeowner found a dead deer in his back yard. On the scene, it was determined the deer had been shot with a shotgun. The officer back-tracked the deer to the neighbor’s property where a garden was planted. Lieutenant Futch contacted K-9 Officer Wiggins to assist in the investigation. The officers trailed the deer into the garden and found a shotgun wadding. The wadding was between the back porch and the location where it appeared the deer had been shot. After speaking with the suspect, the officers decided that charges will be direct-filed with the state attorney’s office for taking deer out of season.

FWC officers began an investigation after receiving information of an 8-point buck deer being killed in the early morning hours. Officers Allen and Cooper contacted one of the suspects at a nearby residence. While speaking with one of the suspects, the officers saw fresh blood on his vehicle. Additionally, they saw drag marks across the yard leading to a cooler. The officers saw fresh blood on the cooler and asked what was inside. One of the subjects opened the cooler to reveal a freshly butchered deer. Lieutenant Futch then went to another residence to contact the other subject. While knocking on the front door, Lieutenant Futch saw fresh deer hair and blood on the porch. After obtaining consent from the homeowner to inspect the property, he discovered the deer was cleaned in a nearby shed. Lieutenant Futch followed sign from the shed into the nearby woods where he discovered the deer carcass. After interviews with the suspects, they admitted to taking the deer at night and provided the officers with the antlers. Officers will be direct-filing charges for trespassing and for taking deer out of season.

Lieutenant Futch was on patrol in the Jena WMA when he came upon a disabled vehicle and three subjects. While speaking with the subjects, he saw several palmetto berries laying on the ground around the vehicle. The subjects admitted to picking palmetto berries in the WMA. Lieutenant Futch saw footprints leading into the woods from the vehicle and asked the subjects if they hid palmetto berries nearby. One of the subjects indicated they did and went into the bushes. Moments later, the subject returned with a large garbage can with palmetto berries inside. The subjects were issued a notice to appear for removing palmetto berries from a WMA.

Lieutenant Futch and Officer Allen were patrolling the Steinhatchee WMA when they saw a vehicle pull off the roadway and was partially concealed. They contacted the driver and saw several bags of palmetto berries in the back of the vehicle. After speaking with the subject, they discovered there were two more suspects helping him remove the palmetto berries. The subject contacted the others and they returned to the truck minutes later. All three subjects were issued a notice to appear for removing palmetto berries from a WMA.

GILCHRIST COUNTY

Officer Wiggins and Investigator Ayers received information of people illegally entering and camping on Suwannee River Water Management District lands in Gilchrist County. The officers arrived on the scene and followed fresh tire sign to a camp located near the Santa Fe River. Following a brief interview, the officers determined the subject was not authorized to enter the area by vehicle although the subject has a valid camping permit. The subject was issued the appropriate citations for the violations.

Officer Wiggins and Investigator Ayers worked several cases over the past few weeks in Dixie and Gilchrist counties for illegal dumping. All the investigations were successful and the officers issued numerous misdemeanor citations for unlawful dumping on private property.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Officer Wilder received information that an individual had killed a seven-point buck in velvet in the early morning hours of that day. Officers Albritton, Butler and Allan met with Officer Wilder in Steinhatchee. The officers began investigating the complaint and found the suspect. Upon inspection, the officers saw fresh deer hair and blood in the suspect’s truck. During questioning, the subject admitted to killing the deer at 2:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. The officers retrieved the deer, antlers and firearm used to kill the deer. Officer Wilder will be direct-filing all appropriate charges.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ALACHUA COUNTY

FWC officers are patrolling area lakes and waterways for boating and resource compliance as well as alligator hunting compliance.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officer Mims attended a “Rad Kids Event” at the University of Florida. Officer Mims displayed a baby alligator and spoke to the children about the responsibilities of an FWC officer.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Eller received numerous complaints from recreational and commercial fishermen about an individual who was stealing blue crab traps and their crabs on the Banana River in Merritt Island. A decoy operation was conducted to catch the suspect. Using several decoy blue crab traps, Officer Eller and Lieutenant Bonds hid deep within the mangroves and filmed the violator stealing the decoy traps and the blue crabs inside those traps. Lieutenant Davis and Officer Humphrey were called to assist with their marked vessel and conducted a vessel stop. The commercial fisherman was arrested and transported to a nearby boat ramp for questioning. Once at the boat ramp, Officer Eller interviewed the fisherman and documented the evidence. The violator admitted to having stolen the traps and cutting one of the buoy lines, and replacing it with his own buoy before putting it back in the river. A resource inspection of the violator’s vessel also revealed stone crabs which were in whole condition, some egg bearing, and numerous other violations. The violator was taken to the Brevard County Jail where he was cited with one felony and 11 misdemeanors.

Officer Hallsten was conducting fisheries inspections at Haulover Canal when he checked one subject with five undersized mangrove snapper. The subject was issued a citation for possession of undersized mangrove snapper.

Officer Hallsten was conducting foot patrol at Haulover Canal when he was informed by a concerned citizen that two subjects had been keeping undersized black drum. He quickly intercepted the suspects and conducted a fisheries inspection. The inspection revealed two undersized black drum and one undersized redfish. The appropriate citations were issued.

Officer Lejarzar was conducting fisheries inspections in Port Canaveral when he saw a vessel that was equipped with fishing gear and appeared to be returning to the boat ramp. The vessel began operating suspiciously once they noticed Officer Lejarzar’s vessel. A fisheries inspection was conducted and Officer Lejarzar discovered 11 undersized mangrove snapper and one undersized sheephead. The fish were seized and Officer Lejarzar issued the appropriate citations.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officers Edson and Sapp were on late-night vessel patrol targeting alligator hunting violations when they located free-floating buoys baited with beef lung. After watching the area for a while, a vessel approached and checked the buoys. The officers made a vessel stop and issued a criminal citation for attempting to take alligator by illegal method.

Over the past several days, Officer Bertolami has inspected several subjects on boats and from the shoreline. On six separate stops, six adult males were found to be in possession of either over the bag limit of mangrove snapper, undersized mangrove snapper, red drum slot size violations and possession of under the size limit spiny lobster. All were issued the appropriate criminal notices to appear.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Lieutenant Frantz received information about a subject fishing on Boca Grande Fishing Pier who had taken an undersized grouper and placed it in a bucket under a cast net. He located the fisherman and undersized red grouper which was still alive. Lieutenant Frantz measured the grouper and found it to be four inches undersized. The fisherman was issued one citation and the grouper was returned to the water alive.

HERNANDO COUNTY

Officer Balfour was on land patrol when he saw what he thought was a disabled vehicle on the side of the road. He stopped to conduct a welfare check and noticed the individuals were in the wood line. When he asked them what they were doing, he learned they had been picking saw palmetto berries. Officer Balfour also learned that one of the individuals was trying to hide from him because he had an active warrant. Officer Balfour arrested the subject and transported him to the Hernando County Jail.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Winton was on land patrol when he saw a vehicle failing to maintain its lane. During a traffic stop on the vehicle, he noticed that the driver exhibited signs of impairment. Field sobriety tasks were conducted, and it was determined that the subject was driving a motor vehicle while his normal facilities were impaired, as well as driving a motor vehicle without a valid license. The subject was arrested and transported to the Lee County Jail where it was determined that his BAL was .130, well above the legal limit of .08. Officer Thompson also responded and assisted with the investigation.

Officer Winton responded to Blind Pass to investigate information reported that individuals were possibly taking illegal snook. Officer Winton conducted surveillance on the area and located a group of fishermen who had been fishing underneath the bridge. During a resource inspection, two undersized and out-of-season snook were discovered. A resource citation/notice to appear was issued to the individual possessing the snook, and several other resource citations and warnings were issued to other members of the group for failure to have a saltwater fishing license.

Officers Hardgrove and Thompson were patrolling Charlotte Harbor just north of Bokeelia very late at night when they saw a commercial net fishing boat operating near their location. They watched the boat for several minutes as it traveled around a large sandbar which usually holds schools of pompano. The vessel displayed a small spotlight on the water and circled the sandbar, apparently looking for fish, then shut down for a few minutes. The fisherman then shined the light at the officers, started up his boat, and tried to head the other direction. However, the fisherman inadvertently pulled his kill switch on the boat which allowed the officers to quickly close on him and conduct a stop. The officers found a 400-yard-long monofilament gill net on the back of the boat, ready to be deployed. The fisherman was arrested and the boat and net were seized as evidence.

Officer Hardgrove was conducting vessel inspections at a local boat ramp when he stopped a commercial net fishing boat. The fisherman had several species of fish on board and claimed to have caught them in two, unconnected, legal seine nets. However, when Officer Hardgrove began inspecting the nets, he found that these “two legal nets” were four illegal nets that had been joined together. Instead of fishing with two separate 500 square foot nets, the fisherman had used one large 2,200 square foot net. The size of the net dictates that this was a flagrant fisheries violation. The fisherman was arrested and faces severe penalties.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Davidson received a complaint of a disturbance on a vessel in the Cortez area. When Officer Davidson arrived on the scene, it became quickly apparent to him that the operator of the vessel might be BUI. Officer Davidson performed an investigation to determine the level of impairment of the operator, and when his investigation was concluded the operator was placed under arrest for BUI. She was booked into the Manatee County Jail.

Officer Hinds and Lieutenant Hinds IV were on land patrol around the South Skyway Bridge. They watched two men spearfishing around the base of the South Skyway Fishing Pier and then saw the two men loading up their truck to go home. A fisheries inspection revealed that the men had speared one 7-inch gag grouper, several undersized sheepshead and collected stone crab claws out of season. The men were given criminal citations for possession of undersized gag grouper and sheepshead, and a citation for possession of stone crab claws out of season. The men must appear in court for their violations.

PASCO COUNTY

Lieutenant Parisoe conducted an Individual Fish Quota (IFQ) off-load inspection of a vessel that had returned from commercial harvest of reef fish species. During the inspection, several undersized fish were located. A total of four undersized hogfish and two undersized red grouper were harvested by the fishermen. Lieutenant Parisoe seized the fish and issued a citation and warning for the violations.

Lieutenant Parisoe responded to a complaint of an individual that had placed bucket traps for gopher tortoises. When he arrived, he spoke with the individual who admitted to placing the traps. The individual also agreed to show Lieutenant Parisoe where the traps were placed. Lieutenant Parisoe educated the individual on the laws pertaining to the gopher tortoise and their burrows. He also issued a warning for attempting to take a gopher tortoise.

Officers Cocke, Hughes and members from Pasco County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Anclote Sandbar to investigate a fight between two subjects. When they arrived, they were directed to an inebriated subject who started the fight. During the investigation, the officers developed enough information to charge the subject with battery. The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office removed the inebriated subject from the area.

POLK COUNTY

Investigator Ervin followed up on a complaint of a subject who was seen shooting a five-foot American alligator in Haines City. During an interview, the subject was advised of his Miranda warnings and admitted to killing the alligator. He also stated that he took the alligator home, filleted the tail, buried the carcass and placed the meat into a freezer. The subject provided Investigator Ervin with the illegal alligator meat that was located inside his freezer. The subject was issued a criminal notice to appear for possession of an American alligator, or any part thereof, without a permit.

Officers Carter and Young were patrolling a section of property adjacent to Tenoroc Fish Management Area when they saw several vehicles being operated inside the area. They approached one of the trucks, and found two individuals that did not have permission from the land owner to be on the property. Officer Carter saw the subjects had firearms in the vehicle. A check of the individuals found one had provided a false name and was a convicted felon. The officers arrested both subjects. Both were charged with felony trespass and one was also charged with providing a false name to law enforcement and possession of firearm by a convicted felon.

SARASOTA COUNTY

While on land patrol around the Blackburn Point Bridge, Officer Brown performed a fisheries inspection on a vessel returning from a day of fishing. During his inspection, he found that the captain of the vessel had caught and kept several undersized red grouper. The captain was given a criminal citation for possession of undersized red grouper and must appear in court for his violation.

Officer Hinds and Lieutenant Hinds IV were on land patrol around the Centennial Boat Ramp. While on patrol, they were performing boating safety and fisheries inspections on vessels returning to the ramp. During an inspection on one vessel, the two officers found that the captain had caught and kept one 29-inch amberjack, well under the minimum 34 inches needed for possession. Furthermore, the captain was informed that amberjack was currently closed for harvest. The subject was given one criminal citation for possession of amberjack out of season and one written warning for undersized amberjack. He must appear in court for his violation.

Officer Hertel was on patrol in south Sarasota County when he was approached by a passerby that a subject was operating a vessel in a careless manner in the Venice Inlet. In the area, he saw a subject operating a pontoon boat with no navigation lights. The subject almost struck the rocks in the jetty several times. During a vessel stop, it appeared the subject was impaired. When the subject could not successfully perform the standardized field sobriety tasks and refused to give a breath sample, he was booked into the Sarasota County Jail.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
LEE COUNTY

Officers Price and Winton conducted a speed enforcement detail in the Alico Road and Corkscrew Road panther protection zones. During the detail, numerous warnings and citations were issued for speed-related offenses, and drivers were educated about the panther protection area. The maximum speed recorded was 88 mph in a posted 45 mph zone. Additionally, the officers issued a criminal notice to appear for possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Lieutenant Wells and Officers Bergwerff, Hughes, and Alvis conducted a two-day outreach at the 147th Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society at the Tampa Convention Center. The officers conducted tours of the 85-foot offshore patrol vessel Gulf Sentry. Additionally, the officers interacted and educated numerous personnel from universities, other state fish and wildlife agencies, federal partners and personnel from other countries. Some of the topics the officers discussed were the capabilities of FWC’s Offshore Program and FWC’s core missions.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Toby saw an individual fishing on the Lake Okeechobee Levee at Canal Point and conducted a fisheries inspection. The individual was in possession of two undersized black crappie. The individual had a measuring device, but was not using it and was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of two undersized black crappie.

Officer Hankinson responded to a report of an individual who appeared to be mentally unstable in the J. W. Corbett WMA. The subject was transported to a local hospital for a mental evaluation and subsequently taken to a mental health facility. Since the subject had an active warrant, he will be booked and transported to the Palm Beach County Jail once he is released from the mental health facility,

GLADES COUNTY

Lieutenant Brown was working the statewide alligator hunt when he conducted a resource and permit check on the operator of an airboat participating in the hunt. The airboat had two 8-foot alligators on board. A check of the permit revealed that the permit was for the second phase hunt; however, the alligators were harvested during the first phase. It was also a paid hunt requiring a guide. The permit holder received a notice to appear for harvesting American alligators outside of the permitted time and the guide received a notice to appear for principal in the first degree.

HENDRY COUNTY

Officer Brodbeck was conducting resource inspections at the Labelle Boat Ramp late at night. He saw a male who was in possession of a cast net and actively fishing with several fishing rods. A female approached the officer and inquired about fishing regulations. Officer Brodbeck also saw a vehicle in the parking lot that had an expired Florida temporary tag. The officer parked his patrol vehicle to observe the subjects and the vehicle. A traffic stop was conducted to address the tag violation. The vehicle fled a short distance before stopping behind a convenience store. The driver of the vehicle, identified later as having several active warrants out of Florida, fled on foot into a heavily wooded area. Officer Brodbeck requested backup and a K-9 unit from the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office. They searched the vehicle and found the driver’s license of the subject who fled. The female who was encountered earlier consented to a search of her purse, which contained methamphetamine and paraphernalia, and she was subsequently arrested by the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office. The K-9 was unable to locate the subject who fled. Officer Brodbeck will follow up with the state attorney’s office regarding further charges.

MARTIN COUNTY


While conducting land patrol in the John C. and Mariana Jones/Hungryland Wildlife Environmental Area (WEA), Officer Morrow located a vehicle partially obstructing the roadway. While exiting her patrol vehicle, she heard rustling noises coming from the saw palmetto thicket nearby. Two subjects were actively engaged in removing saw palmetto berries. Upon questioning, one defendant repeatedly advised that she was simply attempting to gather enough berries to “make a pie.” Upon further inspection of the woods and the vehicle’s interior, Officers Webb and Morrow located approximately 100 pounds of saw palmetto berries in various bags and containers. Both subjects were issued misdemeanor citations for the removal of saw palmetto berries from a WEA. The illegal berries were then seized and returned to the resource.

While conducting saltwater fisheries inspections at the Jensen Beach Causeway, Officer Morrow encountered two subjects who were actively fishing. When he asked what kind of fish were in their cooler, one subject answered “a croaker.” Upon inspecting the fish, a 12” black drum was located. The subject was then educated on how to differentiate between the characteristics of the two fish and issued a warning for possession of the undersized fish, and the illegal fish was returned to the resource.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Piekenbrock and Rubenstein were on water patrol near Bahia Honda State Park and watched individuals catching what appeared to be undersize lobster. Upon inspection of their catch, one individual claimed to have caught all 13 lobster, and was also in possession of a Bahamian Star fish. She was cited for over the limit of lobster, 10 undersized lobster and the Bahamian starfish.

Officers Rubenstein and Piekenbrock were on water patrol Oceanside of Seven-mile Bridge in Marathon and saw several individuals lobstering out of kayaks on the flats. After approaching the individuals, one of them handed over a bag of undersized lobster and out-of-season stone crab claws. The individual was cited for 2 undersized lobster, and out-of-season stone crab claws

Officer Rubenstein watched a diver harvesting lobster alongside US-1 at a popular spot in Duck Key. While the individual was getting out of the water, Officer Rubenstein approached the individual to conduct an inspection of his catch. He was in possession of 13 spiny lobster, 7 over the limit. There was another individual on shore who had not participated and did not have a bathing suit, dive gear or lobster harvesting tools. The individual stated he had brought her along to catch her limit as well but she didn’t want to get in the water. The individual was cited for over the limit of spiny lobster.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Rubenstein, Martino and Wagner, along with members from the Loggerhead Marine Research group in Hobe Sound, assisted with the release of “Burt Reynolds,” the Ridley turtle who was rescued from a net entanglement months prior.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROL
MONROE COUNTY

The FWC offshore patrol vessel Interceptor was south of Key West with FWC Officers J. Richards, J. Foell, S. Smith, NOAA Officers M. Robb, and W. Widener near the Eastern Sambos when they saw a commercial lobster trap boat actively pulling traps. Officers Foell and Smith boarded the vessel for a marine fisheries inspection. Once on board, they saw several traps. Six of the traps on board did not have the required trap tags attached. The officers then asked the owner/operator of the boat if he would continue to pull traps while they checked the tags on the traps in the water. After 4 hours of the captain pulling his traps, a total of 29 traps did not have the proper tags attached. Other violations noted were improper permanent markings and improper buoy markings. The traps were seized and the defendant was transported to the Monroe County Detention Center.

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NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

Officer N. Basford was patrolling Camp Helen State Park and checking compliance for visitors paying to enter the park. There was only one vehicle in the parking lot that did not display an appropriate pay stub for park entry. Officer Basford saw a subject return to the vehicle and proceed to exit the park. After a stop on the vehicle, a check on the driver revealed that his driver’s license was suspended and that he had received notification of such. He was issued a warning for entering the park without paying and was taken to jail for knowingly driving while license suspended or revoked.

ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officers Roberson, Hoomes and Pettey worked a detail on Pensacola Beach checking fishermen. One subject was seen with two redfish and was issued a citation for over the daily bag limit of redfish. Officer Pettey located another individual who was in possession of 18 Spanish mackerel. The subject was issued a citation for over the bag limit of Spanish mackerel.

Officer Pettey followed up on a deer case he made earlier this month. After meeting with the state attorney’s office, warrants were obtained for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and willful waste of wildlife. The case involved an individual who poached a deer then left it on his front porch where it spoiled in the heat for approximately 16 hours.

Officer Manning responded to a call to assist the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. An individual who was arrested for child endangerment also had an alligator in his possession. The individual had constructed a special room in his home for the alligator to live. While interviewing the subject at the jail, he admitted catching the alligator and keeping it as a pet. Officer Manning seized the alligator and charged the subject with three criminal violations.

Officers Roberson and Mullins received a call of an oversized redfish at the Bob Sikes fishing pier. The officers arrived and located a subject who had a redfish which was measured at 37 inches, 10 inches over the maximum legal length for redfish. The subject was issued a citation for possession of oversized redfish. The fish was seized as evidence.

JACKSON COUNTY

Officers conducted a detail targeting the opening week of the alligator hunting season. On the opening night, Officers Baber and Hayes checked a hunter who was actively hunting. The inspection of his permit revealed that he was hunting during phase one, with a phase three permit. The hunter was cited for attempting to take alligator during the wrong harvest period.

Lieutenant B. Allen, Officers Forehand, Little and Hayes were checking alligator hunters on Lake Seminole. They conducted surveillance on a hunter who was actively hunting and during a resource inspection, they found an alligator that had not been tagged. Inspection of the hunter’s permit showed that he was hunting out of his assigned area. The officers noticed spent .22 caliber casings inside the hunter’s vessel. After an interview, the hunter admitted to killing the alligator with a pistol. The hunter was subsequently charged with taking alligator outside of his permitted area, failure to attach CITES tag to an alligator and taking alligator by an illegal method.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer J. Rockwell was on land patrol in Blackwater Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when he saw a Jeep traveling at a high rate of speed. He conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and discovered that the license plate did not match the vehicle. Additionally, the driver advised Officer Rockwell that he was driving on a suspended driver’s license. The subject was charged with knowingly driving on a suspended license and attaching a tag not assigned.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Nichols, Wilkenson and Lieutenant Clark teamed up with FWC Bear Management personnel to conduct bear canvassing efforts. The community/neighborhood targeted had a recent human/bear encounter. The effort was centered on making homeowners and the community aware of the law and their responsibilities in securing food attractants (unsecured garbage cans) in prevention of human and bear encounters. The canvas resulted in 157 houses visited with almost 100% direct contact with the homeowners. Two homeowners were issued non-compliance letters for unsecured garbage cans.

Officer Jarvis responded to a bear complaint in Mary Esther. The complaint centered on a bear that knocked over a garbage can. The officer arrived on the scene and could not locate the bear. The garbage can that had been knocked over had household garbage spread out on the lawn of a residence. The homeowner was identified and was issued a non-compliance letter.

RESCUES
SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer J. Rockwell received a call from FWC Dispatch advising that two girls had not returned from a short tubing trip on Cold Water Creek. Officers Lugg and Land also responded to the call. In a joint effort with Santa Rosa County deputies and Santa Rosa Fire Rescue, they located the girls and returned them to their mother.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers Troiano and Reith were working a late-night shift during the opening of the alligator season near Lochloosa Lake when they located several individuals hunting. The two officers waited until the subjects returned to the boat ramp. From a concealed location, the officers saw a vessel approaching the ramp. After the subject loaded his vessel, the officers identified themselves. The suspect was hunting out of an assigned area and the officers found an untagged alligator on the vessel. Two citations were issued.

DIXIE COUNTY

Lieutenant Futch was on land patrol in the early morning hours when he saw an off-road vehicle driving at a high rate of speed on a public roadway. During the subsequent traffic stop, a strong smell of alcohol was observed and the operator displayed several signs of impairment. Following field sobriety tasks, the subject was arrested for operating a motor vehicle while being impaired. At the jail, the subject submitted to a breath test that yielded .200 and .193 BAL.

Lieutenant Futch received information that a homeowner found a dead deer in his back yard. On the scene, it was determined the deer had been shot with a shotgun. The officer back-tracked the deer to the neighbor’s property where a garden was planted. Lieutenant Futch contacted K-9 Officer Wiggins to assist in the investigation. The officers trailed the deer into the garden and found a shotgun wadding. The wadding was between the back porch and the location where it appeared the deer had been shot. After speaking with the suspect, the officers decided that charges will be direct-filed with the state attorney’s office for taking deer out of season.

FWC officers began an investigation after receiving information of an 8-point buck deer being killed in the early morning hours. Officers Allen and Cooper contacted one of the suspects at a nearby residence. While speaking with one of the suspects, the officers saw fresh blood on his vehicle. Additionally, they saw drag marks across the yard leading to a cooler. The officers saw fresh blood on the cooler and asked what was inside. One of the subjects opened the cooler to reveal a freshly butchered deer. Lieutenant Futch then went to another residence to contact the other subject. While knocking on the front door, Lieutenant Futch saw fresh deer hair and blood on the porch. After obtaining consent from the homeowner to inspect the property, he discovered the deer was cleaned in a nearby shed. Lieutenant Futch followed sign from the shed into the nearby woods where he discovered the deer carcass. After interviews with the suspects, they admitted to taking the deer at night and provided the officers with the antlers. Officers will be direct-filing charges for trespassing and for taking deer out of season.

Lieutenant Futch was on patrol in the Jena WMA when he came upon a disabled vehicle and three subjects. While speaking with the subjects, he saw several palmetto berries laying on the ground around the vehicle. The subjects admitted to picking palmetto berries in the WMA. Lieutenant Futch saw footprints leading into the woods from the vehicle and asked the subjects if they hid palmetto berries nearby. One of the subjects indicated they did and went into the bushes. Moments later, the subject returned with a large garbage can with palmetto berries inside. The subjects were issued a notice to appear for removing palmetto berries from a WMA.

Lieutenant Futch and Officer Allen were patrolling the Steinhatchee WMA when they saw a vehicle pull off the roadway and was partially concealed. They contacted the driver and saw several bags of palmetto berries in the back of the vehicle. After speaking with the subject, they discovered there were two more suspects helping him remove the palmetto berries. The subject contacted the others and they returned to the truck minutes later. All three subjects were issued a notice to appear for removing palmetto berries from a WMA.

GILCHRIST COUNTY

Officer Wiggins and Investigator Ayers received information of people illegally entering and camping on Suwannee River Water Management District lands in Gilchrist County. The officers arrived on the scene and followed fresh tire sign to a camp located near the Santa Fe River. Following a brief interview, the officers determined the subject was not authorized to enter the area by vehicle although the subject has a valid camping permit. The subject was issued the appropriate citations for the violations.

Officer Wiggins and Investigator Ayers worked several cases over the past few weeks in Dixie and Gilchrist counties for illegal dumping. All the investigations were successful and the officers issued numerous misdemeanor citations for unlawful dumping on private property.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Officer Wilder received information that an individual had killed a seven-point buck in velvet in the early morning hours of that day. Officers Albritton, Butler and Allan met with Officer Wilder in Steinhatchee. The officers began investigating the complaint and found the suspect. Upon inspection, the officers saw fresh deer hair and blood in the suspect’s truck. During questioning, the subject admitted to killing the deer at 2:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. The officers retrieved the deer, antlers and firearm used to kill the deer. Officer Wilder will be direct-filing all appropriate charges.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ALACHUA COUNTY

FWC officers are patrolling area lakes and waterways for boating and resource compliance as well as alligator hunting compliance.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officer Mims attended a “Rad Kids Event” at the University of Florida. Officer Mims displayed a baby alligator and spoke to the children about the responsibilities of an FWC officer.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Eller received numerous complaints from recreational and commercial fishermen about an individual who was stealing blue crab traps and their crabs on the Banana River in Merritt Island. A decoy operation was conducted to catch the suspect. Using several decoy blue crab traps, Officer Eller and Lieutenant Bonds hid deep within the mangroves and filmed the violator stealing the decoy traps and the blue crabs inside those traps. Lieutenant Davis and Officer Humphrey were called to assist with their marked vessel and conducted a vessel stop. The commercial fisherman was arrested and transported to a nearby boat ramp for questioning. Once at the boat ramp, Officer Eller interviewed the fisherman and documented the evidence. The violator admitted to having stolen the traps and cutting one of the buoy lines, and replacing it with his own buoy before putting it back in the river. A resource inspection of the violator’s vessel also revealed stone crabs which were in whole condition, some egg bearing, and numerous other violations. The violator was taken to the Brevard County Jail where he was cited with one felony and 11 misdemeanors.

Officer Hallsten was conducting fisheries inspections at Haulover Canal when he checked one subject with five undersized mangrove snapper. The subject was issued a citation for possession of undersized mangrove snapper.

Officer Hallsten was conducting foot patrol at Haulover Canal when he was informed by a concerned citizen that two subjects had been keeping undersized black drum. He quickly intercepted the suspects and conducted a fisheries inspection. The inspection revealed two undersized black drum and one undersized redfish. The appropriate citations were issued.

Officer Lejarzar was conducting fisheries inspections in Port Canaveral when he saw a vessel that was equipped with fishing gear and appeared to be returning to the boat ramp. The vessel began operating suspiciously once they noticed Officer Lejarzar’s vessel. A fisheries inspection was conducted and Officer Lejarzar discovered 11 undersized mangrove snapper and one undersized sheephead. The fish were seized and Officer Lejarzar issued the appropriate citations.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officers Edson and Sapp were on late-night vessel patrol targeting alligator hunting violations when they located free-floating buoys baited with beef lung. After watching the area for a while, a vessel approached and checked the buoys. The officers made a vessel stop and issued a criminal citation for attempting to take alligator by illegal method.

Over the past several days, Officer Bertolami has inspected several subjects on boats and from the shoreline. On six separate stops, six adult males were found to be in possession of either over the bag limit of mangrove snapper, undersized mangrove snapper, red drum slot size violations and possession of under the size limit spiny lobster. All were issued the appropriate criminal notices to appear.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Lieutenant Frantz received information about a subject fishing on Boca Grande Fishing Pier who had taken an undersized grouper and placed it in a bucket under a cast net. He located the fisherman and undersized red grouper which was still alive. Lieutenant Frantz measured the grouper and found it to be four inches undersized. The fisherman was issued one citation and the grouper was returned to the water alive.

HERNANDO COUNTY

Officer Balfour was on land patrol when he saw what he thought was a disabled vehicle on the side of the road. He stopped to conduct a welfare check and noticed the individuals were in the wood line. When he asked them what they were doing, he learned they had been picking saw palmetto berries. Officer Balfour also learned that one of the individuals was trying to hide from him because he had an active warrant. Officer Balfour arrested the subject and transported him to the Hernando County Jail.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Winton was on land patrol when he saw a vehicle failing to maintain its lane. During a traffic stop on the vehicle, he noticed that the driver exhibited signs of impairment. Field sobriety tasks were conducted, and it was determined that the subject was driving a motor vehicle while his normal facilities were impaired, as well as driving a motor vehicle without a valid license. The subject was arrested and transported to the Lee County Jail where it was determined that his BAL was .130, well above the legal limit of .08. Officer Thompson also responded and assisted with the investigation.

Officer Winton responded to Blind Pass to investigate information reported that individuals were possibly taking illegal snook. Officer Winton conducted surveillance on the area and located a group of fishermen who had been fishing underneath the bridge. During a resource inspection, two undersized and out-of-season snook were discovered. A resource citation/notice to appear was issued to the individual possessing the snook, and several other resource citations and warnings were issued to other members of the group for failure to have a saltwater fishing license.

Officers Hardgrove and Thompson were patrolling Charlotte Harbor just north of Bokeelia very late at night when they saw a commercial net fishing boat operating near their location. They watched the boat for several minutes as it traveled around a large sandbar which usually holds schools of pompano. The vessel displayed a small spotlight on the water and circled the sandbar, apparently looking for fish, then shut down for a few minutes. The fisherman then shined the light at the officers, started up his boat, and tried to head the other direction. However, the fisherman inadvertently pulled his kill switch on the boat which allowed the officers to quickly close on him and conduct a stop. The officers found a 400-yard-long monofilament gill net on the back of the boat, ready to be deployed. The fisherman was arrested and the boat and net were seized as evidence.

Officer Hardgrove was conducting vessel inspections at a local boat ramp when he stopped a commercial net fishing boat. The fisherman had several species of fish on board and claimed to have caught them in two, unconnected, legal seine nets. However, when Officer Hardgrove began inspecting the nets, he found that these “two legal nets” were four illegal nets that had been joined together. Instead of fishing with two separate 500 square foot nets, the fisherman had used one large 2,200 square foot net. The size of the net dictates that this was a flagrant fisheries violation. The fisherman was arrested and faces severe penalties.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Davidson received a complaint of a disturbance on a vessel in the Cortez area. When Officer Davidson arrived on the scene, it became quickly apparent to him that the operator of the vessel might be BUI. Officer Davidson performed an investigation to determine the level of impairment of the operator, and when his investigation was concluded the operator was placed under arrest for BUI. She was booked into the Manatee County Jail.

Officer Hinds and Lieutenant Hinds IV were on land patrol around the South Skyway Bridge. They watched two men spearfishing around the base of the South Skyway Fishing Pier and then saw the two men loading up their truck to go home. A fisheries inspection revealed that the men had speared one 7-inch gag grouper, several undersized sheepshead and collected stone crab claws out of season. The men were given criminal citations for possession of undersized gag grouper and sheepshead, and a citation for possession of stone crab claws out of season. The men must appear in court for their violations.

PASCO COUNTY

Lieutenant Parisoe conducted an Individual Fish Quota (IFQ) off-load inspection of a vessel that had returned from commercial harvest of reef fish species. During the inspection, several undersized fish were located. A total of four undersized hogfish and two undersized red grouper were harvested by the fishermen. Lieutenant Parisoe seized the fish and issued a citation and warning for the violations.

Lieutenant Parisoe responded to a complaint of an individual that had placed bucket traps for gopher tortoises. When he arrived, he spoke with the individual who admitted to placing the traps. The individual also agreed to show Lieutenant Parisoe where the traps were placed. Lieutenant Parisoe educated the individual on the laws pertaining to the gopher tortoise and their burrows. He also issued a warning for attempting to take a gopher tortoise.

Officers Cocke, Hughes and members from Pasco County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Anclote Sandbar to investigate a fight between two subjects. When they arrived, they were directed to an inebriated subject who started the fight. During the investigation, the officers developed enough information to charge the subject with battery. The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office removed the inebriated subject from the area.

POLK COUNTY

Investigator Ervin followed up on a complaint of a subject who was seen shooting a five-foot American alligator in Haines City. During an interview, the subject was advised of his Miranda warnings and admitted to killing the alligator. He also stated that he took the alligator home, filleted the tail, buried the carcass and placed the meat into a freezer. The subject provided Investigator Ervin with the illegal alligator meat that was located inside his freezer. The subject was issued a criminal notice to appear for possession of an American alligator, or any part thereof, without a permit.

Officers Carter and Young were patrolling a section of property adjacent to Tenoroc Fish Management Area when they saw several vehicles being operated inside the area. They approached one of the trucks, and found two individuals that did not have permission from the land owner to be on the property. Officer Carter saw the subjects had firearms in the vehicle. A check of the individuals found one had provided a false name and was a convicted felon. The officers arrested both subjects. Both were charged with felony trespass and one was also charged with providing a false name to law enforcement and possession of firearm by a convicted felon.

SARASOTA COUNTY

While on land patrol around the Blackburn Point Bridge, Officer Brown performed a fisheries inspection on a vessel returning from a day of fishing. During his inspection, he found that the captain of the vessel had caught and kept several undersized red grouper. The captain was given a criminal citation for possession of undersized red grouper and must appear in court for his violation.

Officer Hinds and Lieutenant Hinds IV were on land patrol around the Centennial Boat Ramp. While on patrol, they were performing boating safety and fisheries inspections on vessels returning to the ramp. During an inspection on one vessel, the two officers found that the captain had caught and kept one 29-inch amberjack, well under the minimum 34 inches needed for possession. Furthermore, the captain was informed that amberjack was currently closed for harvest. The subject was given one criminal citation for possession of amberjack out of season and one written warning for undersized amberjack. He must appear in court for his violation.

Officer Hertel was on patrol in south Sarasota County when he was approached by a passerby that a subject was operating a vessel in a careless manner in the Venice Inlet. In the area, he saw a subject operating a pontoon boat with no navigation lights. The subject almost struck the rocks in the jetty several times. During a vessel stop, it appeared the subject was impaired. When the subject could not successfully perform the standardized field sobriety tasks and refused to give a breath sample, he was booked into the Sarasota County Jail.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
LEE COUNTY

Officers Price and Winton conducted a speed enforcement detail in the Alico Road and Corkscrew Road panther protection zones. During the detail, numerous warnings and citations were issued for speed-related offenses, and drivers were educated about the panther protection area. The maximum speed recorded was 88 mph in a posted 45 mph zone. Additionally, the officers issued a criminal notice to appear for possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Lieutenant Wells and Officers Bergwerff, Hughes, and Alvis conducted a two-day outreach at the 147th Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society at the Tampa Convention Center. The officers conducted tours of the 85-foot offshore patrol vessel Gulf Sentry. Additionally, the officers interacted and educated numerous personnel from universities, other state fish and wildlife agencies, federal partners and personnel from other countries. Some of the topics the officers discussed were the capabilities of FWC’s Offshore Program and FWC’s core missions.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Toby saw an individual fishing on the Lake Okeechobee Levee at Canal Point and conducted a fisheries inspection. The individual was in possession of two undersized black crappie. The individual had a measuring device, but was not using it and was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of two undersized black crappie.

Officer Hankinson responded to a report of an individual who appeared to be mentally unstable in the J. W. Corbett WMA. The subject was transported to a local hospital for a mental evaluation and subsequently taken to a mental health facility. Since the subject had an active warrant, he will be booked and transported to the Palm Beach County Jail once he is released from the mental health facility,

GLADES COUNTY

Lieutenant Brown was working the statewide alligator hunt when he conducted a resource and permit check on the operator of an airboat participating in the hunt. The airboat had two 8-foot alligators on board. A check of the permit revealed that the permit was for the second phase hunt; however, the alligators were harvested during the first phase. It was also a paid hunt requiring a guide. The permit holder received a notice to appear for harvesting American alligators outside of the permitted time and the guide received a notice to appear for principal in the first degree.

HENDRY COUNTY

Officer Brodbeck was conducting resource inspections at the Labelle Boat Ramp late at night. He saw a male who was in possession of a cast net and actively fishing with several fishing rods. A female approached the officer and inquired about fishing regulations. Officer Brodbeck also saw a vehicle in the parking lot that had an expired Florida temporary tag. The officer parked his patrol vehicle to observe the subjects and the vehicle. A traffic stop was conducted to address the tag violation. The vehicle fled a short distance before stopping behind a convenience store. The driver of the vehicle, identified later as having several active warrants out of Florida, fled on foot into a heavily wooded area. Officer Brodbeck requested backup and a K-9 unit from the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office. They searched the vehicle and found the driver’s license of the subject who fled. The female who was encountered earlier consented to a search of her purse, which contained methamphetamine and paraphernalia, and she was subsequently arrested by the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office. The K-9 was unable to locate the subject who fled. Officer Brodbeck will follow up with the state attorney’s office regarding further charges.

MARTIN COUNTY


While conducting land patrol in the John C. and Mariana Jones/Hungryland Wildlife Environmental Area (WEA), Officer Morrow located a vehicle partially obstructing the roadway. While exiting her patrol vehicle, she heard rustling noises coming from the saw palmetto thicket nearby. Two subjects were actively engaged in removing saw palmetto berries. Upon questioning, one defendant repeatedly advised that she was simply attempting to gather enough berries to “make a pie.” Upon further inspection of the woods and the vehicle’s interior, Officers Webb and Morrow located approximately 100 pounds of saw palmetto berries in various bags and containers. Both subjects were issued misdemeanor citations for the removal of saw palmetto berries from a WEA. The illegal berries were then seized and returned to the resource.

While conducting saltwater fisheries inspections at the Jensen Beach Causeway, Officer Morrow encountered two subjects who were actively fishing. When he asked what kind of fish were in their cooler, one subject answered “a croaker.” Upon inspecting the fish, a 12” black drum was located. The subject was then educated on how to differentiate between the characteristics of the two fish and issued a warning for possession of the undersized fish, and the illegal fish was returned to the resource.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Piekenbrock and Rubenstein were on water patrol near Bahia Honda State Park and watched individuals catching what appeared to be undersize lobster. Upon inspection of their catch, one individual claimed to have caught all 13 lobster, and was also in possession of a Bahamian Star fish. She was cited for over the limit of lobster, 10 undersized lobster and the Bahamian starfish.

Officers Rubenstein and Piekenbrock were on water patrol Oceanside of Seven-mile Bridge in Marathon and saw several individuals lobstering out of kayaks on the flats. After approaching the individuals, one of them handed over a bag of undersized lobster and out-of-season stone crab claws. The individual was cited for 2 undersized lobster, and out-of-season stone crab claws

Officer Rubenstein watched a diver harvesting lobster alongside US-1 at a popular spot in Duck Key. While the individual was getting out of the water, Officer Rubenstein approached the individual to conduct an inspection of his catch. He was in possession of 13 spiny lobster, 7 over the limit. There was another individual on shore who had not participated and did not have a bathing suit, dive gear or lobster harvesting tools. The individual stated he had brought her along to catch her limit as well but she didn’t want to get in the water. The individual was cited for over the limit of spiny lobster.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Rubenstein, Martino and Wagner, along with members from the Loggerhead Marine Research group in Hobe Sound, assisted with the release of “Burt Reynolds,” the Ridley turtle who was rescued from a net entanglement months prior.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROL
MONROE COUNTY

The FWC offshore patrol vessel Interceptor was south of Key West with FWC Officers J. Richards, J. Foell, S. Smith, NOAA Officers M. Robb, and W. Widener near the Eastern Sambos when they saw a commercial lobster trap boat actively pulling traps. Officers Foell and Smith boarded the vessel for a marine fisheries inspection. Once on board, they saw several traps. Six of the traps on board did not have the required trap tags attached. The officers then asked the owner/operator of the boat if he would continue to pull traps while they checked the tags on the traps in the water. After 4 hours of the captain pulling his traps, a total of 29 traps did not have the proper tags attached. Other violations noted were improper permanent markings and improper buoy markings. The traps were seized and the defendant was transported to the Monroe County Detention Center.

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  FWC Enforcement Report August 11-17. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 08-22-2017, 07:59 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

The FWC Dispatch received a call from the St. Andrews State Park manager reporting that a subject in a gold Altima with Arizona license plates was driving erratically in the park. The suspect vehicle had also entered the park without paying the entrance fee. Officers were responding to the park when Communications advised the suspect vehicle exited the park driving westbound on Thomas Drive. Officer T. Basford located the vehicle driving erratically on Thomas Drive at a high rate of speed. He followed the vehicle and conducted a traffic stop. The driver appeared to be impaired and, after completing the standardized field sobriety tasks, was taken to the FWC office to provide a breath alcohol sample. Results of the breath tests were .108 and .102. A small dog was also in the vehicle and was turned over to Bay County Animal Control; the vehicle was towed. The driver was arrested and charged with DUI, open container and evasion of fees for entering the park without paying.

Officer N. Basford was patrolling St. Andrews Bay when FWC Dispatch notified her of a possible impaired boat operator that was underway from the St. Andrews Marina. They gave her a description of the vessel which she located within minutes. She stopped the vessel and the operator became agitated that she had stopped him and was showing signs of impairment. The operator initially agreed to do the field sobriety tasks and came on board the officer’s vessel. He completed the first task and then refused to do anymore. Officer N. Basford advised the operator that he was being arrested for BUI. At this point, the operator jumped back into his vessel, put his vessel in gear, and tried to pull away while both vessels were still tied together. The officer pointed her Taser at the operator and gave him verbal commands to stop his vessel and return to her vessel. He complied and was placed under arrest without further incident. The operator was then transported to the FWC office where he provided breath alcohol samples. The results were .222 and .213. The operator was arrested and charged with BUI with a breath alcohol level of .08 or greater and resisting arrest without violence.

ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Investigator Livesay and Officer Pettey were on patrol and focusing on illegal alligator hunting. They were investigating an illegal bait site in the Little Williams area of the Escambia River Wildlife Management Area (WMA). They checked three individuals with alligator hunting equipment out on the deck of their vessel. A resource inspection revealed the hunters were hunting out of their harvest area. The hunters were hunting in Escambia County with a Santa Rosa County permit. The permit holder was issued a misdemeanor citation for hunting out of his harvest area.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Corbin was on vessel patrol conducting state fisheries inspections in the East Pass. He saw a vessel returning from the Gulf of Mexico, with three individuals on board and displaying spearfishing equipment. The officer stopped the vessel and conducted a fisheries inspection. The inspection revealed 1 undersized red snapper and 2 undersized scamp. The passenger/harvester was issued a notice to appear citation for the undersized scamp and the owner was issued a written warning for undersized red snapper.

Officer Corbin was on land patrol conducting state fisheries inspections and license compliance in Shalimar. The officer saw several individuals actively fishing off the Shalimar Bridge. Two individuals appeared to be catching and placing undersized gray mangrove snapper in a small white bucket. Those two individuals packed and were exiting the bridge when Officer Corbin approached them. The fisheries inspection revealed 8 gray mangrove snapper, 7 of which were undersized. Both individuals were issued notice to appear citations for possession of undersized gray mangrove snapper.

Officers Corbin and Wilkenson were on vessel patrol conducting state fisheries inspections in the East Pass. The officers saw a vessel returning from the Gulf of Mexico displaying rods and reels. The officers stopped the vessel and conducted a fisheries inspection. The inspection revealed 22 red snapper, several grossly undersized, and 2 gray triggerfish. There were four occupants on the boat. Notice to appear citations were issued to all four individuals for possession of over the bag limit of undersized red snapper. A notice to appear citation was issued to the operator for possession of gray triggerfish out of season.

Officer Jarvis responded to a complaint of individuals harvesting undersized gray mangrove snapper at the East Jetty. The officer arrived at a public parking lot/access and saw three individuals returning carrying rods and reels and two buckets. The officer approached and asked the individuals if they caught any fish. One individual stated that they caught very little and the fish weren’t biting. The fisheries inspection of the two buckets revealed a total of 30 gray mangrove snapper, 24 of which were undersized. One individual took responsibility for harvesting all 30 of the gray mangrove snapper. The individual was issued a notice to appear citation for over the bag limit and undersized snapper. The 24 gray mangrove snapper were seized as evidence.

Officers Bartlett and Pifer were on vessel patrol near the Marler Bridge conducting boating safety inspections. The officers saw a PWC in violation of the idle speed/no wake zone eastside of Crab Island. The PWC made a turn causing the Jet Ski to flip over and eject all 3 occupants. The operator of the PWC was identified. Officer Bartlett noted that his speech was slightly slurred, his eyes were glassy/watery, and he had to repeat questions before he would respond. The operator admitted that he drank a few drinks. The operator agreed to and performed field sobriety tasks and, based on the operation of the PWC and indicators of impairment, the operator was arrested for BUI. The operator provided a breath sample of 0.166. The operator also had a 7 year-old and a 14 year-old on the PWC. The operator was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed.

Officer Nichols and Lieutenant Clark responded to Henderson Beach State Park regarding a traffic crash involving two vehicles. Upon arrival, two individuals were transported to the hospital. The vehicles involved were a day user/beach goer and a commercial vehicle providing water maintenance at the park. The officer determined the commercial truck improperly backed up, failing to yield right-of-way, striking the vehicle near the front passenger tire/door. The vehicle was severely damage requiring it to be towed. Both individuals transported to the hospital sustained no serious injuries. The driver of the commercial truck was issued a citation for improper backing.

Officer Maltais was informed of a boating accident that occurred the day before involving two PWC’s. Officer Maltais and Investigator Schafer gathered the necessary information to conduct a boating accident investigation. One operator suffered a broken right tibia (lower leg) at the ankle joint that will require surgery to repair and stabilize the shattered bone. One of the operators was issued a citation for violation of navigational rules for crossing situation and unsafe speed.

Officer Corbin was on land patrol conducting state fisheries inspections and license compliance at Meigs Beach in Shalimar. The officer saw a vehicle drive up to his location and an individual stepped out with fishing gear. The officer saw the individual engaged in fishing with a rod and reel. After some time passed, the individual returned to his vehicle. Officer Corbin encountered the individual who failed to produce a fishing license. While determining if the individual had a valid license, FWC Dispatch confirmed the individual had an active warrant for violation of probation. Further, the individual had a suspended driver’s license, and was found to be in possession of cannabis and paraphernalia. The individual was arrested and transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed.

Officers Corbin and Wilkenson were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections at Crab Island. The officers stopped a pontoon-style vessel to conduct a safety and resource inspection. The officers determined the pontoon was rented from an unknown livery vendor. The pontoon was delivered and received at Red Neck Beach. Officer Corbin contacted the livery business owner and arranged to meet him to conduct livery compliance. The livery owner failed to provide the required signage related to the safe operation of the pontoon. Further, the livery owner failed to transfer the vessel’s title to his name/business within 30 days of the bill of sale date.

Officer Corbin has been investigating an at-risk vessel in the Destin Harbor. The vessel appeared to be abandoned, and currently unregistered with no anchor light display at night. The officer received information from the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Destin in reference to the owner/operator. Officer Corbin determined the vessel’s hull identification number (HIN) had been removed. The officer completed/submitted an arrest affidavit against the owner of the vessel for the removed HIN. The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Marine Deputy saw the vessel owner on the boat and executed the warrant arrest.

Officers Maltais and Nichols were on vessel patrol responding to a reported boating accident involving two vessels from the Emerald Coast Poker Run. Officer Maltais determined one vessel was exiting while the other vessel was entering (slow rate of speed) at a designated check point. The collision caused only minor damage with no injuries.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
BAKER COUNTY

Officer Burnsed was investigating a hunting complaint on private property when he discovered numerous marijuana plants growing throughout the property. After photographing the illegal plants, a property search warrant was issued for searching the property to remove the illegal plants and for further search of illegal items. Captain Redmond, Lieutenant Huff, Officers Burnsed, Gill, Barber, McDonald, Shearer and Griffis went to serve the search warrant with the coordinated assistance of the Baker County Sheriff’s Office. Once the subject in question was detained by the Sheriff’s office, the officers removed 81 marijuana plants from the property, along with cultivation items and supplies. The Sheriff’s office obtained a residence search warrant for the subject’s residence. Inside the residence, 103 marijuana plants were discovered. In addition, the subject had ½ gram of methamphetamine in his possession. The subject, who was a convicted felon, also had a loaded 30.06 rifle in his vehicle with a spotlight and an illegal silencer attached to it. All evidence was turned over to the Baker County Sheriff’s Office, who will be the charging agency for the numerous felony violations.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officer Johnston received information regarding a subject with an active warrant for his arrest. The warrant was for failure to appear on one of Officer Johnston’s original charges of removing saw palmetto berries from water management land. Officer Johnston drove to the subject’s residence and parked by his house. The subject eventually came outside to “see what was going on.” Officer Johnston positively identified the subject at that time. Shortly after, he was detained and arrested without incident. Officer Johnston transported the subject to the Columbia County Jail where he was booked with no further law enforcement action required.

HAMILTON COUNTY

Officer Johnston was on foot patrol on the Suwannee River Water Management District property when he saw two subjects sitting along the edge of the river. Officer Johnston positioned himself in a concealed location and began monitoring the subjects through a pair of binoculars. After a few moments, Officer Johnston saw one of the subjects smoking from a glass methamphetamine pipe. Officer Johnston contacted the subject and found him to be in possession of Alpha-PVP(Flakka), methamphetamine and marijuana. The subject was transported by Officer Johnston to the Hamilton County Jail where he was booked.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Investigator Bembry and Officer Albritton were working inside Hickory Mound WMA when they located a parked vehicle at the west gate to the Hickory Mound Impoundment. Upon inspection, the officers saw what appeared to be deer hair on the bed of the truck. Investigator Bembry and Officer Albritton contacted the owner of the vehicle and inquired about the deer hair. After a lengthy interview, the driver admitted to killing a doe deer in April and transporting it in that vehicle. Lieutenant Guy, Investigator Bembry and Officer Albritton, with the assistance of the shooter, located the remains of the doe deer carcass and the location where the deer was cleaned. Officer Albritton seized the firearm used to kill the deer and will be direct filing the appropriate charges with the State Attorney’s Office in Perry.

RESCUES
NASSAU COUNTY

Officers Barber, Griffis, Gilmore, Hayes and Lieutenant Bridwell, along with an air unit from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO), responded to a distressed kayaker in the
St. Mary’s River. The kayaker had launched earlier in the afternoon from Steel Bridge Road for a three-day kayak trip. Due to a large amount of rain received in the area, the
St. Mary’s River was above flood stage and was flowing very quickly. During the trip, the subject lost his paddle but retrieved his handheld VHF and contacted the USCG about his situation before being thrown out of his kayak. Officer Griffis, Gilmore and Lieutenant Bridwell launched a shallow-water boat from State Road 2 Boat Ramp in Georgia and began working south towards Steel Bridge. Officers Barber and Hayes were positioned at Steel Bridge and Stokes Road Bridge for observation and the JSO pilots flew north from Steel Bridge towards State Road 2. The kayaker was located just north of the Stokes Road Bridge, at approximately 4:00 a.m., clinging to a tree in the fast-moving river. He was retrieved from the water and transported via boat to the Stokes Road Bridge where he was then transported by Nassau County EMT to a local hospital.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officers Johnston, Cline and Investigator Bembry assisted with a domestic marijuana eradication flight. The officers were providing ground support for members of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) drug task force, as well as to pilots with the National Guard. The flight was conducted in remote areas of the county where approximately 27 plants were discovered in two different areas. One of the areas was a hunting lease where Officer Johnston previously received a tip from turkey hunters regarding marijuana cultivation on their property.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
MARION COUNTY

Officer Seiler was on foot patrol in the middle of the night at the Salt Springs Marina Boat Ramp when he saw a vessel with three occupants, two of whom were actively bow-fishing the waters of Salt Springs Run. After watching the vessel for approximately an hour, it finally approached the boat ramp. Officer Seiler approached the vessel and all three subjects and saw several fish on the deck. He identified several tilapia, catfish, and two large black bass, all of which had apparent gig holes. The only fishing gear on board the vessel was a gig and two compound bows equipped with arrows and reels. After being separated and interviewed, both fishermen admitted to shooting the bass with their compound bows. Both were issued notices to appear for the violations.

ORANGE COUNTY

Environmental Investigator Conlin concluded a lengthy investigation involving felony commercial dumping. The county had contacted Investigator Conlin about a subject who had been contracted to clean up an illegal landfill. The suspect was being paid to remove and dispose of the debris legally, but was illegally dumping the debris on a county right of way. Charges were filed with the Orange County State Attorney’s Office for felony commercial littering.

SEMINOLE COUNTY

Environmental Investigator Conlin completed a lengthy investigation involving the illegal disposal of approximately 300 gallons of used oil mixed with hazardous waste. Investigator Conlin, Officer Tavano and Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) personnel responded to a retention pond where the oil and hazardous waste had been spilled. Investigator Conlin and Officer Tavano conducted a preliminary investigation and identified suspects. Video surveillance was obtained from a nearby business and one of the suspects was located and interviewed. He admitted to the dumping and implicated the other suspect who had been identified. Charges were filed with the State Attorney’s Office. The DEP contracted an authorized company to clean up and properly dispose of the recovered oil and waste.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officer Edson was conducting marine fisheries inspections in Ormond Beach when he encountered a man in possession of 16 undersized mangrove snapper and a goliath grouper. The fisherman was issued citations for undersized mangrove snapper, over the bag limit of mangrove snapper and possession of a goliath grouper.

Officer Sapp was on patrol at De Leon Springs State Park when he saw a fisherman throwing a cast net in the spring run. A resource inspection revealed that the man was in possession of game fish. He was cited for taking game fish by unlawful method and for no freshwater fishing license.

Officers Bellville, North and Ward apprehended six individuals for harvesting saw palmetto berries on Lake George WMA in one 24-hour period. All six individuals were issued citations.

Officer Haskins was driving home at the end of his shift when he noticed a vehicle following him so closely that, at times, he lost sight of its headlights. The vehicle was also swerving in and out of the traffic lane. Officer Haskins slowed to turn and the vehicle almost struck him. He conducted a traffic stop and noticed obvious signs of impairment from the driver. After observing the driver perform field sobriety tasks, Officer Haskins determined that the driver was impaired. The driver was arrested for DUI, driving on a suspended license with knowledge and attaching a tag not assigned to the vehicle. He was also issued citations for failure to maintain a single lane and driving with an open container of alcohol. The driver, who refused to provide a breath sample, was booked into the Volusia County Jail.

Officer North was on patrol in Tiger Bay State Forest when he encountered a man and woman on a hiking trail. The man was carrying a machete and a stalk of freshly cut palmetto berries. A computer check revealed the man had an active warrant out of Volusia County. He was arrested and transported to the Volusia County Jail for the active warrant and given a written warning for harvesting plant life from a state forest without a permit.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officers Birchfield and Zampella were on water patrol in Charlotte Harbor when they stopped and conducted a resource inspection on a vessel returning from a day of fishing. During the inspection, he found three undersized seatrout. The owner was issued a criminal citation for the undersized seatrout.

Officer Norris responded to a call from the Sheriff’s office about some people spearfishing on the public beach. When he arrived, he found the deputies with two men who had lights, gigs and one fresh pompano. When asked how they caught the fish, the men said they caught it with a cast net. Upon inspection, Officer Norris noticed three holes in the fish that were consistent with being gigged. The cast net was dry and neatly packed into a backpack as well. The person who said he caught it was issued a criminal citation for illegal method of take and a citation for fishing with an expired license.

DESOTO/HARDEE COUNTIES

Officer Kobbs was on patrol in DeSoto County when he received a call from DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office regarding a deer that had been shot. A witness called the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office stating he had just witnessed a truck drive slowly down a road. The witness further stated that an occupant in the vehicle shot a deer and the truck then left the area. Officer Kobbs worked with Hardee and DeSoto County Sheriff’s deputies to locate the vehicle matching the description. The vehicle was found with two men inside who admitted to shooting a deer from the roadway. Officer Kobbs went back to the scene with the witness and located a doe that had been shot. The two men were cited accordingly.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Officer Boogaerts was conducting fisheries inspections at Williams Park. During his inspection, he discovered one undersized and out-of-season snook, and one undersized mangrove snapper in a cooler. The responsible person was cited for the violations.

Officer Davidson and Lieutenant Hinds were on land patrol in Ruskin when they saw a truck parked on the side of U.S. 41 near some land owned by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. After searching the area for the owner of the truck, the officers found two men in the woods picking palmetto berries from District lands. The two men were charged criminally with removing or destroying plants from District lands and must appear in court for their violations. The berries were returned to the woods.


LEE COUNTY

Officer Price received a call about some men keeping undersized mangrove snapper near Punta Rassa and drove to the area to see if he could locate them. Officer Price was able to blend into the crowd through the use of plain clothes. He watched the men fish for a while and then hide their catch each time they caught something. While waiting for a uniformed officer to arrive, the men packed up their equipment and left. Officer Price then tracked the vehicle until it pulled into a nearby apartment complex. As the men started unpacking the car, Officer Price approached the men, identified himself as a police officer, and asked to see their catch. One of the men said that he knew some of the fish were undersized but had an excuse because they were going to use the fish as bait. An inspection of the catch revealed 15 undersized mangrove snapper which had been scaled as if they were ready to be cooked. The men were issued misdemeanor charges for possessing undersized mangrove snapper and an infraction for not possessing a valid saltwater shoreline fishing license.

Lieutenant Spoede and Officers Winton, Hazelwood and Bradshaw conducted offshore patrols over the weekend, utilizing FWC’s new 29-foot SAFE patrol vessel. During the patrols, violations were discovered relating to red grouper, hogfish, yellowtail snapper, mangrove snapper, and vermillion snapper. Several resource citations and warnings were issued for the violations. Vessel occupants were also educated about saltwater fishing regulations and sustainable fishing practices.

Officer Price was conducting plain-clothes patrol near Blind Pass when he saw three males wading and throwing cast nets. When the men packed up to leave, he stopped them to conduct a resource inspection. The inspection revealed 11 snook ranging from 12-19 inches, one undersized snapper and one undersized sheepshead. The men were each issued a notice to appear for the various fishing violations.

MANATEE COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator O’Horo was completing paperwork at the State Route 64 Boat Ramp when he was approached by a man offering to sell Investigator O’Horo a backpack full of nice fishing equipment for $5. Numerous indicators suggested the bag was stolen. Investigator O’Horo eventually identified himself and called for uniformed back-up. Officer Klobuchar arrived and a field interview was conducted. It was discovered that the man had a felony warrant for a probation violation. He was arrested and then transported to the Manatee County Jail by the Bradenton Police Department.

PASCO COUNTY

Officer Pulaski responded to a complaint of an individual with a pet raccoon. When he arrived, he could see a juvenile carrying the raccoon. He learned the raccoon was a free-range pet and had been so for quite some time. After conferring with Investigator Paul, the individual relinquished the raccoon, and it was turned over to a licensed facility. Officer Pulaski issued a warning for the violation.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on patrol at a local marina, Officer Pettifer saw an individual unloading fishing gear from his vessel. He approached the individual and initiated a fisheries inspection revealing that the individual possessed 108 mullet. The individual was cited for possession of 58 mullet over the recreational bag limit.

While on patrol, Officers Lehman and Pettifer saw an individual fishing under the Pinellas Bay Way Bridge. A fisheries inspection revealed the individual to be in possession of 25 mangrove snapper. They all were under the legal size limit of 10 inches. The individual was cited for possession of over the bag limit and undersized mangrove snapper.

POLK COUNTY

The Southwest Region Dive Team was asked to assist Hendry County Sheriff’s Office with an investigation where a weapon was discarded in a canal. The dive team deployed using handheld sonar and metal detectors to clear the canal. The canal was cleared and no weapon was found during the search.

Officer Young was conducting land patrol in Saddle Creek Fish Management Area (FMA) when he saw a subject using a cast net. Upon conducting a fisheries inspection, Officer Young found the suspect to be in possession of bass taken with the cast net. Officer Young released the fish and issued the appropriate citations for possession of a cast net in Saddle Creek FMA and taking game fish by illegal method.

SARASOTA COUNTY

Officers Davidson and Ridgway were on water patrol in the area of New Pass. While on patrol, they stopped a vessel to perform a boating safety inspection. It became apparent to the officers that the captain of the vessel was under the influence of alcohol. After performing field sobriety tasks, the captain of the vessel was placed under arrest for BUI and transported to the Sarasota County Jail.

RESCUES
HIGHLANDS COUNTY

Lieutenant Fugate received a call from the Highlands County Sheriff’s Agricultural Deputy asking for assistance with searching in a wooded neighborhood for an elderly woman suffering from Alzheimer’s. After arriving on the scene with his ATV, Lieutenant Fugate was briefed by the deputies of the situation and the last sighting. Soon after, Lieutenant Fugate found the woman lying under a tree in a wooded area a few roads over from the woman’s residence. With the help of the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office K-9 officer, the woman was carried out of the woods to the closest cross street to wait for EMS. The woman had apparently been lying there for approximately three hours, but was okay, sustaining only a few minor cuts and scratches.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
MARTIN COUNTY

While conducting land patrol in the John C. and Mariana Jones/Hungryland WEA, Officer Morrow approached a suspicious vehicle that was backed into the tree-line and the occupant appeared to be camping. Officer Morrow encountered the vehicle occupant at the rear of the vehicle and noted a glass smoking pipe, a marijuana grinder, and a bag of marijuana in plain sight. Officer Morrow then conducted a search of the vehicle and located a license plate in the vehicle rear. A query of the license plate revealed it belonged to a stolen vehicle (which was not present). The vehicle occupant advised she had purchased the vehicle the day before and the tag had previously been on the vehicle. This story was consistent with documentation located in the vehicle. The vehicle occupant was then issued a notice to appear citation for possession of cannabis under 20 grams and drug paraphernalia. The illegal drugs/paraphernalia were seized and placed into evidence. The stolen tag was seized and will be turned over to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Godward and Hankinson were on water patrol offshore of the Jupiter Inlet when they performed a fisheries check on a vessel. The check revealed five undersized dolphin, and four of the individuals claimed the undersized dolphin. A license check revealed that none of the individuals had fishing licenses in their possession. Each of the four individuals were cited for fishing without a fishing license and warnings were written for undersized dolphin.

Officer Brock responded to the area of Las Olas and the Intracoastal Waterway in response to a call for assistance from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department Marine Unit. Officer Brock arrived on the scene of a suspected intoxicated boater, conducted field sobriety tasks and arrested one individual for BUI.

Officer Grant was on patrol in the Mizell-Johnson State Park. She responded to the report of numerous burglaries to vehicles in several parking lots. No suspects have been apprehended at this time.

Officer Grant was on patrol at the Mizell-Johnson State Park Marina. She conducted a marine fisheries inspection on a vessel that tied up at the marina’s dock. After the inspection, Officer Grant issued three individuals criminal citations for possession of undersized dolphin. Seven undersized dolphin were seized as evidence.

Officer Toby saw an individual fishing on Lake Okeechobee with a cast net at the Canal Point Structure. Officer Toby conducted a fisheries inspection after watching the individual from a distance. The individual was in possession of 32 black crappie, 18 of which were undersized. The black crappie showed signs of having been taken by a cast net, which is illegal (since they are all freshwater game fish). The individual was also in possession of drug paraphernalia and ammunition, which was illegal as the individual had prior felony convictions. During a search of the individual’s vehicle, multiple suspicious items, including laptops and packaged jewelry and coins were turned over to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office for further investigation. The individual was transported to the Palm Beach County Jail. The suspect was issued four misdemeanor citations for possession of undersize black crappie, over the daily bag limit of black crappie, taking game fish by illegal method, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Additionally, the individual was issued one felony citation for possession of ammunition with a prior felony conviction.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Two officers were on water patrol recently at Haulover Inlet when they saw two subjects collaboratively place an unidentified fish in between some jetty rocks and then further conceal it by placing a palm frond on top. One officer was dropped off on land and approached the subjects. Both subjects denied having any other fish besides two barracudas that were in their possession. The officer then retrieved the fish that had been hidden and identified it as an undersized mutton snapper. Both subjects were cited by the officer for the undersized fish violation as well as interference with the duties of an FWC officer.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Garrison was on patrol in an unmarked vessel near Bogie Channel when he stopped a vessel for a resource inspection. Officer Garrison inspected the cooler and found a speared snook along with numerous other snapper. The operator was then arrested and taken to the jail in Marathon. He was charged with out-of-season snook, harvesting a snook by spearing, over the bag limit of mangrove snapper, possession of a vessel on the waters not registered as commercial or recreational, no saltwater fishing license in possession and no snook stamp. The operator was also cited for numerous boating violations.

The FWC Dispatch received a call from Ryder Trauma Center that a child was flown to their center in reference to a PWC accident that occurred in Monroe County. Further investigation revealed that EMS responded to Indian Key Fill where the child climbed on an unattended, possibly running PWC, grabbed the throttle, and ran up on to the shoreline rocks and nobody notified FWC. The child suffered injuries when his body was thrown into the handle bars and he was transported to a hospital in Dade County. A local FWC officer responded to the hospital to take the report and the case is still under investigation.

Two occupants on a PWC bayside of Tavernier were doing circles when the craft hit a wake from a distant passing vessel. Both the operator and occupant were ejected from the PWC into the water. The operator suffered back injuries and was transported to Mariner’s Hospital for treatment. The passenger injured his left ankle but refused treatment. The operator was flown to Ryder Trauma Center due to significant injuries to his left side and hip. The case is still under investigation.

Officer Hettel responded to the report of a vessel that was outside the channel and cutting through the north anchorage at a high speed in a no wake zone. He spotted the vessel approximately one-half mile east of the 20th Street Bridge in Boot Key Harbor, near Marathon. Officer Hettel followed the vessel and initiated a vessel stop. The operator showed signs of intoxication and was becoming agitated, so Officer Hettel escorted the vessel to shore. Once dock side, the operator began slamming things on his vessel and threw the case for his flares down, bouncing off his boat and in the direction of Officer Hettel’s vessel. The operator then picked up another item and threw it at Officer Hettel, striking him. Officer Hettel then placed the operator in hand cuffs. Officer Carroll arrived by vessel to assist. Officer Hettel transported the operator to the Marathon Jail for sobriety tasks and a breath test. Once there, the operator refused to complete or submit to any tasks or examinations and was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, BUI and refusal to submit to a breath test.

The FWC Dispatch received a call that a vessel was heading to a local Marina in Cudjoe Key with a 13 year old female occupant on board who had been struck by the propeller of the vessel. The FWC, EMS and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office responded to Venture Out Marina to meet the vessel. Once the victim arrived at the marina, she was immediately placed in an ambulance for medical treatment for her injuries. The victim was later transported to the Lower Keys Medical Center where she was pronounced dead. Investigator Hein is the lead on the investigation. There was no alcohol/drug impairment related to this accident.

While patrolling the Middle Keys on opening day of spiny lobster season, Officers Richards and Foell, on board the FWC’s Offshore Patrol Vessel Interceptor, saw a subject snorkeling in a channel a long distance from his divers-down flag. Without being noticed, the officers saw the subject catch and place multiple spiny lobster into his catch bag. Upon inspection, the catch bag contained 18 spiny lobster, well above the six per-person limit, one even being undersized. The subject was charged accordingly for the resource violations.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Dube attended the Python Patrol training at the National Park Service’s Big Cypress office. FWC staff provided a classroom portion of the training along with a hands-on portion where the students received additional training on how to safely catch a python. Afterwards, all students had their chance to capture and secure a wild python by themselves. After the training, the students received a goody bag and will be sent a certificate showing their attendance at the training.

MONROE COUNTY

Investigator Mattson taught several officers from the Upper Keys the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) Seated Field Sobriety course. The officers were all park rangers and trainees and the class was taught at the Everglades National Park Ranger Station in Key Largo. All the course attendees were happy with the class, stating they would use the training on future patrols.

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  Steinhatchee Scallops
Posted by: surfman - 08-17-2017, 07:03 AM - Forum: Saltwater Fishing - No Replies

Okay folks been doing a little scalloping out of my home port in Steinhatchee and have had mixed results, started off pretty good early in the season (July 4 weekend, we didn't go as early as was allowed) but the last time we were out it was tough and we ended up moving many times. I have been primarily going north this year and like I said the last time I ended up all the way to Big Grassy before we found decent scallops. Has anyone been going south and how have you been doing. In years past I almost always went south, not sure why I started heading north this year. Any tips would be appreciated. Big Grin

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  FWC Enforcement Report August 4-10. All Regions.
Posted by: bigefromlc - 08-14-2017, 03:57 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Manning checked four individuals fishing in Escambia Bay. After a resource inspection, he found that they were in possession of more than 50 spotted seatrout. The fisherman claimed they were fishing commercially, but only one possessed the required license. Officer Manning issued the three remaining individuals criminal notices to appear for the violations.

WALTON COUNTY

Officer Tison conducted a resource inspection on a subject fishing along the Choctawhatchee Bay shoreline. An inspection of the subject’s cooler revealed six undersized red drum. All the red drum were well under the mandated 18 inches in length. The subject was cited for possessing over the daily bag limit of red drum and issued a warning for the size limit violation.

Officer White conducted a fisheries inspection on a subject fishing in the Choctawhatchee Bay. An inspection of a cooler revealed the subject was over the daily bag limit of red drum. The subject was cited for the violation.

Officer White responded to Topsail Hill State Park after receiving information from park personnel that one of their golf carts had been taken. The subjects responsible were located and issued trespass warnings from the park after they were questioned.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officers continue to patrol shorebird nesting areas around the Navarre Causeway, educating the public on the importance of protecting our imperiled species by not disturbing the nesting areas. Officers Ramos and Lugg informed two individuals who were walking through the protected area.

ESCAMBIA COUNTY
COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING

Officer J. Rockwell attended the Crestview Youth Academy Graduation. This was a multi-agency event with participation by Crestview Fire Department, FWC and Crestview Police Department. There were 48 students that graduated from the academy. Officer Rockwell brought a vessel and explained FWC’s core mission to students and parents in attendance.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
ALACHUA COUNTY

Throughout the weekend while working boating safety and fish bag limits, Officer Troiano, Reith and Stanley issued three different citations for fishing license suspended or revoked.

Officer Stanley saw a female driving a truck with an expired tag at the Windsor Road Boat Ramp. After checking through dispatch, he found that the female had a suspended/revoked driver’s license. Officer Stanley issued a criminal citation for driving with a suspended/revoked license with knowledge.

BAKER COUNTY

Officers Burnsed and Gill received information from Baker County Sheriff’s Office about photographs they obtained from another investigation that revealed two subjects posing with alligators. The officers tracked down the two subjects at different locations to interview them regarding the alligators. Although not truthful to the officers at first, one of the subjects admitted to catching three alligators and taking them to a friend’s house. At the friend’s house, they took photographs while holding the alligators. They then released two of the alligators back into the wild, but stated they lost one before it could be released. Both subjects will be charged with unlawful possession of alligators.

CITRUS COUNTY

Officers Reid, Suttles and Lieutenant Jones conducted commercial fisheries inspections on shrimp vessels during the Big Bend food shrimp closure. While approaching a shrimp vessel for a compliance inspection, the operator and one crew threw a large orange fish basket full of bay scallops overboard. Officer Reid recovered several of the scallops while Officer Suttles clung onto Officer Reid’s ankle and gun belt to keep him from falling overboard. The vessel occupants were issued a citation for possession of bay scallops on vessel with trawls and interference with an FWC officer.

Officers Cheshire, VanNess and Pilot Burke were working a Targeted Enforcement Action focusing on the commercial blue crab closure, when Officer VanNess discovered approximately 38 traps that were left in the water during the closure. Contact with the owner was unsuccessful. The traps were removed from the water by the blue crab cleanup contractor. Charges will be filed through the state attorney’s office.

Officers Browning and Ulrich were conducting fisheries inspections in the Crystal River area when the officers saw a vessel inbound with fishing gear on the vessel. A resource inspection revealed that the occupants had harvested two undersized gag groupers using a spear gun. One occupant claimed responsibility for the undersized grouper and was cited appropriately.

MADISON COUNTY

Officer Ransom was patrolling the Twin Rivers State Forest when he noticed a driver in a stuck vehicle in need of assistance. While helping to remove the vehicle, Officer Ransom noticed a bag of berries in the bed of the vehicle. It was later determined that the operator of the vehicle had been illegally harvesting palmetto berries inside Twin Rivers State Forest. The operator was issued a notice to appear for the resource violation.

SUWANNEE COUNTY

Officer Boone was patrolling the Santa Fe River when he saw a vessel being operated in violation of the minimum wake zone. Upon stopping the vessel, it was determined that the operator was boating under the influence (BUI). The operator was arrested and delivered to the Suwannee County Jail.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers are still targeting violations within the Lochloosa Wildlife Management Area (WMA). One citation and several warnings were issued for various violations throughout the weekend.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers Troiano and Stanley attended a “Buck Scoring” event at Alachua Farm and Lumber during the weekend. Several biologists and a volunteer were also present at the event to help with the scoring. Several bucks were scored with the largest score of 111 from a surrounding county.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Balgo assisted Monroe County during Mini Season for Spiny Lobster. While patrolling from Marathon to Key West, a resource inspection was performed on a man harvesting lobster near the rocks. Upon inspection, Officer Balgo located one undersized lobster. The man was properly cited.

Officer Balgo performed a resource inspection on a female harvesting lobster near the rocks. The individual stated she did not have a measuring device and was placing the lobsters in her bag. After a resource inspection, three undersized lobster were located. The individual was properly cited.

Officer Balgo stopped a vessel at Spanish Harbor Boat Ramp to perform a vessel safety and resource inspection. Upon performing the inspection, four egg-bearing lobster, one undersized lobster, and an undersized red grouper were located. The individual was arrested and properly cited.

Officer Balgo received a tip that a subject was taking snook out of season at Sebastian Inlet State Park. After locating the subject, the officer saw the individual hide a black bag in the rocks and begin walking around the park. The individual walked up and down the north jetty, pretended to clean fish twice at the fish cleaning table and then walked to his vehicle to start it. The individual walked back down to the rocks to retrieve the black bag. Two snook were located by the officer in separate bags. The individual was cited a year ago for snook violations. The subject was cited appropriately.

While on water patrol in the Indian River, Officer Rasey noticed a vessel engaged in fishing activity near the Scottsmoor area. Upon approach, the sole subject on board was crouched down and appeared to be releasing spotted seatrout. A resource inspection revealed the subject was in possession of five spotted seatrout; one more than the allowable bag limit. Additionally, one seatrout was under the 15-inch minimum size limit. When the subject was asked if he had a fishing regulation guide, he produced a regulation pamphlet with the current seatrout rules. The individual was cited for being over his bag limit and warned for harvesting undersized spotted seatrout.

RESCUES
LAKE COUNTY

While off duty, Officer Shaw was boating on Lake Harris near Yalaha when he witnessed a young girl in distress in the water. She couldn’t swim and found herself in water over her head and struggling to stay up. The girl’s parents didn't notice that their child was in distress. Officer Shaw jumped in the lake, swam over to the struggling child and carried her to her mother who was on shore. The young girl did not suffer any injuries.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ORANGE COUNTY

Members of the Northeast Region, Southwest Region and FWC Class #33 Recruits served as lane officials for the National Archery In the Schools Program (NASP) World Tournament. The tournament took place at the Orange County Convention Center over a two-day period, and had roughly 3,700 youth shooters from all over the United States and Canada. FWC staff interacted with the coaches and students, making the event a huge success.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

While on land patrol one evening, Lieutenant Ruggiero spotted several people on a side-by-side and an ATV in a portion of the Webb WMA that was closed to vehicles. The WMA had been closed for a few hours so he stopped them to find out what was going on. Lieutenant Ruggiero approached them and attempted to identify each one through dispatch. He identified all of them except for one man. That man insisted that he had a valid identification and repeatedly confirmed that he had given the officer the correct name. Officer Price responded to the area and by using a fingerprint identification reader, the man’s identity was revealed. He admitted he had given the wrong information because he was afraid the officers were going to seize his vehicles. The man was arrested for providing false information to law enforcement. Two infractions were issued for being in the WMA while closed and nine warnings were issued for various other violations such as not possessing a daily use permit, using an ATV in the WMA and operating a motor vehicle in an area where not permitted.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Winton was on marine fisheries patrol in Lover’s Key State Park when he located an individual fishing in a closed portion of the park at night. An out of season, undersized and illegally harvested snook, undersized mangrove snapper, and an undersized sheepshead were discovered during a resource inspection. During the investigation, the individual also admitted to driving to the park with no valid driver’s license. The individual was issued a citation for several misdemeanor violations, an infraction citation and several warnings.

Officer Thompson was working in plain clothes and watching fishermen at a local pass known for snook. He saw three men catching fish with a cast net along the beach. From a concealed location, the subjects were observed catching fish. When the men returned to their vehicle in the parking lot, a resource inspection revealed six undersized, out-of-season and illegally harvested snook, along with several undersized snapper. With so many illegally harvested snook, the major violations will result in enhanced penalties and higher fines.

Lieutenant Barrett was patrolling at a local boat ramp and speaking with several fishermen. He noticed a boat with four men on board and playing loud music, dancing, and yelling as they neared the dock. The operator and several of the men appeared to be highly intoxicated, so Lieutenant Barrett stopped the boat for a boating safety inspection. During the inspection, Lieutenant Barrett noticed several indicators of impairment in the operator and decided to have him perform field sobriety exercises. The operator failed the field sobriety exercises and was arrested for BUI. The operator, visiting Fort Myers from out of state, was a convicted felon on probation for selling narcotics and had a history of DUI.

PASCO COUNTY

Officers Angelis and Jones obtained a report of a boating accident that occurred involving two commercial fishing vessels. The vessels were engaged in harvesting shrimp when one vessel ran into the rear of the other vessel. No injuries occurred. After the investigation, Officer Angelis issued citations to both operators for violations of the United States Coast Guard Navigational Rules.

Lieutenant Parisoe responded to a piece of property where heavy equipment was being used for clearing underbrush. The complainant reported the property contained several gopher tortoises and their burrows. An inspection revealed that two burrows had been impacted during the clearing. A warning was issued for the violation.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officers Messman, Caldwell and Lieutenant Laskowski investigated a floating jet ski found on Lake Tarpon. The jet ski had been abandoned in a junked condition. A derelict vessel investigation was initiated and a witness reported that he saw a white truck back down a boat ramp on Lake Tarpon, dump the jet ski and leave. The officers started with the last known registered owner and tracked the jet ski, which had changed hands three times until it was sold to the final owner one day prior to it ending up on the lake. The officers responded to the last known owner’s address where they saw an empty jet ski trailer and a white truck in the driveway. The owner of the jet ski initially said the jet ski was stolen a few days prior. After being read his Miranda rights and confronted with contrary evidence, he admitted to buying the jet ski for the trailer and then dumping the jet ski on Lake Tarpon because it did not run. His roommate, who was present during the sale and dumping, further corroborated the evidence. The owner was cited for a criminal derelict vessel violation. Charges for illegal dumping will be filed with the state attorney’s office under the Florida litter law.

While on water patrol in south Pinellas County, Officer Bibeau and Lieutenant Van Trees saw a vessel that was not displaying a dive flag with two divers in the water. The officers approached the vessel and encountered the three individuals to conduct a resource inspection. The officers located an undersized, out-of-season snook that had been speared. The individuals were read their Miranda Rights and after a short series of questions, one individual admitted to spearing the snook. The individual was written misdemeanor citations and a warning for the violations.

While on water patrol near Fort Desoto, Officer Bibeau and Lieutenant Van Trees saw three individuals fishing from underneath a nearby bridge. The officers encountered the individuals to conduct a fisheries inspection and located 41 undersized mangrove snapper. All the individuals admitted to catching the mangrove snapper and were cited accordingly.

Officers Martinez and Gonzalez were checking fishermen at the Gandy Bridge when they encountered a group of individuals that began acting suspiciously. The individuals continued to act suspiciously when the officers asked about a cooler in their possession. One of the subjects said it was his, and later admitted there was marijuana in it. An inspection of the cooler revealed marijuana and methamphetamine. The officers arrested the subject, walked him back to his car and, with his permission, retrieved his identification from his car. They saw another suspicious bag in his car and asked him what was in the bag. The subject told them it was money and gave them permission to search it. The search revealed that money and bags of heroin were in the suspicious bag. The officers also found weighing scales. The subject was arrested for numerous felony drug charges including intent to distribute.

RESCUES
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Lieutenants Van Trees, Holcomb, Parisoe and Officer Boogaerts responded to a boating accident with individuals treading water with no life vests. The three men were then hanging on to their capsized vessel underneath the Courtney Campbell Causeway. With a quick response from Tampa Fire Rescue, Safety Harbor Fire Rescue and FWC, the men were plucked from the water and brought back to land. A Good Samaritan helped retrieve their vessel and luckily, no one was injured.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Toby was notified of an alligator that had been killed illegally on Lake Okeechobee near the Belle Glade area. Multiple witnesses were interviewed and the nearly 12-foot, deceased alligator was located in the water. With the assistance of a local construction crane, the large alligator was removed from the water. Once on dry land, an arrow was found lodged and sticking out of the alligator’s head. The alligator and arrow were transported to the FWC evidence compound where it will be held until this case is resolved. A suspect has been identified and this incident is still under investigation.

Officer Hankinson was conducting resource inspections with the United States Coast Guard at the Lake Park Marina. A subject was in possession of two undersized and illegally speared tripletail fish. The subject was cited for the two criminal violations.

Officer Hankinson and Lieutenant Russo responded to a reported snook violation at Jupiter Inlet Park. During shoreline inspections, a subject was found to be in possession of an undersized snook during the closed season. The subject was cited for the criminal violation.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

On the opening day of archery season in Picayune Strand State Forest (PSST), Officer Arbogast saw a truck parked on the side of the road in an area closed to hunting. Shortly, two subjects emerged from the closed area dressed in camouflage and carrying compound bows. The subjects had valid hunting licenses, and were asked if they knew they were hunting in a closed area. The subjects stated they had a PSSF WMA brochure in their truck, but could not produce it. Both subjects were cited accordingly.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

An officer saw a subject spearfishing in a fresh water canal and conducted a fisheries inspection. The defendant admitted to spearfishing in the canal, which is prohibited, and was in possession of 11 total speared fish. Five were speared peacock bass and one was a largemouth bass. The defendant was cited two misdemeanors (over bag limit on peacock bass and illegal method of take) and one infraction (No fresh water fishing license).

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Wilkins and Garcia were on state land patrol when they received an anonymous tip through the dispatch center about a group of people taking lobster out of season behind a house in Islamorada. The two officers arrived at the location and saw a group of people in the backyard of the house and decided to investigate further. The officers asked who was the owner of the house and a gentleman came forward. Officer Garcia stated the reason for the officers being there on the property and asked if the anonymous tip was valid. Without hesitation, the owner of the property said that he had some lobsters that were taken out of season from the seawall behind his house. The owner of the house took the officers to a large, white cooler and inside were several wrung lobster tails. Officer Wilkins asked if there were any more lobster tails on the property. The owner stated that he might have a few more in the refrigerator outside and, upon further inspection, located a few more wrung tails in the refrigerator. The owner of the property admitted that his teenage sons took the lobster and that he had knowledge of them doing so. The officers found a total of 20 wrung lobster tails, four of which were undersized. Officer Wilkins charged the owner of the property with a notice to appear for 20 out-of-season lobsters and four undersized lobsters.

Major Escanio and Officer Sapp were on water patrol, approximately five miles north of the Seven Mile Bridge during the two-day mini-lobster season. Officer Sapp saw a vessel a few miles away displaying dive gear and traveling at a high rate of speed. He stopped the vessel to perform a marine resource inspection and found 24 undersized spiny lobster in the live well. Four subjects on board the vessel were cited and issued notices to appear.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Richards, Foell, Wagner and Captain Mravic went on offshore patrol aboard the offshore patrol vessel (OPV) Interceptor to the Dry Tortugas and found multiple violations. Their first resource inspection on a vessel revealed 29 undersized snapper in the live well, as well as yellowtail, mangrove, and lane snapper. Their second resource inspection on a vessel revealed fish fillets which were sent for laboratory testing to confirm species identification. Their third resource inspection on a vessel revealed a bag full of yellowtail snapper fillets hidden under ice in a cooler. All subjects were charged accordingly.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Dube assisted the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary with teaching the FWC “Boat Smart” boating course in Islamorada. Officer Dube was a co-instructor for approximately 25 students in attendance. Students learned about boating safety, boating accidents, charting and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. All the students passed their exam.

Officers Baumgartner, Garcia, Lieutenants Walsingham and Lyne participated in the “National Night Out” campaign at Founders Park in Islamorada. The officers showcased the FWC’s new 850 Impact patrol vessel, patrol trucks and the dive team trailer and associated specialty gear.

Officer Dube was the guest host on the Sun103.1 Friday night radio show with Captain Bill Kelly at Wahoo’s restaurant in Islamorada. Officer Dube discussed the opening of regular season and the recent lobster busts made by officers in the keys. Officer Dube also talked about safety tips for boating dive flag and diving.

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  FWC Enforcement Report July 28-August 3. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 08-09-2017, 09:30 AM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

Officers Alsobrooks and Hellett responded to a complaint about a vehicle running over a gate and riding around on a private hunting lease. The officers arrived at the scene of the damaged gate and talked with the complainant, who was a leaseholder. He gave them a description of the suspect vehicle and the officers started searching the property. The officers quickly located the vehicle and conducted a stop. The officers also saw one of the passengers throw a beer can from the interior of the vehicle into the woods. The driver admitted to running through the gate with his vehicle because they just wanted to ride through the woods. The driver was cited for damaging the gate and trespass. The subject who threw the beer can into the woods was charged with littering and open container. All the other passengers were issued written warnings for trespassing.

Officer T. Basford was conducting plain-clothes patrols at the Dupont Bridge when he noticed two men fishing. One of the men caught a fish and asked Officer Basford about it. The individual was informed that it was a flounder and needed to be 12 inches to be legal. Officer Basford saw the men for a brief time until they started to pack up and leave the area. As the men were leaving, Officer Palmer stopped the two men to conduct a resource inspection. During the inspection, the men were found to be in possession of undersized flounder, spotted seatrout, red drum, and gray snapper. One of the men took responsibility for the undersized fish and was issued the appropriate citations.

GULF COUNTY

Officer Alsobrooks received a tip about a group of individuals that were possibly poaching alligators on Howards Creek. Officer Alsobrooks proceeded to the area in hopes of finding the suspects’ vehicle and boat trailer. Once at the ramp, he located the truck with the empty trailer. After a short wait from a concealed location, Officer Alsobrooks saw the vehicle back down towards the ramp. He approached the truck/vessel and spoke with three individuals. While speaking with them, the officer noticed blood on the carpet/deck of the vessel. A detailed investigation, with assistance from other officers, revealed nine alligators had been poached within the last 24 hours and an additional subject was involved that was not present. Appropriate charges were issued for the violations.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Pifer was on land patrol conducting saltwater fisheries and license inspections when he contacted an individual fishing from a pier at a county park. Upon inspection, an egg‑bearing blue crab was found in the individual’s bucket. Photographs of the crab were obtained and it was released alive. The individual was cited for possession of an egg­‑bearing blue crab.

Officer Pifer was on routine water patrol when he saw a PWC operating in a reckless manner. The operator was seen driving towards another PWC and turning away at the last minute to splash the occupants of the other PWC with water. A vessel stop was conducted during which indicators of impairment were observed and during which the individual stated he had consumed alcohol. Field sobriety tasks were conducted and the individual was placed under arrest for BUI. At the U.S. Coast Guard USCG) Station Destin, the individual refused to provide a breath sample. The individual was charged with operating a vessel with normal faculties impaired, reckless operation of a PWC, and refusal to submit to a breath test.

Officer Maltais and USCG personnel were on vessel patrol in the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) in the Santa Rosa Sound enforcing boating and public safety during the Billy Bowlegs Pirates Festival. The officer saw a rental pontoon with 12 persons on board. A male individual on board shoved a female individual, with whom he was verbally arguing, to the deck of the pontoon. The officer immediately stopped the boat while USCG personnel quickly boarded the vessel. The aggressive male individual was separated from the female and placed in handcuffs. Officer Maltais obtained all pertinent information from the occupants/witnesses. It was later determined the aggressive male had an active warrant out of Okaloosa County. Officer Maltais completed an arrest affidavit for a criminal summons for battery.

Officer Pifer was on land patrol conducting state fisheries and license inspections in the Shalimar area and saw an individual wading at a local boat ramp. The officer waited until the fisherman returned from fishing and conducted a fisheries inspection of the subject’s cooler. The individual was found to be in possession of over the bag limit of red drum (redfish), possession of undersized red drum (redfish), possession of over the bag limit of gray/mangrove snapper and possession of more than one spotted seatrout over 20 inches. The individual was issued notice to appear citations for the resource violations.

Officer Corbin responded to a single vessel boating accident involving a rented personal watercraft (PWC) that occurred in Choctawhatchee Bay near Crab Island. There were two occupants on the PWC. The investigation revealed that the PWC was going at an unknown high rate of speed when it struck a wake causing the operator to lose control, ejecting himself and the passenger on the PWC. The passenger sustained an injured shoulder when she struck the PWC during the fall. The passenger was later transported by ambulance to a local hospital and treated.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Hutchinson was pumping gas in his patrol vehicle when a truck pulled up next to him pulling a boat. He asked the driver if he had been fishing and he stated that they had caught some bass in Hurricane Lake. When Officer Hutchinson asked if he could see them, they were hesitant to show him the fish. The subject was in possession of 11 bass, which is over the daily bag limit. The subject was charged with taking over the daily bag limit of black bass.

Lieutenant Hahr was patrolling in the Blackwater State Forest when he saw four subjects around a campfire in a primitive campsite. The subjects were drinking from fountain drink cups and a jug of orange juice was sitting near a cooler. An older man was present, but two young women and one young man appeared to be under the age of 21. The younger man took a bottle of vodka from the cooler and was drinking from the bottle in front of the older man. When Lieutenant Hahr approached the subjects and identified himself, the young women immediately dumped out their drinks. The younger man was 18 years of age and the two young women were 17. Two cannabis cigarettes and an additional container of cannabis was found, which the younger man claimed. The older man was charged with giving alcohol to a person under 21 and the others were charged with possession of alcoholic beverages by a person under 21. The younger man was also charged with possession of not more than 20 grams of cannabis.

WALTON COUNTY

Okaloosa and Walton County officers assisted multiple agencies with a joint detail to detect illegal outdoor marijuana grow sites which included an FWC aircraft, pilot and ground crews for both counties. During the three-day multi-agency detail, 65 grow sites were detected with 2,692 plants removed and destroyed, with an approximate value of $5,384,000.

Officers Brady and Rice were conducting offshore patrols in federal waters near the Madison Swanson area, which is closed to the harvest of reef fish. The officers noticed a vessel coming towards their location. After a few minutes, they noticed the vessel come to a stop and several of the passengers begin to fish. The vessel was approximately two miles inside the Madison Swanson area. The officers conducted a resource inspection of the vessel. During the inspection, appropriate federal citations were issued for fishing in the closed area.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
BAY COUNTY

Officer Rice attended the National Night Out event that was held at the Panama City Mall. The event included all the law enforcement agencies and first responders in the surrounding area. The weather was nice and the event was a great success with more than 200 people in attendance. Local news agencies covered the event.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers Troiano and Reith were working a trespass complaint on a private property in the High Springs area when the officers saw three individuals fishing in the lime rock pits off County Road 236. FWC officers have been requested by the landowner to issue trespass citations due to liability concerns. Officers Troiano and Reith issued trespass citations and fishing license citations to all three individuals. The suspects were escorted off the property after receiving their citations.

DUVAL COUNTY

Environmental Investigator Terrones was contacted for assistance after management personnel of a Jacksonville shopping center found numerous items illegally discarded on their property. A dozen tires, trash bags, car parts and cardboard boxes with the name of a nearby business were some of the items that were dumped. The owner of the business was interviewed and eventually confessed, agreeing to properly dispose of the items. Appropriate criminal charges were filed with the state attorney’s office.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers are working area lakes for boating and resource compliance. Officers continued their patrol efforts in the Lochloosa Wildlife Management Area (WMA) to gain compliance with mudding and alcohol-related violations.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officer Mims attended a grand-opening event at the new Rural King in Gainesville. Saturday was dedicated to Kids’ Day. During the event, Officer Mims had a live alligator on display from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Hundreds of people attended this event and Officer Mims answered questions about FWC’s role in resource protection and boating safety.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Lejarzar was working in plain-clothes when he saw a fisherman taking stone crabs out of season and catching undersized red drum in the Merritt Island area. He continued surveillance and as the fisherman was leaving, a marked FWC vessel intercepted the fishermen. An inspection was conducted and the fisherman was found to be in possession of stone crabs and undersized red drum. The suspect was cited accordingly.

Officer Eller was on land patrol when he noticed a vehicle stopped in the middle of a busy highway. Vehicles traveling at high speeds were swerving drastically to avoid the vehicle that was parked in the roadway. Officer Eller noticed that the driver of the vehicle was unconscious across the steering wheel. Fearing that a medical emergency had taken place, Officer Eller opened the vehicle’s driver door to check the well-being of the operator. It became immediately apparent that the operator was highly intoxicated and had passed out at the wheel in the middle of a busy highway. The operator was arrested and charged with DUI.

Officer Eller and Lieutenant Bonds were on water patrol in the Atlantic Ocean outside of Port Canaveral due to the increased activity of the mini spiny lobster sport season. Inspection of a vessel revealed numerous legally harvested lobster and some speared reef fish. A closer inspection of the reef fish revealed that one of the gag grouper was undersized. The subject was made aware of the violation and cited accordingly. Later that day, two separate saltwater fisheries inspections offshore revealed subjects attempting to return to Port Canaveral with egg-bearing spiny lobster. All violators found in possession of egg-bearing spiny lobster were cited accordingly.

Officer Eller and Lieutenant Bonds were on water patrol in the Atlantic Ocean outside of Port Canaveral. The officers noticed a larger vessel returning to Port Canaveral in an unusual manner and running south right off the beach. An inspection was conducted and the occupants of the vessel told officers that they did not catch any fish that day. A bag of freshly filleted fish was discovered underneath numerous food and drink items. The fillets appeared to be fresh red snapper. The occupants were made aware of the discovery, interviewed and cited accordingly.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

Officers Eller and R. Miller performed a saltwater retail/wholesale inspection on a fish house in Sebastian. During the inspection, the manager stated that the business did not purchase any saltwater products from Saltwater Products License (SPL) holders due to the fact they were only retail and not wholesale. While sorting through the business documentation, the manager answered a call in the presence of the officers where he discussed purchasing saltwater products from a fisherman and SPL holder. Further inspection and interviews with the owner validated that the business had been purchasing saltwater products from SPL holders without a valid Wholesale Dealers License. The officers also learned that the business had been operating for some time without a valid Retail Dealers License. The officers also inspected the freezers where the saltwater products were stored and discovered that numerous species of fish were being stored in the freezer without documentation. The officers informed the owner of these violations and he was cited accordingly.

Officers Lejarzar and R. Miller were working near the Sebastian Inlet in the Atlantic Ocean during the spiny lobster sport season. They identified a lobster harvester and conducted an inspection. The inspection revealed a large queen conch hidden deep inside a cooler. The captain of the vessel was interviewed and a citation was issued.

PUTNAM COUNTY

Officers Bernard and Wester responded to Lake Myra to investigate an unlawful fishing complaint. Upon arrival, they found a subject fishing without a freshwater license and using bush hooks that were not properly tagged. The subject was issued citations for no fishing license and using improper fishing gear. A warrant has been issued because this also violated the subject’s probation on a prior FWC charge.

SUMTER COUNTY

Officer Teal was on patrol shortly after sunset in Lake Panasoffkee WMA when he noticed a truck drive by on a dead-end county road that divides the WMA. From a hidden position, Officer Teal saw a spotlight being shined from the vehicle into the WMA pastures. After watching the truck continue to stop and shine for about 10 minutes, a vehicle stop was performed. A loaded .22 rifle and spotlight was in between the two occupants of the vehicle. Both occupants confessed to trying to kill a buck deer after a post Miranda interview. The rifle and light were seized and both men were issued a notice to appear for hunting from a county road and hunting with gun and light.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on patrol on the Picnic Island Fishing Pier, Officer Lehman saw an individual fishing near a bucket. During a fisheries inspection, the man was asked if he caught anything. The man advised he caught a snook. The snook was discovered in the bucket under a towel. The individual was cited for possession of a snook during a closed season.

LEE COUNTY

While on water patrol in the Caloosahatchee River, Officer Winton conducted a stop on a vessel returning from offshore fishing. A fisheries inspection revealed two undersized red grouper. The subjects were written a resource citation and warnings for related violations.

While Officer Sehl and Lieutenant Cox were on water patrol near Long Key Bridge in the Keys, they saw two subjects in wetsuits gutting a fish. Officer Sehl exited his vessel onto land and conducted a check. The subjects were in possession of an undersized nurse shark that they both speared within 100 yards of the bridge. Both subjects were charged with possession of undersized nurse shark and spearing within 100 yards of a bridge in state waters.

Officer Hardgrove acquired information leading him to believe that a local commercial fisherman was routinely harvesting fish with a gill net. He believed the fisherman was operating in the Matlacha Pass area, and was hiding his net in the mangroves nearby. Acting on this information, Officer Thompson and Lieutenant Barrett were out during the day searching nearby creeks and coves for the stashed illegal net. As they exited one cove, they were surprised to see their suspect deploy a large net on the flat right in front of them. As the officers attempted to approach the suspect, he fled from them. The pursuit lasted approximately 20 minutes and the suspect was eventually able to make it under a very low bridge and get away temporarily. His vessel was recovered and seized a short time later. The suspect was arrested for multiple criminal violations, including use of a monofilament gill net in state waters, fleeing or eluding law enforcement in a vessel, resisting arrest with violence, and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officers Gonzales and Hinds were on land patrol near the Palma Sola Boat Ramp when they noticed a boat approaching the boat ramp. As it came closer to the boat ramp, they noticed the captain of the vessel reach down and pick up a five-gallon bucket and proceed to dump the contents into the bay. The two officers could tell that it was fish the captain had dumped out, and retrieved one 8-inch hog fish. The captain was cited for possession of undersized hog fish and given a notice to appear in court.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land patrol near Blind Pass, Officer Bibeau saw an individual that was actively fishing from the seawall. Officer Bibeau contacted the individual to conduct a fisheries inspection and, at the conclusion, found the subject to be in possession of seven undersized mangrove snapper, one undersized lane snapper and an undersized gag grouper. Officer Bibeau wrote the individual a misdemeanor citation and multiple warnings for the fisheries violations.

While on patrol near the Gandy Bridge, Lieutenant Laskowski saw two individuals spearfishing near the bridge. From a concealed position, he saw the two individuals in possession of stringers with snook on them. The two individuals hid the snook in some mangroves before walking back to their car. After watching them hide the snook, a fisheries inspection was initiated. The snook were recovered and the two men were cited for illegally spearing the snook and possession of snook during a closed season.

Lieutenant Laskowski responded to assist the Florida Highway Patrol with an individual who had cast netted a snook at the North Skyway fishing area. After being read Miranda, one of the individuals admitted to catching the snook with a cast net. The individual was cited for possession of a snook during a closed season.

Officers Ludtke, Martinez and Bibeau responded to the report of an undetonated naval canister flare on the beach at Three Rooker Island. The three officers responded by water with a State Fire Marshall and two Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Technicians. The officers worked through the night to recover the flare which was transported to the MacDill Air Force Base for safe disposal.

While on land patrol near Gandy Beach, Officer Bibeau saw four individuals diving and fishing around a submerged rock pile. He watched the individuals from a concealed location and approached them to conduct a fisheries inspection as they were preparing to leave the area. The individuals were in possession of 40 undersized and out-of-season stone crab claws, an egg-bearing blue crab, four undersized sheepshead and an undersized red drum. The individuals were issued numerous misdemeanor citations and warnings for the fisheries violations.

Officers Gonzales and Martinez were on land patrol near the Mustang Flea Market in Pinellas Park, and noticed a woman selling shellfish from a cooler to the public. When the woman was asked if she had a saltwater retail license which would allow her to sell saltwater products, she could not produce one for the officers. The woman was cited criminally for not having a saltwater retail license and is required appear in court.

RESCUES
SARASOTA COUNTY

Officers Sierra, Hertel, Rivard, Investigator O’Horo and Lieutenant Gerkin responded to an overdue canoer that was stranded in the Lower Lake of Myakka State Park. The canoer left the boat ramp at the park on Sunday afternoon and paddled downriver to the lower lake. The weather then began to deteriorate as Tropical Storm Emily was forming and coming ashore. It was not until Monday morning that the subject’s wife called the park rangers and informed them that the subject was overdue. The officers quickly located the subject, unharmed, and transported him back to his vehicle.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Corteguera responded to an animal cruelty complaint. Upon arrival, he found one deceased raccoon in a trap. Further investigation revealed the raccoon was captured and left in the trap for at least two days in extreme temperatures without food or water, causing its death. The subject was charged criminally with one count of cruelty to animals and one count for failure to release the raccoon within 24 hours as required by law. Officers Ariza and Delatorre assisted.

MARTIN COUNTY

While conducting vessel patrol, Officer Morrow conducted a resource inspection on a vessel returning from offshore. During the inspection, a mangrove snapper which had been filleted and an undersized dolphin were located, which had been caught by the vessel captain. A check of the two involved fishermen revealed that they had no history of fisheries violations. The captain and another fisherman were issued warnings and educated about their violations.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

The USCG contacted the FWC about a possible impaired boater at the New Port Cove Marina. Officer Spradling and Lieutenant Russo arrived and conducted field sobriety tasks on the vessel captain. After their investigation, the subject was transported to the Palm Beach County Jail where he was charged with BUI.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

While on water patrol, Officer Payne saw a vessel returning to the boat ramp with several individuals on board and visible diving equipment. An inspection of their catch revealed 15 whole Florida spiny lobsters. After being measured, three of the lobsters were undersized. A citation was issued for the violation and the lobsters were seized as evidence.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Spradling responded to a call of an alligator in the ICW near Peanut Island. Officer Spradling located the large alligator, then caught and removed him from the water and into his patrol vessel, with the assistance from U.S. Customs officers that happened to be on patrol in the area. Officer Spradling brought the alligator back to Rybovich Marina where his patrol vehicle was located. With the assistance of Officers Godward and Marrow, they relocated and released the alligator back into a remote freshwater habitat.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
PALM BEACH COUNTY

While conducting vessel patrol for the Spiny Lobster Sport Season, Officers Morrow and Hankinson encountered a vessel offshore. Officer Morrow located an egg-bearing/wrung lobster tail while conducting a resource inspection on the vessel. All the vessel occupants were juveniles and, upon questioning, they advised this was their first Spiny Lobster Sport Season and that they were unaware of regulations surrounding possession of wrung tail and egg-bearing lobster. The juveniles were educated on the importance of ensuring they were following resource laws. The juvenile (age 15) that caught the lobster was issued a warning for both violations. The illegal lobster was then seized and returned to the resource.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

During the Spiny Lobster Sport Season, multiple officers were on water patrol to ensure legal harvest. Although multiple vessels and harvesters were inspected for compliance over the two-day period, few violations were noted. Boating safety as it relates to diving and snorkeling activities were monitored closely. Several vessels displayed the wrong size dive flags and several divers were found to be beyond their “safety zone” when their vessel either traveled or drifted away from them. Public safety was paramount, and violations were handled accordingly.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Lieutenant Mahoney and Officer Curbelo were conducting freshwater fisheries enforcement near a canal at White Lake Boulevard. During their patrol, they noticed a fisherman shaking out the contents of a cast net near a culvert pipe. They approached the fishermen as he went back to his vehicle and discovered he harvested two pan fish and placed them into a bucket. As Officer Curbelo explained the violation in greater detail, Lieutenant Mahoney followed the fisherman’s footprints along the shoreline leading back to the culvert pipe and noticed a noise coming from the nearby high grass. An inspection of the area revealed a largemouth bass. The fisherman was cited for taking freshwater game fish by illegal method. Both pan fish and the largemouth bass were returned alive to the water.

Officer Plussa was conducting state park patrol in Delnor Wiggins State Park when he was contacted by a patron about subjects harassing gopher tortoises. Two subjects were located with a gopher tortoise nearby. The subjects admitted that they had been playing with and taking photos with the gopher tortoise. When Officer Plussa explained that the gopher tortoise was a protected species of land tortoise, the subjects stated that they didn’t believe there was such a thing. The subjects were cited accordingly.

MONROE COUNTY

During the Spiny Lobster Sport Season, the crew of the Offshore Patrol Vessel CT Randall performed a fisheries inspection on a vessel approximately 30 nautical miles north of Key West, two days after the Spiny Lobster Sport Season had closed. During the inspection, Officer Yaxley located 71 wrung spiny lobster on the vessel during the closed season, and the vessel was also 59 over the daily bag limit. Federal charges are pending.

Officer Arbogast was in the upper Florida Keys assisting the enforcement effort with the Spiny Lobster Sport Season. Officer Arbogast was on state water patrol with the USCG. During a routine vessel inspection, 10 illegally harvested Queen Conch were found in the center of the subject’s vessel. Each shell contained a live Queen Conch. The subject stated that he wanted to use the shells as decorations around his home. All the Queen Conch were returned to the water safely, and the subject was charged accordingly.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Dube, Steinmetz and McKay attended the National Night Out event at the Key Largo Community Park alongside our partner agencies. The officers had various snakes and alligators for the citizens to interact with and answered numerous questions about employment with the agency and boating/resource regulations. The US Congressman Carlos Curbelo was in attendance and even held the large alligator and an Albino Burmese Python. Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsey personally thanked our officers for participating and especially liked all the wildlife we brought.

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  FWC Enforcement Report July 21-27 All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 07-31-2017, 11:59 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

Officer Alsobrooks was patrolling near the Hathaway Bridge and saw two subjects in a vessel fishing under the bridge. He conducted a resource inspection and found the subjects to be in possession of 18 undersized red snapper and two undersized lane snapper. The captain of the vessel was issued a citation for harvesting undersized red snapper and issued written warnings for over the bag limit of red snapper and harvesting undersized lane snapper.

ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officers Land and McHenry were on patrol in Pensacola Bay when they saw a vessel anchor fishing near the Pensacola Pass. The officers saw one of the subjects reel in an undersized red snapper. One of the men on board stated, “That’s a good one.” Officer Land boarded the vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection and located 13 undersized red snapper. Two of the fishermen on board claimed possession of the fish. It is illegal to possess red snapper measuring fewer than 16 inches. It is also illegal to possess more than two red snapper per person. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

Officer Pettey responded to a report of an individual that had a dead deer on his front porch. After interviewing one of the residents about the deer, the resident first claimed someone put it there to set him up, but then admitted to killing it the evening before. He stated he was driving around when he decided to shoot a deer. He shot the deer, brought it home and was still deciding what to do with it more than 12 hours later. The gun and deer were seized and the individual was issued a notice to appear citation for killing a deer during closed season.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Nichols and Wilkenson responded to a boating accident with injuries involving a PWC and a swimmer. The accident occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, and the investigation determined a rented PWC struck a swimmer, causing a laceration to the head. The swimmer was later transported to a local emergency facility in Destin and his injury was treated with stitches. The accident is under investigation.

Officer Maltais responded to the Destin Pass where a boating accident occurred involving two rental PWC. One of the operators sustained a laceration to her left knee and was transported and treated at a local hospital in Fort Walton Beach. The investigation determined that the two PWC were traveling south toward the Destin Pass when the lead PWC slowed and turned east into the path of the second PWC. A citation for navigational violation was issued to the operator that turned into the path of the other PWC.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Land was on patrol in Eglin Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and saw multiple vehicle tracks entering a closed area of the WMA. Officer Land tracked the tire sign to a clay pit within the WMA and located two vehicles. Each vehicle had multiple occupants and only one individual possessed a valid Eglin permit. Officer Land informed Eglin Range Patrol of the violation and asked for their assistance. The appropriate action was taken and individuals were banned for two years by the Eglin Range Patrol.

Officers Hutchinson and Mullins responded to a shot they heard on the Blackwater River. They found two men on a dock in the area. After questioning the men, they determined that the shooter was just shooting into the water. While talking to him, they determined that he had multiple felony warrants. Officer Mullins placed him under arrest and transported him to the Santa Rosa County Jail.

Officer Roberson was conducting fisheries inspections when he found a subject to be in possession of undersized and over the bag limit of redfish. The subject was issued the appropriate citations.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officers made several fisheries-related cases this week while conducting water patrol. These included three cases of possession of undersized red snapper and one case of failure to land red snapper in whole condition.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OKALOOSA COUNTY

The Gulfarium scheduled a sea turtle release at Henderson Beach State Park. Twelve green sea turtles were rehabilitated at Gulfarium and released in the Gulf of Mexico. Approximately 250 individuals attended the event. Officer Nichols provided security and traffic control and answered questions from the public.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Jernigan assisted with a Hunter’s Safety Course at the Jay Community Center. Officer Jernigan spent a little over an hour going over the hunting laws and regulations of the state. The class was small with only 15 present, but all were very attentive and asked questions concerning hunting regulations in Florida.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers Stanley and Troiano worked the Lochloosa WMA throughout the weekend. After receiving several complaints about mudding and damage to state-owned lands the officers began surveillance of known mudding areas. Several citations were issued for operating ATVs in the area and alcohol violations that included underage drinking.

BAKER COUNTY

Officer Burnsed received a complaint about trespassing on private property where two vehicles had illegally entered the property and had gotten stuck. The suspects had driven around a locked gate which has been a common problem for the property owners. Lieutenant Huff responded to the area and contacted two of the three subjects who were trespassing. One of the subjects fled on foot due to outstanding warrants issued for his arrest. The subjects’ information was documented and all will be charged with trespassing on private property by direct file. An effort with the Baker County Sheriff’s Office is being conducted to locate the fleeing subject.

Officer Tyler received a call about a vessel that had been illegally dumped on private property. The officer retrieved the previous owner’s information off the dumped vessel and spoke with the registered owner of the vessel. It was determined he had knowledge of the vessel being illegally dumped. Charges of criminal dumping will be filed with the state attorney’s office.

LEVY COUNTY

Officers Fox and Starling patrolled and conducted vessel safety/resource inspections at the main boat ramp in Cedar Key during the Independence Day weekend. During one inspection, the captain of the vessel informed Officers Fox and Starling that he had three black tip sharks inside his cooler. The officers saw three black tip sharks, not in whole condition, inside the cooler. The captain was issued a notice to appear for over the bag limit of sharks and was issued a written warning for not landing shark in whole condition.

Officer Fox was conducting safety and resource checks at the Waccasassa Boat Ramp in Gulf Hammock when he saw an airboat approaching the boat ramp with an expired registration. He approached the captain and asked if he had any luck fishing. The captain admitted to catching and keeping two undersized red drum. Officer Fox issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized red drum and issued the captain three written warnings for various boating safety/registration violations.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers are working area lakes for boating and resource compliance. All lakes have high water conditions and have been producing some records speck limits for this time of the year.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officer Stanley attended a school function and discussed FWC's role in public safety and resource protection.

SUWANNEE COUNTY

Officer Boone conducted a public outreach event at the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Youth Camp at Branford High School. He spoke to several participants about boating safety, alligators and Florida’s natural resources.

Officer Mobley spoke to several groups including the Police Athletic League, Suwannee County Library Outreach and the 21st Century Program. Numerous participants were in attendance where topics on job diversity, the importance of life jackets and wildlife safety were covered.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officer Edson was conducting marine fisheries inspections in Daytona Beach when he encountered a man in possession of five undersized mangrove snapper. In the recent past, the man had been issued a written warning by FWC for undersized seatrout. Officer Edson issued him a citation for the violation.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MARION COUNTY

Officer Hargabus and Investigator Sumpter conducted an outreach event for 52 kids at Rainbow Springs State Park for Marion County Fire Wise Camp. The officers set up a mock illegal turkey hunting crime scene. The kids and Officer Hargabus received a report of a shot fired in the state park the previous day. They responded to the area and located an individual (Investigator Sumpter) dressed in camo sitting against a tree with a camera and turkey calls. He stated that he was just taking pictures of turkeys. The kids located a hidden gun, spent shell casing, blood, turkey feathers and cracked corn on the ground with sign of turkey feeding. After observing the evidence, searching the suspect and locating a live shell that matched the spent shell, Officer Hargabus and the kids interviewed the subject and got a confession that he had shot a turkey the day before in a state park. The kids learned how important the game laws are and how locating evidence at a crime scene can piece a case together.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Officer Caldwell responded to the delayed report of a boating accident that had occurred four days earlier on Lake Magdalen in Tampa. His investigation revealed that the operator of one vessel struck an anchored vessel cutting it in half while two people were on board fishing. There were no reported injuries as the two people on board the anchored vessel abandoned the vessel before it was struck and swam to safety. The operator of the vessel that struck the anchored vessel was cited for violation of navigation rule “proper lookout.” He was also issued a written warning for failure to report a reportable boating accident within the required timeframe.

Officer Baker responded to a citizen’s complaint of a subject keeping an out-of-season snook at the Gandy Boat Ramp. He identified and stopped the subject’s vehicle and, upon inquiry, the subject openly admitted to keeping a snook and placing it in a garbage bag in the trunk of his car. The subject was cited for possession of snook out of season.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Price was working near New Pass when he saw individuals wading in the water and throwing a cast net. He watched as a man threw the net repeatedly, and then put fish into a sack that a female was carrying. He approached the individuals as they walked back to their vehicle. When asked if they caught anything, the man said no and then began covering the sack to conceal the catch. Officer Price then told the man he had been watching them fish, but the man would not admit to having any fish. An inspection of the sack revealed several undersized fish including snook, mangrove snapper and sheepshead. The man was charged with three misdemeanors for possession of undersized snook, sheepshead and mangrove snapper, and two misdemeanors for out- of-season snook and illegal method of catching snook.

Officer Price was in a concealed location near New Pass while he watched two men fishing. One of the men was throwing a cast net and the other was fishing with a rod and reel. A subsequent resource inspection revealed that one of the men did not have a valid fishing license and the other had a small snook concealed inside a bucket and covered with the net. The man with the net admitted to catching the snook. He was issued two misdemeanors for possession of undersized and out-of-season snook. The other man was issued an infraction for not having a valid fishing license.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Hinds was on land patrol near the King Fish Boat Ramp and witnessed a man pulling his vessel out of the water. During a subsequent boating safety and resource inspection, the officer noticed that the man was obviously under the influence of alcohol and his normal faculties were impaired. After further investigation, the man was cited for DUI and booked into Manatee County Jail.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land patrol at the Gandy Bridge, Officer Bibeau saw four individuals walk out of the nearby mangroves carrying fishing poles and miscellaneous fishing equipment. During a subsequent fisheries inspection, three undersized snook were located. One individual claimed that the fish belonged to him and he was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized and out-of-season snook.

While on land patrol at Gandy Beach, Officer Bibeau saw an individual actively fishing from the shoreline. He saw the individual catch two small fish and place them on a stringer. Officer Bibeau approached the individual as he was preparing to leave the area to conduct a fisheries inspection. The inspection revealed two, 13-inch red fish. The individual was issued a misdemeanor citation for the fisheries violations.

Officer Bibeau and Lieutenant Van Trees stopped a vessel to conduct a safety and resource inspection while on water patrol near the Fort Desoto Boat Ramp. As the officers went through the inspections, they noticed signs of impairment from the operator and numerous empty beer cans on the deck of the boat. After completing field sobriety tasks, the operator was arrested for BUI. The operator refused to give a breath sample and was booked into the Pinellas County Jail.

Officer Baker received a complaint from a citizen about a subject keeping out-of-season stone crab at Gandy Beach. He located and approached the subject, and an inspection revealed that the subject possessed undersized and out-of-season stone crab claws in a five-gallon bucket. The subject was cited for possession of undersized stone crab claws and warned for possession of stone crab claws out of season.

RESCUES
DESOTO COUNTY

FWC officers responded to two alligator bite incidents on the Peace River. The bites occurred days apart from each other at the same location. An alligator trapper caught and removed a seven-foot alligator at the location. Both bite victims received puncture wounds on their foot and are expected to make full recoveries.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Lieutenants Holcomb, Mack, Laskowski, Investigators Tsongranis, Dallarosa, Schefano, and Officers Lehman, Messman and Cristofaro responded to the report of a missing boater and distressed swimmer on Lake Thonotosassa. The officers recovered an unmanned solo skiff circling in the middle of the lake. A shoreline fisherman advised he heard someone yelling for help from the middle of the lake and called 911. Both the FWC and Hillsborough County Dive Team members searched until dark, and FWC officers continued the search until 2:00 am. The search resumed the following morning at 5:00 am. The body of the missing boater was recovered later that morning by the FWC Dive Team.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
LEE COUNTY

Officers Hardgrove, Price, Winton and Lieutenant Barrett targeted night-time snook anglers over the weekend. Calm winds, clear weather and strong tides drew many people to area bridges, beaches and lighted docks overnight. By working in plain clothes and blending in with other fishermen, the officers targeted compliance with catch and release regulations during the closed summer season.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Officer Payne received an anonymous tip of a person on Facebook posing with an alligator. The subject was identified and his residence was in Fort Pierce. An interview revealed that the subject had in fact shot the alligator that measured approximately 10 feet. While the subject was showing Officer Payne pictures of the alligator on his phone, he scrolled to another photo of another dead alligator. Officer Payne asked about the other alligator and the subject stated that it was a smaller alligator he had killed a few days prior. The subject reported the location where the carcasses had been dumped. Officer Payne located the carcasses and collected the evidence. Charges are currently pending.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Wilkins and Garcia responded to an anonymous tip of subjects possessing illegal lobster. Upon locating the subjects at a rented house in Islamorada, the officers explained to one of the subjects that they had received a tip that individuals at the residence possessed illegal, out-of-season lobster. The subjects showed the officers a large cooler containing several lobster and admitted that there were several more inside the residence in a freezer. The subjects were found to be in possession of 20 out-of-season lobster, including 4 undersized lobster. The subject was cited accordingly.

While on patrol in Key West, Officer Martino received a call about a subject on Duval Street taking pictures with a sea turtle. When Officer Martino arrived, he encountered an intoxicated male in possession of a hatchling sea turtle. The subject told Officer Martino that he had found the turtle on a nearby beach. The subject was charged accordingly and the hatchling sea turtle was returned to the ocean.

Officer Wilkins was on state land patrol near the Long Key Bridge when he saw a white vessel anchored near the shore with two individuals in the water snorkeling. Officer Wilkins was watching the two individuals from a nearby parking lot across US-1 when he saw one of the individuals with a spear in his hand and diving underneath the water. Deputy Guerra of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office arrived on the scene a short time later to assist. After some time, the two individuals decided to pull anchor and drive back to a dock a short distance from where they were anchored. Officer Wilkins and Deputy Guerra then stopped the vessel at the dock and performed a resource inspection. The officers found nine lobsters that had been speared, eight with wrung tails, inside a hatch on the front of the vessel. The individual who had been seen with the spear gun in the water confessed to spearing all the lobsters. Five of the nine lobster were also undersized. The subjects were cited accordingly.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

An FWC officer responded to Miami Beach to follow up on a report of an alligator stuck at the jetty. The FWC officer and assisting Miami Beach police officers recovered the 4- foot-long alligator and turned the unharmed alligator over to the Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program.

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  FWC Enforcement Report July 14-20. All Regions
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NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Land was conducting a fishery inspection of a commercial fishing vessel in Pensacola. The vessel had multiple ice boxes filled with fish. Officer Land located two greater amberjack among the catch on the vessel. It is currently illegal to possess greater amberjack and the commercial size limit for greater amberjack is 36 inches. Both fish were undersized and were seized. The captain of the vessel was given a notice to appear for the violation.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Pifer and Bartlett assisted special agents from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (ABT) with a detail at Crab Island targeting illegal alcohol sales from food vendors anchored on the island. A total of eight vendors were contacted by the officers, special agents and ABT investigative aid working in a plain-clothes capacity. Of the eight vendors contacted, an employee from two separate vendors served alcoholic beverages to the investigative aid despite checking the aid’s driver’s license. Citations were issued to the two individuals for serving alcohol to a person under 21 years of age.

Officer Pifer was on routine land patrol and saw three individuals actively fishing from shore. While watching the individuals from his vehicle, one lit the end of a device commonly used to smoke cannabis, then passed it to another individual. Officer Pifer approached the individuals and could smell the odor of burnt cannabis. After noticing Officer Pifer’s presence, one of the individuals made obvious movements to conceal the smoking device. Officer Pifer asked the individual where the pipe was and he stated he threw it in the water. The smoking device was retrieved and the individual initially stated he had nothing illegal in his car, but later told Officer Pifer there was cannabis inside the driver’s door. After securing the cannabis, Officers Corbin and Pifer searched the car and located 15 Hydrocodone pills in a cigarette pack in the center console. The individual was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, possession of cannabis less than 20 grams, and drug paraphernalia. The individual who had the smoking device passed to him was discovered to have an active warrant out of Okaloosa County and was placed under arrest. That individual was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

Officer Corbin was conducting resource inspections when he saw two subjects actively fishing from shore. Officer Corbin asked if they had caught any fish today and they stated “no.” Neither of the subjects possessed a valid fishing license and when asked for their identification, only one subject could produce any. Officer Corbin conducted a record check through FWC dispatch revealing that one of the subjects had an active warrant for violation of parole. He was placed under arrest and transported to the Okaloosa County Jail.

Officer Corbin received information from a NOAA officer that a charter captain was in possession of undersized king mackerel. The NOAA officer saw the vessel’s catch displayed on the dock and the captain claimed only shark bait was left on the vessel. The NOAA officer conducted a resource inspection and saw the undersized king mackerel concealed under numerous other fish in a fish box. When asked if he caught the fish in federal or state waters, he answered “state waters.” Officer Corbin met the captain and issued a citation for possession of undersized king mackerel.

Officer Corbin was dispatched to a single vessel accident in the ICW between Destin and Fort Walton Beach. Officer Corbin arrived on the scene with USCG Station Destin and Tow Boat US who had made several attempts to stop the vessel, which was still underway going in small circles. The operator of the vessel had made a sharp evasive maneuver to avoid an accident and was thrown from the vessel. The operator was picked up by a Good Samaritan and only suffered minor injuries.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Roberson was patrolling the Pensacola Pass when he conducted a fisheries inspection on a vessel with two individuals who had two red snapper and a mahi-mahi. He asked who had caught the snapper, and one of the individuals responded that he did. Both snapper were undersized and the individual was issued a misdemeanor citation.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CITRUS COUNTY

Several officers assisted the numerous boaters on the water during the second week of scallop detail. There were 29 boating safety citations, 119 boating safety warnings, 32 dive flag citations and 110 dive flag warnings issued over the three-day detail.

Officers Browning and Crane were on water patrol in the north end of Citrus County late Sunday night when they saw a boat using lights to gig. The two officers watched for a while and eventually stopped the boat for a resource inspection. The officers found the subjects in possession of seven black drum that had been gigged. Of the seven, four of them were over the 24-inch maximum length limit. The operator was cited for over the bag limit and was given warnings for two undersized black drum.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Local officers and several members from the North Central Region Special Operations Group (SOG) team conducted a detail in Itchetucknee Springs State Park targeting alcohol violations and drug use. Thus, five written warnings for consumption of alcohol in a state park were issued, two misdemeanor citations for possession of cannabis less than 20 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia were also issued. The officers also assisted a female who was having trouble breathing by providing first responder care until EMS arrived.

Officer McDonald responded to Itchetucknee Springs State Park regarding an intoxicated female. Officer McDonald arrived on the scene a short time later and located the female who was also present with an additional female and male. They had lost the keys to their vehicle and were waiting on a locksmith. Officer McDonald could smell the odor of alcohol on the subjects. With the male’s permission, Officer McDonald searched a small ice chest that the subjects had taken on the river. Officer McDonald found a small amount of cannabis in a cigar package in the cooler. After the vehicle was opened by the locksmith, Officer McDonald also conducted a consent search of the vehicle. Officer McDonald found over 16 grams of cannabis and six hydrocodone pills that were in a prescription pill bottle with the label removed. The male subject who was the owner of the vehicle was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. The two females admitted to ownership of the cannabis and were cited for possession of cannabis under 20 grams.

DUVAL COUNTY

Resource Protection Officer Sweat along and Investigator Holleman saw a man empty the contents of a blue crab trap into his vessel. When he approached, the man stated that he was baiting his traps; however, the information on the traps were not consistent with his information. The man later admitted he was checking his and his wife’s traps. After pulling the traps, it was discovered that the man was working fourteen traps as a recreational trapper. He was issued three warnings on trap requirements and a citation for harvesting blue crabs as a recreational trapper with more than five traps.

Environmental Investigator Terrones was contacted by the Duval County Health Department (DOH) for assistance after they found illegally disposed of bio-medical waste in two dumpsters rented by two businesses located on either side of a tattoo shop. The waste included bloody paper towels, disposable razors, ink bars, disposable gloves and ink caps. The owner of the tattoo business blamed the illegal disposal on a recently fired employee. In the tattoo shop, the DOH found additional bio-medical waste stored in improper bags and a further investigation revealed that the business did not possess a permit to generate bio-medical waste and neither the owner or fired employee were licensed to perform tattoo’s. Appropriate citations were issued and the business owner was required to hire a licensed bio-medical waste transporter to dispose of the waste in both dumpsters. The DOH will follow up with administrative penalties as well.

LAFAYETTE COUNTY

Officer Ransom saw a black Chevrolet pickup travelling in an oncoming traffic lane. The pickup then continued onto the right shoulder and back into the oncoming lane, coming to a complete stop. Officer Ransom stopped the vehicle and determined that the operator of the vehicle was driving under the influence and his normal faculties were impaired. The operator was arrested and charged with driving while license suspended, refusal to submit to test of breath and DUI.

NASSAU COUNTY

While patrolling the waters of the Nassau Sound, Officer Sweat saw a man fishing from the shoreline near the George Crady Fishing Bridge. The man was carrying a stringer with several fish. His inspection revealed the man did not possess a valid fishing license, and he stated nobody would sell him a fishing license because of his child support problems. Officer Sweat discovered that the man’s fishing privileges had been suspended since July 2016. After a notice to appear was issued, the fisherman stated “I thought if I ever got caught, it would be just for a fishing license ticket.”

Officer Barry encountered a vessel in Cumberland Sound and a resource inspection revealed that the two men on board were over-the-bag limit and in possession of undersized cobia. They had 10 cobia on board and six of them were undersized. Both anglers were issued misdemeanor citations and eight fish were seized.

SUWANNEE COUNTY

Officers Drew, Cline, Johnston and Lieutenant Humphries responded to a complaint of a physical domestic disturbance at a local boat ramp. Upon their arrival, a large group of people had gathered as a subject was yelling and screaming obscenities at the crowd while attempting to fight several people. After the officers defused the situation, it was determined that the subject had physically assaulted his former wife and the crowd witnessed this event as it took place. The subject was arrested for domestic battery, resisting arrest and disorderly intoxication.

RESCUES
HAMILTON COUNTY

Lieutenant Humphries was approached by a concerned citizen about a woman lost in the Pot Springs Area. Lieutenant Humphries found the woman who had been lost for two days in the woods along the river, sleeping in deer stands and drinking river water. She suffered numerous insect bites, but had no injures beyond first aid. The woman was delivered to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office where she was reunited with her family.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officers Hadwin and Graves were on patrol in Sebastian Inlet State Park when they saw two men with cast nets. As the men started to leave, they spotted the officers’ patrol truck and turned to walk the other direction. The officers stopped the men, conducted a resource inspection and found the men to be in possession of one, out-of-season snook. One of the men was issued a citation for possession of snook out of season, and the other was issued a citation for no fishing license.

While on late-night patrol on the St. Johns River, Lieutenant Lightsey saw a vessel with no navigation lights displayed. After conducting a vessel safety inspection, the officer noticed several signs of impairment. The operator was asked to participate in standardized field sobriety tasks and performed poorly. The operator was placed under arrest for operating a vessel while normal faculties were impaired and issued a citation for refusal to submit to a sample of his breath.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

While on patrol at Sebastian Inlet State Park, Lieutenant Lightsey and Officer Dubose saw two men fishing from an area known for undersized snapper. Officer Dubose conducted a resource inspection of the men’s bait bucket. The inspection revealed the men were in possession of thirteen mangrove snapper, six undersized and three over the legal bag limit. Both men were issued citations for possession of undersized mangrove snapper, over the bag limit of mangrove snapper and a warning for no fishing license.

SEMINOLE COUNTY

Lieutenant Tye, Investigator Douglas and Officer Hastings were on patrol at Wayside Park. Lieutenant Tye and Officer Hastings saw a vessel come to the ramp and Officer Hastings conducted a vessel safety inspection. During the inspection, Officer Hastings noticed the operator showing signs of impairment and had the subject perform seated standardized field sobriety tasks. Subsequently, the subject was arrested for BUI and later blew a 0.141 breath sample at the jail.

Lieutenant Tye, Investigator Cogburn and Officer Hastings were on water patrol waiting out a storm at Mullet Lake Park. They watched as a subject walked across the parking lot to the pavilion they were under. As the subject walked right past them, he spoke to them and they noticed his speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. Officer Hastings was also able to smell a strong odor of alcoholic beverage coming from the subject. The subject then walked off to a remote area of the park and could no longer be seen. Minutes later, the subject returned driving a vehicle and parked the vehicle in a handicapped parking space. Investigator Cogburn and Officer Hastings confronted the subject who was about to load a young child into the vehicle. Officer Hastings asked him to perform seated standardized field sobriety tasks and then arrested him for DUI. The subject was then transported to the jail.

Investigator Douglas and Officer Hastings were on water patrol on the St Johns River when they saw a vessel being operated with no navigational lights. They stopped the vessel and conducted a vessel safety inspection. Officer Hastings saw the operator showing signs of impairment. During that vessel stop, an airboat that was also operating with no navigational lights came within feet of their vessel and Investigator Douglas stopped that vessel as well. The operator of the airboat also showed signs of impairment. Investigator Douglas had the airboat operator perform seated standardized field sobriety tasks and the other operator refused to do the standardized field sobriety tasks. Both subjects were placed under arrest for BUI and were transported to the jail.

Officers Tavano and McKee were on water patrol on the St Johns River. They stopped a vessel that was improperly displaying its navigational lights and Officer Tavano noticed the operator showing signs of impairment. Officer Tavano also saw the subject in possession of a glass pipe and cannabis. Officer Tavano had the subject perform seated standardized field sobriety tasks and subsequently placed the subject under arrest for BUI and possession of cannabis and drug paraphernalia.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officers West and Malicoat were on water patrol in the Port Orange area of the Halifax River. During a vessel stop, an investigation began of the adult male operator for BUI. Officer West arrested the subject for BUI issued him a citation for refusal to submit to a breath test. He was transported and booked into jail.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HIGHLANDS COUNTY

The Southwest Region Dive Team deployed to assist the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office with an ongoing investigation. The dive team, using a sector scan sonar and divers, cleared a large lake to ensure no evidence was discarded during the crime.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Officers Martinez and Gonzales were on water patrol on the Alafia River. They stopped and performed a boating safety inspection on a vessel transiting the river. During the inspection, the two officers had probable cause to believe the operator of the vessel was under the influence of alcohol. After performing some field sobriety tasks, the two officers arrested the operator for BUI and he was taken to the Hillsborough County Jail.

Officer Martinez was on patrol near the Alafia River when he saw two subjects fishing under the US 41 bridge. When Officer Martinez encountered the two subjects, they stated they did not catch any fish. Officer Martinez questioned them about a stringer he saw one of them using prior to making contact. Upon inspection, citations were issued for possession of undersized black drum and warnings were issued for undersized sheepshead and mangrove snapper.

While on water patrol, Lieutenant Laskowski and Officer Pettifer saw two jet skis operating at a high rate of speed doing doughnuts in a boating safety slow speed zone near the Courtney Campbell Boat Ramp. The officers approached the jet skis to initiate a vessel stop. Upon approach, one of the operators was seen drinking a bottle of beer. Through the course of the vessel stop, signs of impairment were noted. Lieutenant Laskowski initiated field sobriety tasks. Halfway through the tasks, the operator said he could not complete the tasks and refused to finish the battery of tasks. Based on the officers’ observations, that individual was arrested for BUI and transported to the Hillsborough County jail where he refused to provide a breath sample.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Price was on plain-clothes patrol when he saw two fishermen along a beach. After watching the men fish for a while, he conducted a fisheries inspection near their vehicle. The inspection revealed that the men were in possession of two undersized snook and an undersized pompano. While trying to identify the men, one of them gave Officer Price a name which came back as bad information. Officer Price used his assigned electronic fingerprint identification system and discovered the man had an active warrant. The second man also had an active warrant out of Indiana. Both men were arrested for the warrants and charged for illegal method of taking snook, possession of undersized snook, possession of snook out of season, possession of undersized pompano, and providing false information to a law enforcement officer.


Officer Winton was on nighttime water patrol near Fort Myers Beach when he saw a boat operating without the required navigation lights. Officer Winton conducted a stop on the vessel to address the violation. During the stop, signs of impairment were detected and field sobriety tasks were performed. Officer Winton determined the operator’s normal faculties were impaired and placed him under arrest for BUI. Officers Fogle and Hazelwood also responded to assist with the investigation.

Officer Hardgrove was on land patrol in Cape Coral when he saw an SUV parked next to a bridge and knew that area was a popular fishing location. As he approached the bridge, he heard the distinct sound of a cast net being thrown from the seawall under the bridge. He saw a subject throwing and retrieving the cast net several times and putting his catch into a bucket next to him. Officer Hardgrove looked through the windows of the SUV and noticed that there was another bucket in the rear cargo area that contained a snook. The snook appeared to have been recently caught as it was still flopping around. Officer Hargrove approached the subject as he was pulling in his net and asked him if he had any luck. The fisherman explained that he had caught some sand brim and showed him the bucket next to him. The officer asked if he had caught any other fish and the subject answered that he had not. Officer Hardgrove then asked the subject to unlock the rear door to the SUV as he already knew there were snook in the back. Upon opening the door, the subject began saying he was sorry and that he wouldn’t do it again. The subject was issued a notice to appear for possession of out-of-season snook, possession of undersized snook, and harvesting snook by illegal method. A citation was issued for harvesting snook without a snook stamp. The snook died and was seized as evidence.

While on land patrol, Officer Hargrove saw three subjects fishing near a weir. He approached on foot and hid in the bushes. While watching all three subjects actively fishing, Officer Hardgrove noticed one individual catch a bluegill and put it in a bucket next to him. After approximately 10 minutes of observing, Officer Hardgrove announced himself and approached the subjects. He asked them if they had fishing licenses and only one could produce a valid saltwater license. He then asked if they had caught anything and was told “No, nothing”. Officer Hardgrove asked one subject to go back down and bring the bucket. The subject returned with the bucket and placed it on the ground. Inside the bucket were three undersized and out-of-season snook and three bluegill, all deceased. Officer Hardgrove asked who had caught the snook and no one would answer. Instead, they were speaking to each other in Spanish. The snook were measured at 13 ¼, 15, and 15 ¼ inches on the FWC-issued measuring device. All three subjects were issued a notice to appear for possession of out-of-season snook and possession of undersized snook. They were all also issued citations for harvesting snook without a snook stamp and no fishing licenses. The snook and bluegill were all seized as evidence.

Investigators with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and Lee County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant on an individual suspected of dealing in stolen property. This individual was charged with Dealing in Stolen Property, Motor Vehicle Title Fraud and Possession of a Vehicle with Altered Numbers. While serving the search warrant, they discovered 5 Northern Cardinals held captive illegally in the defendant’s back yard. Captive Wildlife Investigator Gregory assisted and will be issuing 5 counts of violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act/illegal capture and possession of migratory birds.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officers Bibler, Dalton and Rivard were on water patrol near the Cortez Bridge when they stopped and performed a boating safety inspection on a vessel transiting in the intracoastal waterway (ICW). During the inspection, the officers began to suspect that the captain of the vessel was under the influence of alcohol. After performing some tasks to gauge the operator’s impairment, the officers placed the captain of the vessel under arrest for BUI and he was transported to the Manatee County Jail.

Officer Dalton was on water patrol around Long Boat Pass when he stopped and performed a boating safety and fisheries inspection on a vessel coming in the pass. The inspection revealed that the captain of the vessel had caught and kept four undersized American red snapper. The subject was given a criminal citation for possession of the undersized snapper and must appear in court for his violation.

Officers Rivard, Bibler and Dalton were on water patrol near Jew Fish Key. Officer Rivard stopped a vessel departing from a sandbar for a boating safety inspection and noticed the operator was exhibiting signs of impairment. He conducted field sobriety tasks and the operator performed poorly on all tasks. The operator was then arrested for operating under the influence and transported to the Manatee County Jail where he refused to provide a breath sample.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land patrol near the Gandy Bridge, Officer Bibeau saw three individuals fishing from the shoreline. He watched the individuals fish from a concealed location and waited for them to pack up their belongings before making contact to conduct a fisheries inspection. During the inspection, Officer Bibeau located a 13-inch red drum. One of the individuals admitted to catching the red drum and was cited appropriately.

Officer Martinez was on patrol on the South Skyway Fishing Pier and approached a fisherman who stated he had caught a fish. Officer Martinez discovered the subject was in possession of a 7-inch gag grouper and stated he knew it was a gag and was planning on using it for bait. The subject was issued a citation for possession of undersized gag grouper.

While on patrol, Officers Messman and Caldwell saw an individual spearfishing under the Courtney Campbell Bridge. They saw a yellow bucket and the individual confirmed it was his. A fisheries inspection revealed 21 undersized sheepshead and one undersized black drum in the bucket. The individual was cited for possession of undersized and over the bag limit of sheepshead, and possession of an undersized black drum.

POLK COUNTY

Officers Young and Earls were conducting vessel patrol on the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes when they saw a vessel with an improperly displayed registration. The officers encountered the operator and noted signs of impairment during a boating safety inspection. Officer Young conducted field sobriety tasks and determined the operator was BUI. Officers Young and Earls transported the operator to jail where he provided a breath sample of .236. The operator was charged with felony BUI as this was his 4th BUI/DUI.

Officers Tyer and Earls responded to a complaint of night hunting when they saw a vehicle displaying a light in a manner of disclosing wildlife from a county road. The officers conducted a vehicle stop and saw hog dogs in the bed ready to be deployed. Post Miranda, the two subjects stated they were looking for hogs to hunt. Officers Tyer and Earls also found a small quantity of a green leafy substance that tested positive for marijuana. The two subjects were charged with attempting to hunt from a road right of way and possession of marijuana.

SARASOTA COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator O’Horo received information that a marmoset had escaped its primary enclosure. Investigator O‘Horo traveled to the licensed facility and was able to determine that a marmoset had in fact escaped. The animal was recaptured and appropriate citations were issued pertaining to the escape and caging.

RESCUES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officers and investigators responded to the Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park where a person accidentally shot himself with a handgun and sustained a gunshot wound to the leg. Both the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office and Fire Department responded to the scene and the subject was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital. This is an ongoing hunting accident investigation.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Lieutenant Laskowski, Lieutenant Holcomb, Lieutenant Mack, Investigator Freemon, and Officers Boogaerts, Messman, Caldwell, Deerborn, and Rivard responded to a PWC accident in East Lake, Tampa. The operator and passenger of the PWC were seen maneuvering in circles on the lake. The operator, who was not wearing a personal flotation device, and the passenger were ejected from the watercraft. The passenger returned to the PWC but the operator did not resurface. Lieutenant Brooks, Officer Bibler, Investigators Buckson and Cooke of the dive team, responded to aid in the search for the missing boater. On the second day of the search, FWC dive team members located and recovered the body of the operator.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Lieutenants Mack, Laskowski, Investigators Schefano, Dellarossa, and Officers Boogaerts, Lehman, Ludtke, Pettifer and Messman responded to a single vessel boating fatality near the Courtney Campbell Boat Ramp. The vessel was traveling along Rocky Point channel when it made an abrupt turn ejecting both male and female passengers; neither of them were wearing a life jacket. The vessel continued in a circular motion striking the male passenger in the water, resulting in his death. The female passenger was rescued.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
PINELLAS COUNTY

Officers Ludtke and Pettifer were conducting manatee zone enforcement within Pinellas County when a vessel violated the zone. Upon contacting the operator, the officers noticed several open containers of alcohol, and a subsequent boating safety inspection revealed signs of impairment. Officer Ludtke conducted standardized field sobriety tasks and determined the individual was operating his vessel while impaired. While completing the investigation, a second vessel approached the officers and stated the individual had just stolen property from them. The officers located the stolen property on the vessel and returned it to the owner. The individual was taken to Pinellas County jail where he provided a breath sample revealing he was over three times the legal limit. The individual was charged with grand theft and BUI.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
MARTIN COUNTY

While conducting coastal land patrol, Officer Morrow saw a vehicle driving carelessly and failing to maintain a lane. Upon conducting a traffic stop, the driver was found to have a suspended driver’s license. The driver was issued a citation for driving while suspended without knowledge and given a warning for failure to maintain a lane. The vehicle was turned over to a licensed driver without incident.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Allen was on foot patrol during the night-time hours at E-Lock on the Kissimmee River when he heard two subjects talking. Soon after, two men were seen walking up the canal bank from their boat moored near E-Lock. The subjects then walked onto the lock structure itself where entry is prohibited. They were detained and given notices to appear in court for trespassing on a South Florida Water Management District water control structure.

Lieutenant Dugan, Investigator Ervin and Officer Allen were conducting helicopter patrol on the Kissimmee River and saw a subject operating his airboat in an area posted as a river restoration construction site. After signaling for the subject to stop, the officers landed and the man was informed he was trespassing. The subject was issued a citation for not having mufflers as well as two boating-related warnings. The state attorney’s office will be contacted for a possible trespass charge on the subject.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Howell received a report of a child being injured by a pet cockatoo parrot. His investigation revealed that an individual brought his pet bird into a coffee shop and placed the bird on a table unsecured. The bird flew over to the child and bit her on the face, requiring one stitch. Investigator Howell identified and located the owner of the bird, and issued the owner a misdemeanor citation for allowing his pet cockatoo to injure another. Investigator Sierra assisted with this incident.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Officer Payne received some information from an anonymous complainant that a subject was selling “food grade” shrimp from his home. Further investigation revealed that the subject would come to Fort Pierce and purchase large quantities of shrimp directly from the shrimp boats docked at the port. He would then repackage the shrimp into smaller quantities and sell to the public from his home, meeting orders that had been placed on his social media page. Officer Payne located the subject at the port making a large purchase. Interviews of the vessel crew member and the subject revealed that neither individual was licensed by the state to sell saltwater resource. Both individuals were issued criminal misdemeanor citations for failure to possess a saltwater retail license.

Officer Fretwell was conducting license and resource inspections. While traversing the Fort Pierce South Bridge, he saw a vessel with two people on board that were fishing. As he continued his approach towards them, the male subject was seen picking up a plastic bag and dumping its contents overboard. As Officer Fretwell neared the vessel, he saw two small mutton snapper floating towards him. His contact with the occupants revealed that the male subject was aware that the fish were undersized and wanted to dispose of them before the officer approached. The subject was issued a citation for possession of undersized mutton snapper and for interfering with an FWC officer. One of the recovered snapper, seized as evidence, measured 12 inches.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Plussa was conducting water patrol near Hurricane Pass and Keewaydin Island, off of Marco Island, when he saw a vessel failing to display any kind of registration decal. An inspection revealed the operator had safety violations and failed to carry the registration certificate. The operator stated he was the owner and had been for three years. An investigation revealed that the operator had failed to transfer the vessel registration or apply for the title in his name within 30 days. The vessel was found to be expired since 2013. The operator admitted that he had “never been called out for it before.” Officer Plussa issued him a civil citation for operating a vessel with an expired registration and two criminal notices to appear for failing to transfer the registration and title. He received four other warnings.

Officer Curbelo was conducting resource inspections on subjects fishing on Lake Trafford when he saw a subject packing up his cast net. Officer Curbelo followed the subject to his car to check his catch. The subject showed Officer Curbelo several legal fish in a bucket, and stated he did not have any other fish. Officer Curbelo saw a similar bucket in the subject’s car and asked if there were fish in that bucket as well. The subject admitted that there were fish in the bucket, and the officer discovered 2 largemouth bass and 1 bluegill. The subject admitted he had caught the bass and bluegill with his cast net and was issued the appropriate citations.

Officer Yurewitch was conducting land-based water patrol on Randall Boulevard in rural Golden Gate Estates when he saw two individuals fishing a canal bank near a pickup truck. The officer contacted the two individuals to conduct a fishing license check and resource inspection. He saw a cooler in the bed of the individual’s truck containing 20 butterfly peacock bass, 16 over the legal bag limit. Both individuals admitted to catching the fish. Officer Kleis arrived on the scene to assist with the investigation. The individuals were each issued the appropriate citations.

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Rubenstein and Piekenbrock were on water patrol along the 7-mile Bridge for slack tide divers when they saw a local commercial fisherman with divers in the water and no divers-down flag displayed. Officer Rubenstein conducted a resource inspection of the vessel and found an out-of-season permit that had been speared in the Special Permit Zone and an undersized mutton snapper. The individual admitted to spearing it in the channel and was cited accordingly.

Officer Martino was on patrol when he was dispatched to a house in Key West in response to an anonymous tip regarding a group of people in possession of Queen Conch. Officer Martino arrived and saw a female in plain view with 3 plastic containers and a water hose in the driveway of the residence with the Conch. The woman from Texas was in possession of 40 Prohibited Queen Conch. The Queen Conch were harvested by several minor children along with the subject. The woman took responsibility for all the Queen Conch and Officer Martino collected the Queen Conch, photographed them for evidence, and returned them back to the water (most of them were still alive). The woman was arrested and cited for possession of Prohibited Queen Conch and booked into Monroe County Detention Facility.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROL
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Plussa, Osorio and Lieutenant Mahoney conducted a focused enforcement effort in Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park over the weekend, addressing multiple violators amongst the crowds. They issued over a dozen citations and 45 warnings for violations of state park rules including consumption of alcohol in a state park, unsafe speed, operating/landing a vessel within a swim area, fishing in a swim area, swimming in a fishing area, attempted evasion of entrance fees, and failure to adhere to park staff directions or other regulations.

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  FWC Enforcement Report July 7-13. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 07-18-2017, 12:18 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
HOLMES COUNTY

Environmental Investigator Brown, while off duty, received a call from a Commander of a local Sheriff’s Department. His deputy was out on a traffic stop in a remote part of the county with a fuel tanker suspected of dumping waste fuel. The deputy had not made an environmental stop before and needed guidance. Investigator Brown provided the deputy with advice and instruction on interviewing the driver, collecting commercial documentation, evidence, miscellaneous considerations, and relative charges. Based on this guidance, the deputy obtained the necessary probable cause and made the charge. Investigator Brown later made the necessary contacts with the Department of Environmental Protection, went to the scene, and helped to get the site assessed for any possible cleanup required. Further investigation revealed that the tanker was on the way for repairs to the trailer. The driver admitted to intentionally discharging an estimated volume of 3-15 gallons of fuel to facilitate the repairs.

CASES
BAY COUNTY

Officers Hellett and Alsobrooks were on water patrol near the DuPont Bridge and saw three subjects fishing in a vessel under the bridge. They conducted a resource inspection on the vessel and the subjects were in possession of 29 juvenile red snapper. All three subjects were issued citations for over the bag limit of red snapper and issued written warnings for the undersized violation.

Officers Lipford and Hayes were conducting patrols in Grand Lagoon when they saw a vessel with four people on board violating the posted wake zone. During an inspection of the vessel, it was determined that the operator was impaired and no one on board was over the age of 21. During the field sobriety test, the operator showed multiple signs of impairment. He was placed under arrest for BUI. During the BUI investigation, one of the passengers continually interfered with the investigation and was also placed under arrest. During the arrest, he began to resist and fought with the officers. At the Bay County Jail, the operator refused to provide a breath sample and was charged with BUI, refusal to submit a breath sample, and possession of alcohol under 21 years of age. The passenger was arrested for battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence, possession of alcohol under 21 years of age and interference with an FWC officer.

Officers Basford and Hayes were conducting patrols in Grand Lagoon when they saw a vessel violating the posted idle speed zone. During the stop for the violation, they discovered that the vessel had been fishing for the day. While conducting a resource inspection, the operator of the vessel showed the officers several fish in their fish box. During an inspection of a second cooler that contained mostly bait, the officers found two plastic bags containing fish fillets. The fillets were determined to be gag grouper and gray triggerfish. The operator was issued citations for gag grouper and gray triggerfish not landed in whole condition and possession of gray triggerfish during closure.

Officer Basford was on patrol at Bay Point Marina in plain clothes when he saw a large vessel returning to the dock. After the vessel was secured at the dock, he saw six individuals begin to remove personal gear and fishing gear from the vessel. After a few minutes, he saw an individual come out of the cabin and begin to look up and down the dock. After doing this, the individuals brought two large coolers from inside the cabin of the vessel. Officer Basford walked down the dock and as he approached, he noticed the two coolers contained multiple bags of fish fillets. Officer Leonard arrived to assist and conducted a resource inspection along with Officer Basford. During the inspection, the officers found 211 fish fillets. The fillets consisted of suspected red snapper, gag grouper, red grouper, amberjack, and gray triggerfish. Charges pending will be landing reef fish in other than whole condition, possession of gray triggerfish during closure, and possession of amberjack during closure. Other charges will be pending after analysis of the fillets.

ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Clark saw an individual operating his vessel in a careless manner. The individual had the outboard motor trimmed mostly out of the water revving it up, while several people were standing near the prop. He was attending the Blue Angel Air Show and was attempting to leave the area. Officer Clark stopped the vessel and immediately noticed signs of impairment from the operator. The operator agreed to perform several field sobriety tasks. He performed poorly on these tasks and was arrested for BUI. The operator gave a breath sample of more than double the legal limit. Officer Clark transported the individual to the Escambia County Jail.

Officer Bartlett was on vessel patrol providing public safety enforcement at the Blue Angels Airshow when he encountered a highly‑intoxicated individual. The officer was concerned for the welfare of the individual and brought him to the nearest dock and instructed him to stay on land. Within a few minutes, Officer Bartlett saw the same individual attempting to swim across a vessel channel, barely keeping his head above water, obviously struggling to stay afloat. The officer quickly reacted and rescued the individual. For the welfare of the individual, the officer arrested him for disorderly conduct and transported him to the Escambia County Jail for processing.

Officer Bartlett was on vessel patrol providing public safety enforcement at the Blue Angels Airshow, when he saw a boat being loaded/trailered at the 17th Avenue Boat Ramp. The boat speed was too fast causing it to strike the vehicle. The officer approached the operator who showed signs of impairment and was asked to perform field sobriety tasks. Based on the operation of the vessel and the performance of the tasks, the operator was arrested for BUI. The operator refused to provide a breath sample and was transported to the Escambia County Jail for processing.

LEON COUNTY

Investigator James Bryant responded to assist the Leon County Sheriff’s Office on a complaint regarding illegal dumping of used tires on Sand Drive in Tallahassee. Upon arrival, they discovered 70 used tires which had been dumped along the roadside bordering the Apalachicola National Forest. Information and a photograph was provided about a U-Haul rental truck leaving the scene. The Sheriff’s Office began a search for the vehicle and shortly thereafter, the suspect vehicle was located. Investigator Bryant identified and interviewed the driver who admitted to dumping the tires. The subject was taken into custody and charged with felony commercial dumping over 500 pounds and transported to the Leon County Jail.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Corbin responded to a boating accident that occurred at Liza Jackson Park. The investigation revealed that a personal watercraft (PWC) struck the pier at the park. The impact ejected the operator, who landed on the pier. The operator was the sole occupant on the PWC. The operator sustained a hematoma to her head and spiral fracture to her tibia and fibula. She was transported to a local hospital for treatment. The accident is still under investigation and charges are pending.

Officers Wilkenson and Corbin responded to a boating accident involving a single vessel in Choctawhatchee Bay near Crab Island. Officer Wilkenson determined the rented personal watercraft (PWC) was traveling at an unknown high rate of speed when it struck a wave. The impact caused the operator’s and passenger’s heads to collide against each other. Both occupants sustained injuries. The passenger was found unconscious, had water in the lungs causing inflammation, and facial bruising. Both were transported to a local hospital for treatment. The passenger was later admitted.

Officer Nichols was patrolling at Henderson Beach State Park when he received a report of a dog locked in a parked car. The officer located the vehicle and saw the dog in the car and the windows were barely cracked. There was no one around the vehicle and the car owner could not be found. This occurred at 4:00 pm and the outside temperature was about 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The officer pushed the window down enough to unlock the car. The dog displayed signs of heat exhaustion. While the officer was providing the dog with water, the dog owner returned to the vehicle. The dog owner was issued a notice to appear citation for animal cruelty.

Officer Nichols was patrolling the beach at Henderson Beach State Park when he saw several individuals openly consuming alcoholic beverage. The officer approached the individuals and determined they were all under the age of 21. Five individuals were given a notice to appear citations. One of the individuals provided the officer with a false name to hide his age/identity.

Officer Corbin was on land patrol conducting state fisheries inspections in the Destin Harbor, when he saw an inshore charter vessel displaying on the cleaning table what appeared to be undersized red snapper. The fisheries inspection revealed one grossly undersized red snapper. The owner/operator of the charter boat was cited and issued a notice to appear citation.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

While on his way home from working the Blue Angels Air Show, Officer Hutchinson saw a truck being driven erratically and almost causing an accident. He stopped the driver and immediately determined that the man was showing signs of impairment. The man’s young son was also in the truck. After field sobriety tasks, Officer Hutchinson determined that the man was under the influence of alcoholic beverages and placed him under arrest for DUI. He later provided a breath sample of .12 g/210L. The man’s son was taken to a family member’s home.

Officer Mullins and Lieutenant Hahr were patrolling at the Blue Angel Air Show when they were requested to respond to assist Fire Rescue with a vessel that was seen operating in a reckless and erratic manner. As they approached the vessel, the officers saw that the sole occupant was covered in fresh blood and had a partially bandaged hand that was dripping blood. The man told the officers that he had gotten a rope burn on his hand. Due to the amount of blood, the officers requested assistance from EMS. While waiting for them to arrive, they saw multiple indicators of impairment. After EMS bandaged the man’s hand properly, Officer Mullins conducted field sobriety tasks and determined that the man was intoxicated. The man was arrested for BUI and later refused to provide a breath sample. After receiving several stiches at the hospital, the man was booked into jail for operating a vessel while normal faculties are impaired.

RESCUES
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Corbin and Wilkenson were on vessel patrol conducting public safety and boating safety enforcement near the Marler Bridge. During a vessel stop, the officers heard people from shore yelling “Lifeguard.” The officers quickly noticed two children being swept away by the swift tidal current, taking them further away from shore. The children were struggling to stay afloat and were not strong enough to swim toward shore. As the officers approached, one of the children went under the water and could not be seen. When the child surfaced, Officer Corbin quickly grabbed and pulled the child on the vessel. The second child was quickly taken aboard the vessel. Neither child was injured, just exhausted. Two Good Samaritans noticed the children and were swimming out to their rescue before the officers arrived on the scene. They were also placed on board the officers’ vessel, and the children were reunited with their parents.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Officers Greene, Brooks, Baber, Hayes, Walker, Rice and Leonard responded to a search and rescue on Econfina Creek. Eight subjects were lost after tubing down the creek earlier in the day. With help from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Bay County Sheriff’s Aviation Unit, all subjects were located unharmed and taken back to their vehicles.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

FWC officers made several fisheries cases this week. Multiple citations were issued for possession of gray triggerfish, possession of undersized red snapper, possession of red snapper not in whole condition and interference with an FWC officer. The interference charge was made when an individual dumped red snapper fillets overboard as the officer approached.

FWC officers took part in the annual Blue Angels Airshow on Pensacola Beach where approximately 500,000 people attended over the three-day period. FWC officers, along with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department, were responsible for waterborne security and all public safety on area waterways during this event. Over the three-day period, FWC law enforcement officers conducted 952 hours of law enforcement patrols, 714 of which were on the water. The officers issued several citations and warnings for boating safety violations, including four BUIs, conducted four boat accident investigations and had numerous public assists and calls for service. At the peak of the event, it was estimated that there were more than 2,500 vessels with over 12,500 people on board, within a ten‑square-mile area along Pensacola Beach.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Jarvis and Maltais spoke to a group of Junior Lifeguards at Henderson Beach State Park. The officers discussed water safety and the work that FWC officers do on a routine basis. There were 65 kids and 7 lifeguard instructors in attendance.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
CITRUS COUNTY

FWC officers worked the opening of scallop season and the holiday weekend. They checked over 2,000 users which resulted in 18 reckless citations, 3 BUIs and 150 boating safety warnings. There was also one boating accident involving a diver being hit by a passing vessel. The diver was treated at a local hospital and released.

Officer Suttles was on water patrol in Crystal River when he saw a vessel inbound with evidence of having been fishing that day. A fisheries inspection revealed the vessel occupants had harvested nine American red snappers over their bag limit. The nine snappers were seized as evidence. The vessel operator was issued a citation to pay or appear in Citrus County Court.

DIXIE COUNTY

Lieutenant Futch received information that a dog was attacking an injured deer near a road in a subdivision in Old Town. He arrived on the scene and saw a dog standing near a dead, six-point buck. The dog had a collar with the owner’s name on it. Lieutenant Futch called K-9 Officer Wiggins to assist with the investigation. The officers back-tracked the deer by blood and determined it was shot almost half a mile away from where it expired. The officers met with the owner of the dog to question him about the incident. He admitted to shooting the deer in the neck with a .22 rifle near his home. He stated when he went to recover it, the deer jumped up and ran off. The man went back to his house and got his dog to trail it. Charges for taking deer out of season and allowing dogs to pursue deer out of season will be direct-filed with the state’s attorney office.

DUVAL COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigators Doricchi and Bean conducted a follow-up inspection at a Jacksonville reptile business. After the inspection, the licensee was issued citations for failure to provide clean drinking water, failure to properly dispose of fecal and food waste and possession of venomous reptiles with an expired license. The licensee was also issued one warning for selling wildlife with an expired License to Possess Class III for Exhibition and/or Public Sale, which allows for the legal possession of Class III wildlife for exhibition or public sale.

Officers Christmas and Sweat were working a routine patrol checking vessels at Jim King Boat Ramp in Duval County when they saw a vessel operator loading his boat onto the trailer. The officers approached him to do a safety inspection. The operator showed signs of impairment such as having bloodshot, watery eyes, slurred speech and a smell of alcohol on his breath as he spoke. Officer Christmas requested that the operator perform seated field sobriety exercises and the operator performed poorly. The operator was arrested and transported to the Duval County Jail where he blew .115 and .114 BAC on the breath test.

Officer Barry was patrolling the area around White Shell Island when she stopped to speak with an angler. Another angler thought her attention was diverted, reached down, picked up an obviously undersized mangrove snapper and tossed it into the water. Officer Barry questioned the subject who admitted to throwing the fish in the water. He was cited and given a court date for failure to return the food fish immediately to the water since it was not being retained due to the size.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Officers Robson and Butler were working from a vessel in the Steinhatchee River when they conducted an administrative inspection. Officer Robson determined that the operator appeared to be impaired. Field sobriety exercises were conducted and probable cause was obtained for an arrest. The subject was transported to the Taylor County Jail where a breath test was conducted by Lieutenant Guy. His breath alcohol content (BAC) was recorded at .144.

Investigator McMillan saw a group of people scalloping from a vessel in the Steinhatchee area. While conducting surveillance, he saw the vessel bringing in a limit of scallops to the ramp, offload them and return to the scalloping area. When they returned to the ramp, they were met by Officers Burnsed and Tyler who found them to be in possession of nearly another vessel limit. The appropriate citations were issued after the occupants admitted to “double dipping.”

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROL
LEVY COUNTY

FWC Officers Hilliard, Schulz, Starling, Willis, Fox, and Lieutenant Umhoefer, patrolled the Withlacoochee, Waccasassa and Suwannee rivers along with the Gulf of Mexico off the Levy County coast over the four days of the Independence Day holiday. They completed a total of 182 vessel inspections, speaking with 649 people collectively. The officers issued 80 boating safety and resource warnings and citations, and effected one custodial arrest for BUI. Twenty-nine boating safety compliance decals were issued and 289 waterborne and terrestrial patrol hours were conducted.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
OSCEOLA COUNTY

Environmental Investigator Conlin investigated a subject who was running an illegal landfill. The subject was burning most of the debris that was coming in and using fill dirt to fill in wetlands. Investigator Conlin obtained an arrest warrant for the subject and a search warrant for the property. With assistance from the Special Operations Group (SOG) and patrol officers, the arrest warrant and search warrant were served and additional evidence was gathered. The subject was booked into jail on charges of felony commercial littering and running an unpermitted landfill. Additional charges for wetland violations may be forthcoming.

PUTNAM COUNTY

Officers Jones and Bernard were conducting a fisheries inspection at Rodman Dam when Officer Jones detected the odor of marijuana emitting from a vehicle. The vehicle’s owner initially stated that he had a couple of marijuana cigarettes and, upon subsequent investigation, was found to be in possession of 126 grams of cannabis in various storage containers. The suspect was arrested and charged with possession of cannabis over 20 grams, a felony amount, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officers Lawshe and Meade attended an outreach event at Daytona Public Safety College. They spoke to approximately 30 people on several different topics including what an FWC officer does routinely, hunting and fishing regulations, boating safety and the different types of flotation devices and living with alligators and bears. Officer Lawshe also displayed his agency-issued Pathfinder vessel and discussed the different types of vessels used by our officers.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officers Sehl and Morrison responded to a call about a hit-and-run boating accident. The officers located the vessel and after interviewing the operator, they got enough evidence to determine the man was involved in the accident. The man also showed signs of being impaired and after sobriety exercises, the man was placed under arrest for BUI and failing to report a boating accident. While placing the man in handcuffs, he resisted by pulling his arms away and the officers had to use control techniques to gain compliance. The man was delivered to the Charlotte County Jail where a drug recognition expert identified signs of the man being impaired on narcotics.

DESOTO COUNTY

The Desoto County Sheriff’s Office contacted the FWC regarding a vessel accident on the Peace River. Lieutenant Bontrager, Investigator Ervin, Officers Salem and Kobs responded to Lettuce Lake Boat Ramp. Apparently, one subject had fallen from a vessel and suffered injury. The subject was airlifted to an area hospital.

HARDEE COUNTY

Officers Kobs, Franks, and Lieutenant Bontrager saw a vehicle moving slowly down a roadway with a spotlight shining from the driver’s side window. After the vehicle stopped in the middle of the roadway, the officers heard what sounded like a gunshot from the same location of the truck. The driver of the truck admitted to shooting a rifle out of the window, but said he was not shooting at any animals. Three loaded rifles were seized from the driver and he was charged with hunting from the roadway and hunting with a gun and light.

LEE COUNTY

Lieutenant Ruggiero was on land patrol at the Cape Coral Yacht Club. He conducted a fisheries and safety inspection on a vessel which had approached the ramp after a rain storm. During the inspection, Lieutenant Ruggiero saw signs of impairment by the operator because he was unsteady, appeared to be experiencing mood swings, and admitted to drinking. The man was later arrested for BUI and delivered to the Lee County Jail where he would not submit to a lawful breath test. He was charged with boating while his normal faculties were impaired and issued a $500 civil fine for refusing to provide a breath sample.

Officer Perry responded to a report of a person who caught a snook and filleted it. Officer Perry located the person and found the fillets in a cooler. While speaking with the owner of the cooler, it was determined his girlfriend was the subject who caught and filleted the fish. Officer Perry located a picture of the subject posing with the snook at the location. She was issued a citation for possession of a snook during closed season.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officers Dalton, Davidson and Lieutenant Hinds were on water patrol around Jew Fish Key. While on patrol, they performed a boating safety inspection on a vessel leaving the sandbar surrounding the key. During the inspection, the officers had probable cause to believe that the captain of the vessel was operating while under the influence of alcohol. After the operator performed field sobriety tasks, the officers had enough evidence to place the captain under arrest for BUI and he was taken to the Manatee County Jail.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officer Ludtke and Lieutenant Laskowski were dispatched to Tierra Verde by water to investigate the report of a person stealing items from an anchored sailboat. Upon arriving by vessel, the officers saw an individual in the cabin of a vessel located near the sailboat where the alleged crime occurred. The officers approached the individual who advised he was trying to move and reposition the sailboat, which was marked as derelict, further away from the seawall of an apartment complex at the request of the homeowner’s association. No items of value appeared to be taken from the derelict sailboat. The individual provided several spelling variations of his name and gave his middle name as his first name to the officers. Further investigation revealed the individual had two confirmed warrants for his arrest out of Florida. He was transported and booked into the Pinellas County Jail.

While on water patrol near the Skyway Bridge, Officer Bibeau conducted a fisheries inspection on a vessel with five occupants that were actively fishing. After the inspection, Officer Bibeau located two gag grouper which were both 15 inches long. Officer Bibeau read the occupants on board the vessel their Miranda Rights and after a short series of questions, one occupant admitted to catching both grouper. Officer Bibeau wrote the individual a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized gag grouper.

During late-night resource inspections at the Dunedin Causeway, Officers Ferguson and Lieutenant Van Trees checked three individuals to see if they were fishing and discovered they were in possession of drug paraphernalia and a small amount of marijuana. One of the subjects also had an active warrant for his arrest for violation of probation. As the officers were arresting the subject with the warrant, one of the individuals fishing said a man had been harassing them while they fished underneath the bridge. Lieutenant Van Trees went to address the issue with the man and once the subject saw him coming, he threw what was later identified as a prescription pill. Officer Phillippi arrived to help, and it was determined the subject was illegally in possession of a schedule II narcotic. The subject was arrested and became belligerent, yelling racial slurs at an individual, and threatening to hurt people. The subject was booked into the Pinellas County Jail, along with the first subject, for possession of a schedule II narcotic, disorderly intoxication, and threatening harm to a public servant or his family.

POLK COUNTY

While conducting water patrol on the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes, Officers Earls and Tyer saw a PWC operating after legal sunset. Officers Earls and Tyer conducted a vessel stop and saw a 13-year-old operating the PWC, with her father riding behind her. The operator reported that her father had instructed her to operate because he was too drunk to operate. The officers saw signs of impairment with the father and Officer Earls asked the father to complete field sobriety tasks, and he refused. The father was arrested for allowing a person under the age of 14 to operate a PWC and BUI.

Lieutenant Brooks and Deputy Farrell were conducting water patrol on the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes when they saw a vessel with improperly spaced registration numbers. Lieutenant Brooks and Deputy Farrell conducted a vessel stop and saw signs of impairment. Lieutenant Brooks conducted field sobriety tasks and determined the operator was impaired. The operator was arrested for BUI and refused to provide a breath sample.

Officer Carter was patrolling Saddle Creek Fish Management Area when he saw a vehicle in the park during closed hours. Officer Carter contacted the operator of the vehicle and saw signs of impairment. Officer Carter conducted field sobriety tasks and determined the operator was impaired. The operator was arrested for DUI, and refused to provide a breath sample at the jail.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
LEE COUNTY

Officer Furbay conducted speed enforcement in the Lee County panther protection areas. While on patrol, he stopped several vehicles for speed-related violations. The operators were educated on the protection areas and the enforcement resulted in five written warnings and two infractions being issued. The fastest documented speed was 72 miles per hour in the 45 miles per hour zone.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
POLK COUNTY

Officers Kobs, Sweat and Lieutenant Bontrager staffed an FWC-sponsored booth at the Big Buck Expo in Lakeland. Over 15,000 people attended and the officers answered many questions. The new hunting regulations, management area brochures, and fishing regulations were popular items and were handed out at the booth. Officer Cloud and Lieutenant Fugate helped score antler racks that were brought in from those attending the show.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officers Grant and Brock were on vessel patrol in Port Everglades. They conducted a marine fisheries inspection on a vessel coming in from the ocean. Officer Grant issued one individual a criminal notice to appear citation for possession of undersized dolphin. Four dead dolphin were seized as evidence.

Lieutenant Carcasses and Officers Brock, Vacin and Matthews were on patrol near the Las Olas Bridge area of the ICW. They saw fishermen filleting fish at a dock. After approaching the individuals and inspecting the fish, Officer Vacin issued a criminal notice to appear citation for possession of undersized dolphin. Five dead dolphin were seized as evidence.

Lieutenant Laubenberger and Officer Brock responded to a boating accident with injuries at Markham Park. Officers Vacin and Matthews responded to Broward General Hospital to check on the individuals involved in the boating accident. The investigation is ongoing.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officers Dial and Toby saw an individual fishing with a cast net on Lake Okeechobee at the Nubbin Slough. The officers conducted surveillance in the area and approached the individual to conduct a resource inspection. The individual went to his vehicle and began leaving the area quickly. Officers Dial and Toby attempted to stop the vehicle for a resource inspection, but the individual sped past the officers despite their attempts. Officers Dial, Toby and Lieutenant Harris located a house near the area where the individual had stopped. The homeowner provided consent to search the property and the officers located a trash can hidden under the home’s foundation siding that contained a cast net and twelve game fish, five of which were undersized. The homeowner stated that the individual had stopped by briefly and hid the fish and net. Officers Crosby, Keen, Mclendon and Investigator Lafoy assisted in the investigation which led to the positive identification of the individual. A large rock was located inside the plastic bag with the cast net and game fish, believed to have been included as a tool used to sink the bag into the water to avoid inspection. While conducting the investigation, multiple witness statements were obtained from the homeowner and other fishermen. Additionally, multiple photo lineups were conducted that positively identified the individual. After concluding this investigation, four misdemeanor charges and two infraction charges will be direct filed with the state attorney’s office for failure to allow inspection by an FWC officer, resisting without violence, taking freshwater game fish by illegal method, possession of undersized black crappie, expired freshwater fishing license, and driving with a suspended license.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

The FWC responded to the report of a boating accident that occurred at the Lake Worth Inlet. A couple was fishing offshore from the Boynton Inlet to the Lake Worth Inlet. The male fisherman was bringing in the trolling gear before going into the Lake Worth Inlet while his wife maintained control of the boat at idle speed. The fisherman reached toward the water to grab something and fell overboard. His wife attempted to throw him a line and then brought the boat back to him to throw the line again. When her husband sank below the surface, she called 911. A search and rescue by multiple agencies was conducted over a two-day period. The fisherman is still missing.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MARTIN COUNTY

Environmental Investigator Luher and Officer Cobo completed a boating safety talk for a group of approximately 20 Boy Scouts at Jonathon Dickenson State Park. The two reviewed the required safety equipment and other pertinent regulations. The Boy Scouts were camping at the park and learning skills related to outdoor safety.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Yaxley and Kleis saw two individuals fishing the docks behind a condominium complex from a concealed location late at night. The complex and its docks are posted No Trespassing areas. The officers saw the subjects fishing the snook lights for approximately 20 minutes, at which point one of the subjects caught a snook. The officers then watched the subject run with the snook towards a building, and then return to the dock without the snook. Snook season is currently closed, and when the officers searched the area, they found an undersized and out-of-season snook, concealed in the bushes near the building, that had been freshly killed. After speaking with the property manager and explaining the situation, he advised the officers that he wanted to pursue trespassing charges on both individuals. One individual was issued a criminal notice to appear for trespassing and the second was issued a criminal notice to appear for trespass, as well as the snook violation. The snook was seized as evidence.

Officers Barringer and Reams conducted surveillance on a group of fisherman near Doctor’s Pass Jetty. During their surveillance, they saw one of the fishermen catch a snook and wrap it in a towel. The snook was placed in a bucket and covered with a cast net. Eventually, the individual left the area and proceeded to a nearby parking area. The officers met the individual as he approached his vehicle to conduct a fisheries inspection which revealed the fisherman in possession of an out-of-season and undersized snook. The fisherman was cited accordingly and the snook was seized as evidence.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Landa and Officer Dunn responded to a complaint regarding the possible illegal possession of wolves. After examining the animals, it was determined the animals were wolfdog hybrids and a license was not required for their possession. While on location, a porcupine was seen in a cage as well. Further investigation revealed the owner of the property was not licensed to possess the porcupine, and the animal was on loan from a licensed individual that was traveling. A citation was issued for the illegal possession and arrangements are being made to return the porcupine to the licensed individual.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Smith concluded an investigation regarding the illegal sale of two Class I Gibbon Apes. The investigation revealed an individual licensed to sell the apes sold them to an unlicensed individual. One misdemeanor citation was issued for the illegal sale. The apes were placed at a licensed facility.

Two FWC lieutenants were on patrol near a boat ramp in Miami and stopped 2 PWCs for a boating safety inspection. They determined that the PWCs had been illegally rented and contacted the individuals who rented them. One subject was charged with 5 misdemeanor charges for operating an illegal livery and not complying with the statutory requirements.

An FWC lieutenant was on patrol at a boat ramp in Miami and conducted a vessel stop on a PWC returning to the ramp. His inspection revealed the PWC had the Hull Identification Number altered. The owner was arrested and charged with 8 felonies and 2 misdemeanor charges related to title fraud and altering the serial numbers on the PWC and trailer. The PWC and trailer were seized as contraband and FWC will seek forfeiture.

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Piekenbrock and Carroll were on water patrol near Vaca Cut in Marathon and conducted a vessel stop to perform a boating safety and resource inspection. Seven males from out of town (6 from Alabama and 1 from Georgia) were on board. The resource inspection revealed a bag containing 137 out-of-season wrung spiny lobster tails. The officers determined 117 of the out-of-season tails were undersized. Also in the bag were 4 out-of-season stone crab claws, 2 of which were undersized, and 8 reef fish fillets. The men admitted to spearing the lobster, which is an illegal method. The officers searched the house the men were renting nearby and located another 183 out-of-season spiny lobster tails or parts (109 of these were undersized), 1 out-of-season stone crab claw, and 1 undersized black grouper carcass that the men admitted to taking the day before. All 7 individuals were arrested and transported to the Monroe County Jail. Their spear guns and snorkel gear were seized for forfeiture. Each man was charged with 2 third-degree felony counts for more than 100 undersized lobster, 586 first-degree, misdemeanor counts for out-of-season lobster and wrung tails, 14 second-degree, misdemeanor counts for speared lobster, out-of-season stone crab, undersized stone crab, and reef fish not landed in whole condition. The operator of the vessel received an additional second-degree misdemeanor for the undersized black grouper.

Officers Mobley and Garcia were on water patrol near the Whale Harbor Sandbar when they saw a jet ski overturned in the middle of the channel. They saw three males in the water and one subject flipped the jet ski over, climbed on board and switched seats with the original operator. Officers Mobley and Garcia activated their blue lights to conduct a vessel stop. The jet ski came on plane and rolled over again. Once alongside, they saw signs of impairment from the original operator and the operator at the time of the stop. After conducting a BUI investigation, both operators were arrested for BUI and transported to Plantation Key Jail.

Officer Rubenstein watched 3 individuals fishing from the Bahia Honda Bridge area. Officer Rubenstein watched them harvest what appeared to be 2 undersized schoolmaster snapper and put them on a stringer in the shade. Officer Rubenstein approached the 3 individuals and asked how the fishing was going? They said they had been fishing for a couple of hours and had caught a fish on the stringer. On the stringer were 42 schoolmaster snapper, a barracuda, and a dog Snapper, 33 of which were undersized. The 3 individuals were cited accordingly.

A Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Deputy conducted a traffic stop in the southbound lane on US-1 in the Lower Keys. He advised FWC Dispatch that the vehicle had 2 subjects with two endangered Key Deer in the backseat. Deputy Hopp explained that he initiated a traffic stop because the vehicle's tail light was out and when he approached the vehicle, he noticed the deer bound in the back seat. Officers Wagner and Rubenstein arrived on the scene, approached the vehicle and saw two Key Deer "hog tied" with twine in the back seat. The deer had wounds all over their body and head and were struggling to break free. Blood was soaked into the seats and deer hair was heavily scattered throughout. The officers opened the trunk to find a third, bound Key Deer alive inside. The Key Deer were checked out and released, but the buck that was in the vehicle trunk was euthanized after suffering a broken leg. The 2 men were arrested and transported to jail and charged with 3 felonies, 6 counts each for first-degree misdemeanors.

Officer Messier was patrolling south of Sisters Creek in the Atlantic Ocean near Marathon when he conducted a vessel stop with fisherman on board. The men were in possession of 47 dolphin, 44 of which were undersized. The men had no valid fishing licenses on board the vessel and they possessed 17 dolphin over the bag limit. All 3 fisherman were cited for 17 dolphin over the bag limit, 44 undersized dolphin and no saltwater fishing license.

Investigator Hein was on state land patrol when he noticed there was no license plate on a PWC trailer that was being towed. Investigator Hein conducted a traffic stop and determined the PWC to be fraudulent. The owner was arrested and transported to a detention facility and was charged with numerous felonies and misdemeanors. The PWC was taken as evidence.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Dube took part in a multi-agency Honor Guard detail to present colors at the Trump National Hotel in Dade County. The detail was for the 65th Annual Chief of Police Conference where agency leaders gather to explore and talk about new methods and ideas for policing in the future.


Now I have had some bad trips to the Keys with trailer, boat and car problems as well as being run off by a hurricane but nothing like this!

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Piekenbrock and Carroll were on water patrol near Vaca Cut in Marathon and conducted a vessel stop to perform a boating safety and resource inspection. Seven males from out of town (6 from Alabama and 1 from Georgia) were on board. The resource inspection revealed a bag containing 137 out-of-season wrung spiny lobster tails. The officers determined 117 of the out-of-season tails were undersized. Also in the bag were 4 out-of-season stone crab claws, 2 of which were undersized, and 8 reef fish fillets. The men admitted to spearing the lobster, which is an illegal method. The officers searched the house the men were renting nearby and located another 183 out-of-season spiny lobster tails or parts (109 of these were undersized), 1 out-of-season stone crab claw, and 1 undersized black grouper carcass that the men admitted to taking the day before. All 7 individuals were arrested and transported to the Monroe County Jail. Their spear guns and snorkel gear were seized for forfeiture. Each man was charged with 2 third-degree felony counts for more than 100 undersized lobster, 586 first-degree, misdemeanor counts for out-of-season lobster and wrung tails, 14 second-degree, misdemeanor counts for speared lobster, out-of-season stone crab, undersized stone crab, and reef fish not landed in whole condition. The operator of the vessel received an additional second-degree misdemeanor for the undersized black grouper.

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